FAQ about copyright

In the article below, we present some frequently asked questions about copyright and our answers.

Video tips: The PRV School on copyright

You might like to start by looking at the PRV School’s introduction to copyright.

The PRV School on copyright

Copyright applies for as long as the author is alive and for another 70 years his or her death. When the author dies, the copyright passes to his or her survivors through inheritance or will.

As regards what are known as ‘neighbouring rights’, these normally apply from the year in which the performance was executed and 50 years into the future, e.g. from the year in which a photograph is taken and 50 years into the future. If an audio recording is released or made public within the 50-year period, the rights will instead apply until 70 years after the first release or the first occasion on which the audio recording was made public.

Copyright arises the moment a literary or artistic work is created. The creator has an exclusive right to determine who can make copies of the work. The creator can also decide how or whether the work should be made available to the public. For example, an author can decide whether his or her work is going to be published on the internet.

The author also has a moral right. It means that he or she must be named when the work is used. The work may not be used in a context which is offensive or insulting. Also, no one may process or manipulate the work in an offensive manner.

If a literary or musical work which is created is sufficiently unique, independent and personal, a work is considered to have been created. It is mainly works that are protected under copyright. However, photographs that are not considered to meet the threshold of originality and other types of performances are protected and are collectively referred to as "neighbouring rights". The term "literary and artistic works" includes various types of texts, music, film, performing arts, works of art, photography, computer software, building art, applied art and works that are expressed in other ways.

No, copyright arises without any formal procedure being followed. This means that the protection is accorded to the person who created the work at the moment the work is created. Through international conventions, copyright then applies in most of the world, regardless of the media form.

When a work has been made public with the author's consent and in some cases also published, various restrictions are triggered regarding the author’s exclusive rights. These restrictions mean that a protected work may be used in various ways without the author or other right holder having given their permission. Copying protected works for private use is one such restriction.

When the period of copyright protection no longer applies, the work may be used freely by anyone who wishes to use it. It is always a good idea though to continue mentioning the author’s name when using a work. If a work which is no longer protected is used in a way that would infringe the work itself, there is a specific provision in the Swedish Copyright Act which prevents its use - known as the protection of literary and artistic classics. This provision may also apply to works where the author died several hundred years ago.

The title of your book will automatically be protected through the Copyright Act. You do not need to apply for protection, but your book title must be sufficiently original in order for you to be protected. You can also increase your protection through a trademark registration.

What is protected by the Copyright Act?

A poster or painting which someone has created is protected by copyright if it is sufficiently unique and personal. Paintings and posters can also be protected by design registration.

It is not possible to apply for this protection, as it is automatically triggered when a work is created. The precondition for this is that the work is sufficiently original. In simple terms, copyright applies for a period of 70 years after the death of the author.

Infringements of someone's copyright or design protection are assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is not possible to give a general answer as to how similar a poster or painting can be to someone else’s work without resulting in infringement. PRV does not assess whether or not an infringement has occurred, as the courts are responsible for this. As a government agency, we are also unable to issue binding statements concerning individual cases or give commercial advice.

The exclusive rights relate to how the work is designed, but it is not just basic copies of another person's work that are covered by the exclusive rights. Translations and reworkings of another person’s works into other forms of art are also covered by copyright protection. At a general level, it can be said that It is permitted to be inspired by someone else’s works, but not to plagiarise them. The decisive question will be whether or not the new design is too similar to the original work. In the event of a dispute, the court must therefore assess whether the new actor has created something which is sufficiently independent from the original work, which can then be protected. We also know that the author does not have exclusive rights to the thoughts, principles, factual information and ideas behind a work.

You can read more about infringement (prohibited use) here

The basis for copyright is that the creator of a copyrighted work is accorded exclusive rights to the work, which means that no one else is permitted to use the work (music, images, video, etc.) without permission. You will need permission if you want to use what someone else has created in a creation of your own, such as someone else's video as an element in your own video. The same applies when someone creates a collage of images from someone else’s images or reworks someone else’s work and then wants to publish the resulting collage or reworking.

However, what is always permitted is to be inspired by other people’s works and to create something of your own, which can then be a new work with its own protection.

No, if your text is sufficiently original, it will automatically be protected by the Copyright Act and no one will be allowed to use it publicly without your permission. However, short quotes may be used if the source is mentioned. There is also the Act on personal names and pictures in marketing (lagen om namn och bild i reklam), which prohibits the use of names and images in the context of advertising. Freeloading on the reputation of another person or company may also be in breach of the Marketing Act.

What can I not do according to copyright?

No, images are protected by the Copyright Act and you may not use them without the author's permission. If an image also depicts a person who has not given his or her consent, any use of the image will also be in breach of the Act on names and images in marketing and is a punishable offence. It may also be an offence under the Marketing Act.

What can I not do according to copyright?

No, the moral right always belongs to the creator of the work. However, the author may transfer the financial rights or grant a licence to someone else to use the work that has been created, subject to certain conditions.

What can I not do according to copyright?

To play music in a public space (whether through a streaming service like Spotify or on a CD player, for example), you will need the permission of STIM and SAMI. This is also known as a licence.

STIM is an organisation which represents the rights of songwriters, while the musicians and artists themselves are represented by SAMI. To ensure that the compensation reaches the appropriate people, a license from both parties is needed to play the music in a public space, such as a shop or restaurant.

A subscription to Spotify only covers the right to use the service itself. It does not give the right to play the music in public. It can be a good idea to read through Spotify's terms of use in order to find out how you can use the service.

Links to STIM, SAMI and other copyright actors can be found here.

Yes, according to the Copyright Act, the training material you create will automatically be protected if it is sufficiently original. However, the actual concept or idea behind your training course will not be protected. Someone else will therefore be able to use the same concept in a different way without infringing your copyright to the material. Depending on how your contract with your employer is worded and what your normal duties are, your employer may automatically take over the rights to what you create or at least have the right to use it in their normal business.

What can I not do according to copyright?

Unfortunately, PRV cannot guarantee that you will be permitted to freely use drawings from patents and patent applications without permission. Copyright also covers whether and, if so, how and you can use someone else's drawings and other works. We therefore recommend asking the author for permission to use their images or drawings. Copyright applies for as long as the author is alive and for another 70 years after the year in which they die.

PRV offers training and courses where you can learn more about copyright. You can also attend the PRV School online to learn more. An entire section of our school is dedicated to copyright.

You can read more about our courses here.

PRV School online

Our customer support is there to answer your questions and concerns. Customer support can also help you get in touch with our experts if necessary. Customer support also has an extensive network of contacts with other innovation actors and can advise you on who to contact for further support and advice.

Contact our customer support on phone: +46 (0)8 782 28 00