The Swedish Copyright Act gives authors, composers, artists and other content creators the right to determine how their works may be used.
The moment the work is created, the author automatically gains copyright over his or her work. Copyright is governed by the Act (1960:729) on Copyright on Literary and Artistic Works External link, opens in new window.. Copyright in a work is valid from the time of the work's creation until 70 years after the author's death.
Threshold of originality
In order for artistic and literary works to be protected by copyright, the work must have reached the threshold of originality. This means that the work has a sufficiently high degree of originality and that no one else could have produced the exact same thing. The National Library of Sweden generally assumes that all works at the National Library have reached the threshold of originality.
If the work that you wish to copy is protected or if you are going to copy more than 25% of the work (for text), we need to know that you have the copyright holder’s permission. This is regulated by an agreement. You are welcome to contact library staff for help completing all the information. Please note that the National Library will not place the order before a signed agreement has been received.
Telephone: +46 (0)10-709 30 30 (Monday–Friday 9:00–16:00)
Copyright on a work is valid from the time of the work's creation until 70 years after the author's death.
A work may have multiple authors for copyright purposes, for example the person who wrote the text, along with the translator and illustrator. The term of protection is then calculated on the basis of the year of death of the last contributor to die. The term of protection is also 70 years for anonymous works, but in this case the term applies from the year of the work's publication instead.
Put simply, you can assume that a work created by a person who lives for 90 years will be completely free to copy 150 years later at the earliest, assuming that the person was 10 or older at the time the work was created. Once the term of protection has lapsed, the work may be used freely and you may, for example, copy it without restriction, both in hard copy and in electronic form. When it comes to photographic images, the National Library has taken the decision of principle to consider all graphic images as works with a 70-year term of protection.
Works that are published may be copied for private use. This means, for example, that private letters, non-published images and other unpublished materials that have not been made available to the public may not be copied for private use. You may copy copyrighted text for private use without the author's permission to a limited extent. The National Library limits such copies to 25% of the entire work.
Texts of limited length, such as articles, poems and short stories may be copied in their entirety. You may also copy images and maps for private use. It is permitted to make both electronic copies and hardcopies. However, you may not make the material available to the public by uploading what you have copied for private use to the Internet, for example to your own website. You need permission from the copyright holder for this.
Copies made for your own studies, for your own pleasure or for use by your immediate family and friends are considered to be for private use. It is not permitted to make copies for your whole extended family or for colleagues at work.
If you make copies for private use, you are responsible for how the copies are used. This applies regardless of whether you yourself make the copies or if the National Library makes the copies on your behalf.
Other rules apply if you wish to make copies from a copyrighted work for any use other than private use, or if you wish for the National Library to make such copies for you. In this case you need to have the rightholder's permission.
Non-private use may include, for example, dissemination to a large group of friends, or within an association, using the material for commercial purposes, or if you wish to disseminate it on the Internet. The National Library is responsible for such copies it makes that are not for your private use. We may therefore ask you for additional information about how you plan to use the copies.
The National Library does not own the rights to the works in its collections – these are owned by the individual authors or their surviving relatives.
The National Library generally does not have information about who owns the rights. For inquiries about rightholders, we refer users to organisations like BUS, the Swedish Authors' Association, STIM or a copyright lawyer.
If you make copies for private use, you are responsible for how the copies are used. This applies regardless of whether you yourself make the copies or if the Library makes the copies on your behalf.
The National Library is responsible for such copies it makes that are not for your private use. The Library may therefore ask you for additional information about how you plan to use the copies.
That depends on whether the photography was a basic reproduction or if there was some form of artistic creation involved on the part of the National Library's photographers.
In the Library's view, photographic imaging that involves no more than simple reproduction of an original does not qualify for copyright protection, meaning that there is no need to reference the name of the Library's photographer. For simple reproduction, it is sufficient to write “Reproduction: National Library of Sweden.”
On the other hand, if the graphic images did involve some form of artistic creative effort on the part of the photographer, for example in the form of lighting and image composition, they are considered to have copyright protection. To publish such an image, both the Library's and the photographer's name must be included with the image or in the table of images, as follows: “Reproduction: Name of photographer, National Library of Sweden.”