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About copyright

Images, figures, tables, text, film, sound recordings, software and other material published in printed or digital form are protected by copyright. The Copyright Act gives the creator of a work the right to decide how it may be used. Copyright arises when the work is created, and no registration is required.

Film on Copyright by Swedish Intellectual Property Office

If you want to use of published material, you need to find out if and how you may use and publish the material. There may be licenses and agreements that regulate how you may use it. If there is no license or agreement, you need to contact the copyright holder and ask for permission.

Copyright has two parts: the economic rights and the moral rights. The economic rights last for 70 years after the author's death. For anonymous works, it applies 70 years after the work was made available.

The economic rights can be transferred, for example, to a publisher. The moral rights cannot.

The moral rights mainly mean that the creator must be stated. There is no time limit for this right. You can learn more on copyright at Swedish Intellectual Porperty Office .

Using copyrighted material

Reading or accessing other people's material is not regulated by copyright. It is when you want to copy, distribute, or publish the material that you need to find out what applies. Copying includes downloading, saving, and printing material.

Save or print for your own use

Downloading, saving, and printing a limited amount of material for private use is generally permitted for both printed and electronic material. However, systematic, or extensive printing or downloading is not permitted.

Distribute internally at KTH via e-mail, Canvas and screen display

The library provides both openly available scientific material (open access) and material that we own or subscribe to. The material that the library owns or subscribes to may generally be shared and distributed within KTH. This can be done, for example, via e-mail, in Canvas learning management system or by handing out paper copies. Open access material is generally free to share and spread. The Bonus Copyright Access agreement gives certain rights to use and distribute printed literature and freely available web material within teaching at KTH (read more in the Bonus Copyright Access agreement section). Most of the library's agreements also allow materials to be shown in classes or at meetings, for example in a presentation. The display can take place on site or digitally in a closed group.

Disseminate to other researchers outside KTH

Articles that are published open access may be distributed freely. Many journals also allow preprints  or postprints  to be made available to everyone. In addition to this, you may have the right to distribute articles you have written yourself. Part of the library's agreement allows so-called "scholarly sharing", that is, you share materials with other researchers with whom you collaborate, even if they are not affiliated to KTH. You may not make the article available to a broad research group, for example on a website. Information on whether scholarly sharing is permitted can be found in the catalog entry in Primo. If the information is missing, you can contact the library.

Bonus Copyright Access Agreement

KTH and most other Swedish universities are covered by the Bonus Copyright Access agreement . The agreement applies to printed material and material that is available online without a separate agreement. According to this agreement, a maximum of 15% or 15 pages of a printed or digital work per student and calendar semester may be distributed. If a few more pages are needed, for example, to make a chapter complete, it is allowed. Dissemination may take place via e-mail, in learning management systems or other closed networks, in paper form, or by projection on a screen. Recordings where material is shown on screen may not be distributed. This applies to both filmed lectures and screen recordings of online teaching. Please note that the Bonus Copyright Access agreement does not apply to electronic material for which the library has special agreements. Special agreements KTH Library's agreement with publishers and suppliers for electronic resources usually specifies what type of use is permitted. If the license terms are violated, the provider may, temporarily or permanently, disable our access. More information about terms of use can be found in the directory entry in Primo.

It is normally allowed to

  • Make a limited number of printed or electronic copies
  • Use for research, teaching, or private study
  • Share with researchers, staff, and students at KTH
  • Publish links to specific content

It is normally not allowed to

  • Make systematic or extensive printing, copying, or downloading
  • Use for commercial purposes, republish, distribute, or modify content
  • Share with people other than researchers, staff, and students at KTH
  • Publish content or articles on websites and mailing lists

Publish in print or electronic

Republishing someone else's copyrighted material is not covered by either the library's agreements or the Bonus Copyright Access Agreement. This applies to theses, dissertations, and scientific articles. You can use material with a license that allows use, such as a Creative Commons license, or ask the copyright holder for permission (more information further down this page). If it is your own text or figure that you want to reuse, for example an article or a figure from your dissertation, you may have the right to do so depending on what your agreement with the publisher looks like. When you publish something yourself, you also need to think about your own copyright.

Creative commons licenses (CC licenses)

The author or rights holder may allow use of a work with a license. The most common are CC licenses . All CC licenses allow you to use and distribute the work. There are different variants of these licenses, which for example specify whether you may make adaptations of the material or whether in commercial use is allowed. You must always state the creator. Most open access articles and open access books have a CC license.


If there is no license or agreement for the material, you must contact the author or the publisher to ask for permission. Who holds the copyright can be indicated in or in connection with the source, for example in a caption, somewhere on the website or on the first pages of a book or newspaper. Specify how and where you want to use the material. Save the permission you receive as using copyrighted material without permission may have legal consequences. If you are unable to get hold of the authors or are unsure of what applies, it is better not to use the material. For most scientific articles, you can request permission by filling out a form. Permission to use a figure or table in a degree project, a thesis or a scientific article is usually granted free of charge. The Copyright Clearance Center  handles copyright for many scientific journals and books.

Different types of works


You may not publish other people's copyrighted texts. However, you may reproduce the content of other people's texts in your own words. Provide references to the sources you use. You may also quote "in accordance with good practice" and to the extent justified by the context. This means that you reproduce the exact wording of the source, mark that it is a quotation, and indicate the source with a reference. If you are a student or researcher, the management of sources is also part of the academic practice. You need to manage sources to avoid plagiarism .


Copyright also applies to photos, maps, sketches, drawings, and other images that are published in printed or electronic form. If you want to use images that are not free or have a CC license, you often need to request permission from the copyright holder. There are collections of images with different license terms that may be used without first asking permission from the creator. Tips on where to find image collections that you can use without permission can be found at Karlstad University Library . Adapted images are also protexted by copyright. This applies if you for example crop the image or add a detail. If, on the other hand, you make your own image, you own the copyright. Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to draw the line between an adapted image and an original image.

Tables and graphs

For tables, diagrams, charts and other graphs it is the design and not the content that is protected by copyright. You can therefore use the presented data and make your own tables and graphs. You must refer to the source from where you obtained the information. If you want to use the table or graph directly from the source, it is usually necessary to have a special agreement or license that allows it (read more in the sections on CC licenses and Special agreements) or to ask for permission (read more in the section Permission).


Movies are protected by copyright. The Bonus Copyright Access agreement does not cover films. To be shared or shown to a group, the film copy must have institutional rights. You may not share or display a copy of a film intended for private use or use your private account in a streaming service. You may show films that have a license that allows this or if you have received permission from the rights holder. There are some streaming services whose content is allowed to be shown. YouTube videos with CC licenses may also be shown. Embedding a film on a web page is allowed because it is essentially a link, and no new copy is created.

Computer code and software

Computer code and software are protected by copyright. To publish computer code, for example in a degree project or a thesis requires that there is a license or agreement, or that you ask for permission (read more under the sections on CC licenses and Special agreements and Permissions). Software can sometimes also be protected by patents.

Research data

Research data  can also be protected by copyright (see heading Copyright, patents and other intellectual property rights).