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The Copyright Law gives artist, authors, composers and other persons who have created a work, the right to decide over their work and the use of it. Copyright starts when the work is created and is valid during the copyright owners whole life and for 70 years after the copyright holder dies. Copyright also regulates the possibilities for re-distributing a work i.e. to reuse somebody’s figures in your own work (differing) from plagiarism which is about intentional, or unintentional, presentation of a work or idea as your own newly created contribution. You must always have the copyright holders permission before you reuse somebody else’s work.

Copyright Protected Materials

Examples of copyright-protected material include fiction, written text, speech, computer programmes, music, theatrical work, film, photo, graphical work or other products of visual arts, products of architecture or works of applied arts, or maps.

Copyright is carried out not only on the complete work but also parts of it. This means, for example, that figures in a document are as equally protected as the whole document.

The above mentioned is valid independently of media and the same rules are valid for material collected from the Internet as for printed material. Reuse of somebody else’s work and publishing it on the Internet, is not different form publishing it in a printed document.

The Copyright symbol (©)

The Copyright symbol (©) is often used making it more clear for the reader that the work is copyright protected. In Sweden has the symbol no legal meaning. It is enough on the title page to write "This work is protected according to the copyright law (URL 1960:729)" to make it clear that the work is copyright protected (although this is not necessary).

We are more than happy to answer questions or come to your course/research group/department... to give a 30 minutes information session: E-Mail ask us.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the EU's new data protection regulation which entered into force on 25 May 2018. The Regulation replaces the Swedish Personal Data Act (PuL). The purpose of the regulation is to strengthen the protection of the privacy of individuals. The regulation does not regulate copyright but only the processing of personal data. If a student or doctoral student has signed the agreement to publish their work in LiU's publishing platform DiVA, this agreement still applies. GDPR does not revoke contractual agreements.

Read more about GDPR and handling persnal data in DiVA on our webpage Handling Personal Data.

Creative Commons (CC) was originally used for use in the music industry. With CC, you can share all or part of the work: download, read, copy, distribute, edit, rewrite. Clear references to the main source must always be specified.

Note: Creative Commons licenses can not be revoked. A licensor who provided a Creative Commons license may not revoke the license or prevent anyone from using the work with the license. Renewal of the same work may be distributed without Creative Commons license but prior publication of the work with a Creative Commons license can not be revoked.

Creative Commons licenses consist of four conditions:

Createvi Commons fyra byggstenar.

The four conditions above can be combined into six different licenses:

Source: Creative Commons (n.d.). Downloads. [photograph]. https://creativecommons.org/about/downloads/ License Creative Commons (BY) [2018-07-04]
Creative Commons (n.d.). About Creative Commons licenses http://www.creativecommons.se/om-cc/licenserna/ [2018-07-04]

Linköping University Electronic Press and Creative Commons

Linköping University Electronic Press use a Creative Commons licensing system. Readers may download, read, distribute and use material from published publication on LiU E-press for non-commercial use only as long as they give complete attribution to the authors i.e. full reference to the author and the original publication.

Ph.D. Thesis with a Collection of Articles

For a thesis published electronically at LiU E-Press which is a collection of articles (comprehensive theses) only the introduction/summary is published. All articles, both published and unpublished, are removed from the thesis. For each article, which is a part of the thesis, the bibliographic information about the article, is registered with a link from the thesis and a link back from the article to the thesis. See this thesis as an example. In expressional cases the thesis, with a collection of articles, is published completely with the articles if it explicitly does not violent copyright.

When publishing a scientific article in a commercial journal, authors most likely have signed a publishing agreement, where they transfer the copyright of their article to the publisher. However, most publishers have a paragraph with certain rights the author keeps. About 90% of publishers allow authors to publish an article on their personal or public non-commercial web sites, parallel publishing, with some minor conditions:

  1. A reference and link to the original publication and journal must be given.
  2. The author's final draft manuscript can be used but not the publisher's final copy.
  3. Occasionally there is an embargo period of 12 to 18 months. Taylor and Francis journals are the most common example.
  4. For details for a specific journals, see Sherpa
Some journals allow pre-prints i.e. the publishing of a manuscript before it has been published in a journal. We have been informed about a smaller number of cases where the journal allow pre-printing, but it was disapproved by the peer-reviewers. We recommend not publishing articles in manuscript electronically in full text before the article has been published by a journal. Bibliographic information about an article can be published without violating any rules.

Reuse Articles in Your Thesis

There is usually no problem including articles or article materials in the printed version of the thesis because the commercial journals believe that the printed version does not have such broad spread that it can be consider as published. For electronic published version, on other hand, the copyright is more delicate. To reuse (include) your articles in the summary thesis requires permission from the publisher. It's very easy to get permission because most journals and publishers use the RightsLink Service service on their web pages. The advantage of this service is that you receive an answer immediately and that you can usually use the publisher's original file. How you do is described in our instruction Reuse article for reprint in Licentiate and Ph.D. Theses (pdf).

Monograph Theses

At LiU E-Press, monograph theses are published if there are no copyright issues. A copyright obstacle can occur if the thesis is published by a commercial publisher or if the thesis contains material such as photographs, figures, photos of arts or other material which explicitly may not be spread in any form but printed.

If a chapter in a monograph thesis is to be published in a commercial journal, publishers feel that it likely requires a significant rewriting before the material might be considered to be an article. Because of this, there is no problem to publish monographs electronically even if parts of the material have not been rewritten to an article.

If you have any questions regarding reusing copyright protected material, send us an  E-post e-mail .


As a student you own the copyright to your work according to Swedish copyright law. It is not the University, the department or the supervisor who owns the copyright but you as the author.

You must, as an author, also respect Swedish and foreign copyright laws. This means that you can not use photographs, diagram, tables, maps, drawings, work of arts, collages etc. collected from the Internet, books, articles, newspapers, magazines etc. without the permission from the copyright holder. It is allowed to quote short pieces of text in your work. Full reference to the original source must be given i.e. from where you have collected the quote and also very clearly show that it is a quote by putting the text in italic, make indentions or by using quotation marks. As for photographs the photographers name and the year when the photograph was taken (if available) must always be stated. See also the tabs Photographs, Figures, Multimedia, Work of Arts etc. and Copy and Share.

Using photos, figures, arts etc. without permission

If your student thesis is only submitted to the teacher/department in order to receive an exam and the thesis is not going to be printed or published electronically via internet i.e. distributed beyond the classroom, permission is not needed for using photos, figures etc. If the work will be distributed and/or published electronicaly, permission from the copyright holder is required.

Student Theses at a Company

If you cooperate with a company, it is very important in advance clear out the copyright with the company so you can publish your work electronically without violating copyright. If the company require a signed agreement, let a legal expert read the agreement before signing it.

Be very careful not to sign over the copyright of your student thesis to the company. If you do, you might perhaps not be able to use your own figures, tables or other data I future work without the permission from the company.

If your thesis will contain information/data which is confidential because of business economic or research or patent reasons always clear out with the company the conditions how to use it in the thesis. I could cause some problem about copyright and the company might require that your thesis be confidential which means that you cannot publish it electronically nor print and spread it. It is important to be sure your thesis will not be confidential. Several departments strongly advise not to make the thesis confidential.

Consult with your supervisor if you are uncertain what to do.

In Sweden, for educational purposes, there is some flexibility for distributing copyrighted material to registered participants in a course. In Sweden, Bonus Copyright Access is an umbrella organization that acts as an intermediate between educational institutions and copyright holders. Together they set up an agreement which gives teachers and students the permission to copy and distribute copyright protected material with some restrictions.

Using Copyright Protected Material in Lectures

From the first of January 2014 a new legal agreement have between Bonus Copyright Access and SUHF (Sveriges universitets- och högskoleförbund, [The Association of Swedish Higher Education]) was signed. The new agreement increases teacher's and student's possibilities to copy and share copyright protected material from Swedish and foreign publications, for example books, educational materials, daily and weekly magazines, journals, digital publications, etc.

Copy and Share digital websites and analog from paper copies

Teachers and students may copy by:

  • Downloading
  • Scanning
  • Printing
  • Photo copying

Distribute and Share for Teaching

Teachers and students are allowed to share for educational purposes within a university by:

  • Saving digitally on a university's restricted network, a USB memory.
  • Share copies restricted the network, by e-mail.
  • Use copied material in presentations for example Power Point
  • Save and share digital presentations on a university's restricted network, via e-mail.
  • Project and show on screen
  • Deliver paper copies to registered students

15/15 rule

A teacher may, if nothing else is stated, copy up to 15% of the total number of pages from a work (a book for example), but not more than 15 pages. If the book has 100 pages it is allowed to copy 15 pages. If the original book has 60 pages, one is allowed to copy 9 pages (15% of the total number of pages). If the publication is a book chapter it is allowed to copy 15% of the total number of pages. It is also legal to copy further 3 pages if that is necessary to make the chapter complete. The teacher may make as many copies so that each student gets one copy each and the teacher some copies. The 15/15 rule is also includes e-books.

The 15% rule is also applicable for journals i.e. 15% of the total number of pages. If the journal has 50 pages one is allowed to copy 8 pages (7½ pages is considered as 8 pages). If a separate article, included in a journal of 30 pages, the complete article can be copied (4,5 pages plus 3 extra pages).

Photocopying of a complete book for education purposes even if the book is out of print, is not allowed without a permission from the copyright holder.

What May the Teacher Copy for Own Use

The teacher may, only for their own use, copy a complete work, e.g. a book. The material may not be spread to other readers.

It is allowed to copy and share

  1. Mandatory course literature may only be copied if a smaller section shall be read. The 15/15-rule is applicable.
  2. Separate sections from mandatory course literature may be copied and displayed i classroom when teaching.
  3. Separate sections from mandatory course literature distributed by publisher may be copied if it will be part of an examination.

It is NOT allowed to copy and share

  1. Mandatory course literature published by a publishing house, but allowed if it in the publication is included occasional work and only if a minor section not exceeding 15 pages (15/15 rule); allowed to copy separate sections for presentations via Power Point and allowed to copy separate exam paper,
  2. make print out of digitally stored work where the university has a special agreement with the copyright holder which regulates the above mentioned copying,
  3. if it is explicitly stated a ban against copying of the copyright holder's work at any of the parties and
  4. recorded music, film, video, radio and TV program without permission from the copyright holder.

Note also that the discussion here applies to "normal" university lectures and any for-pay scenarios (e.g. workshops for colleagues, nonregistered students) are not covered; for the latter one must get permission from the copyright holder.


Libraries can scan copyright protected material and share it between libraries but not send the file, with the material directly to a student or a researcher at the university or another universities unless the library has an agreement with the copyright holder. Only paper copies can be distributed to students. If the borrower is a student at the university, for example LiU, and the article will be used for teaching, the librarian can scan the article and send it to the student by e-mail.


A teacher is obliged to state the source and the copyright holder's/photographer's names on the produced copies.

Links to Bonus Copyright Access with rules for Colleges and Universities (Swedish Only)


Copyright applies to photographs, diagrams, tables, maps, drawings, arts, collage etc. which are published in print or electronically and for sound and video files. This means that you cannot, without permission from the copyright holder, straight off, use material from the Internet, books, newspapers etc.

Using Copyright Protected Figures, Charts etc.

Scientific result is not copyright protected but the form in which the result is presented is protected by copyright. One can, therefore, redo a bar chart to a pie chart or table without violating the copyright. Full reference to the original source must be clear. Photographs, art and multimedia is not possible to redo without infringe the copyright. Permission from the copyright holder is required.

In order to make it easier getting a permission using a figure or a photograph, state that the copyright protected material will be used in an academic context for example Ph.D. Thesis, student thesis or a report and that the electronic version will be published at the University non-commercial publisher Linköping University Electronic Press. A full reference to the used material and the copyright holder must also be stated.

Use Photographs without Permission

According to Swedish copyright law chapter 2 it is possible to use photographs without permission in scientific descriptions, where the photograph is part of a critical review and that there is no commercial profiting involved. A full reference to the photographer and year must be given and from where the photograph is collected e.g. from a weekly magazine. Instead of just using the photograph it is better to ask the copyright holder of permission of two reasons: 1. It contributes to a good relation with the copyright holder and for future co-operation and 2. Protect the LiU trademark.

Permission is required if one uses copyright protected photos for a photo collage.

Photographing a Person

It is from the 1st of July 2013 not allowed in secrecy to photograph or film a person who is situated in their private environment or in a place which is meant to be private e.g. a toilet, in a dressing room or similar. There is an exception for journalistic work.

Photographing Person on the Campus or in A Crowd etc.

It is allowed to photograph person in public environments e.g. on a street or public crowds without permission but it is always appreciated if one ask first before photographing and inform the purpose of the photographing.
Photographing at the Campus without permission of the person, should be avoided because the person might have protected identity or the photographing might also be against the persons religious believe.

Publish the Photo on the Internet

Publishing names and images of a person in e.g. blogs or other social medias is allowed as long as one does not insult the person in question. Examples of insulting treatment is if one hangs out, slanders or in other ways scandalises a person.

Sound and Video Recordings During Lectures

At Linköping University there is a general prohibition against video recording, photographing, filming in lectures, seminars or other teaching forms. Read more about this in rektor decision (Swedish Only). Exceptions might be permitted for persons with functionally disabilities of various kinds where sound recording or photographing may be of help. Ask for permission in due time before the lecture.

Work of Arts

In a printed publication works of art may be published if it is a critical description e.g. if the work of art is a part of a scientific publication, dissertation or an article where the work is scientifically reviewed. Full reference must be given to the source and creator. Note that it is not allowed to published the work in an electronic publication. That requires permission. See also Bildupphovsrätt.


  • All authors, including students, who publish their work at www.ep.liu.se (LiU E-Press) or in the publishing system DiVA, retain the copyright to their work.
  • All work published at LiU E-Press and DiVA is protected by Swedish copyright law. There are no commercial interest in the published material.
  • LiU E-Press publish open access under the Creative Commons license: BY-NC Attribution-Non-commercial.
  • The publishing agreement that all authors must sign prior to publication at LiU E-Press or DiVA, only gives LiU E-Press permission to make an author’s work available on the internet.
  • As author, it is your responsibility to ensure that the material you use in your work is not copyright protected; this includes figures, tables, diagrams, and sound and video files.
  • If someone other than yourself has created or been involved in the creation of sound, video clips, figures or photographs to be included in your work, then you must have permission from the copyright holder to publish the files. Send a mail to the copyright holder asking for permission.
  • In the case that you subsequently publish your work with a third party, you must inform the publishing body that the work is already published at LiU E-Press or DiVA (this does not prevent you from publishing with a third party, but they cannot request the restriction of the publication at LiU E-Press and DiVA).
  • Parallel publishing of articles in DiVA is frequently allowed, without requiring additional permission from the publisher. E-mail Ask us about the publishers policies. The information can also be found at Sherpa/Romeo.

Parallel Publish Material at LiU E-Press

Parallel publishing of publications published at LiU E-Press is allowed on a personal homepage, the institutional or sub departments homepage and/or the University repository. Full reference to the author and the original publishing must be given and that the material is not used for commercial purposes. Read more parallel publishing on our web page about parallel publishing.

Responsible for this page: Peter Berkesand
Last updated: 2019-07-03