KUB Copyright Service: Copyright in general


”The Act on Copyright, section 22. A person may quote from a work which has been made public in accordance with proper usage and to the extend required for the purpose."


- must be limited to what is absolutely necessary.
- may only be a minor part of the publication being quoted from.
- must have a purpose in your own publication.
- may only be a minor part of your own publication.
- must be clearly marked where they begin and where they end.
- must have a clear indication of the source.

Copyright: Basic rules and exceptions

When using other people's work, the following general rules apply:

  • Copyright belongs to the person or persons creating the original work - regardless of what kind of work it is (e.g. a text, an image, a lecture, a contribution to the public debate, a translation etc.). The copyright to an original work expires 70 years after the death of its creator.
  • After 70 years, the rules of "Droit moral" apply, also known as the moral rules. This means that the creator of a work has the right of attribution and that the work may not be used in an offensive manner (cf. The Act of Copyright, section 3).
  • A work can have more than one creator, and therefore more than one copyright holder.
  • You may reproduce works protected by copyright if you have obtained permission from all holders of copyright (authors, illustrators, publishers, etc.) or if there is an exception in the Act of Copyright (e.g. sections 23-24a covering reproductions of works of art). It is your own responsibility to check if you have permission to use a work.
  • You may, to a certain extend, copy works for private use.

Please note that this guide only covers Danish rules and regulations. Other regulations may apply in other countries.




You may

- reproduce texts, including whole works, if the author has been dead for 70 years.
- quote e.g. a short poem if it is a critical or scientific work.
- quote from all texts

You may not

- quote more than what is strictly necessary.
- publish other works by other authors as if they were your own; not even if the original copyright has expired.
- reproduce pictures etc. from a text if the authors of the pictures have not been dead for 70 years.

For copyright purposes, it is not considered a quote if you quote texts that are not subject to copyright, e.g. legal acts, reports, court rulings etc. Therefore, you may, for instance, reproduce a complete court ruling, though for other reasons you must still explain your actions.

Online resources

You may

- send direct links to online resources (deep link). If a particular online resource is subject to a license, the recipient can only access it if he or she also has permission to use it.

You may not

- forward digital items you have either downloaded yourself or otherwise obtained digitally.


You may

- reproduce pictures on which the copyright has expired.
- reproduce details or parts of a picture as long as it has a function in your own work (thus making it a quote).

You may not

- take photographs of a work of art protected by copyright, e.g. a painting, and then reproduce the image.
- distort an image protected by copyright.

About photographs in general:

  • Photographs can be classified as either a photographic image or photographic work.
  • The difference is that photographic images do not meet the requirements of originality in the same way works do.
  • Images are protected by copyright 50 years after the year when they were produced. However, transition rules mean that images produced before 1970 are not protected by copyright. Therefore, only images made after january 1st 1970 are protected by copyright for 50 years.
  • All other works are covered by the 70-years rule.
  • Please remember that the original photographer most likely considers his or her photograph to be a work regardless of your opinion of it.


You may

- reproduce short parts of a film.

You may not

- reproduce a single still image from a film (which makes it a photograph).


Manuscripts are also covered by The Act on Copyright. When it comes to older manuscripts, you should always check if use of the manuscript is limited in any other way. It is always a good idea to obtain permission in advance from the owner of the manuscript, especially if is owned privately or by a foreign institution.

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