KUB Copyright Service: For private citizens

Creative Commons

Creative Commons
is a standardised method of indicating to what extend you accept your work to be used, shared and copied.

Copyright: Private use

This is not a guide to copyright - only the most important elements are described.

As a general rule, it can be said that a work is protected by copyright for 70 years after the death of its creator(s). According to Danish copyright law, a creator of a work need not do anything actively to secure copyright - it is achieved automatically. The only requirement is that the work itself must be original and - to a certain extend - have achieved the status of being 'a work'.

For more detailed information, also see:


Copying for private use

According to the Act of Copyright, section 12, a limited amount of copying is allowed for private use. Here are some examples:

You may

- copy an article for you and your closest family to use or to give to a close friend or colleague.
- make 30 copies of a song to use at your daughter's confirmation dinner.

You may not

- copy a CD or a film that you have borrowed or rented.
- break copy protection - not even on material you have legally purchased yourself.
- earn money distributing such copies.

It is never permitted to copy illegally copied material.

Please note that it is your responsibility to know if you violate copyright rules. Ignorance of copyright rules does not relieve you of your responsibility.

Especially when it comes to commercial use of other people's work, it is very important to examine wether or not it is protected by copyright. Here you should also note that a single work can have multiple creators; e.g. a book can have been written by one person and the illustrations can be done by another person (e.g. a photographer). All original creators must have been dead for 70 years before a work can be used freely.

The Act of Copyright, section 12 in its entirety:

12. Reproduction for Private Use

(1) Anyone is entitled to make or have made, for private purposes, single copies of works which have been made public if this is not done for commercial purposes. Such copies must not be used for any other purpose.

(2) The provision of subsection (1) does not provide the right to(i) construct a work of architecture;
(ii) make a copy of a work of art by casting, by printing from an original negative or base, or in any other manner implying that the copy can be considered as an original;
(iii) make copies of computer programs in digitized form;
(iv) make copies in digital form of databases if the copy is made on the basis of a reproduction of the database in digital form; or
(v) make single copies in digital form of other works than computer programs and databases unless this is done exclusively for the personal use of the copying person himself or his household.

(3) Notwithstanding the provision in subsection (2) (v), it is not permitted without the consent of the author to produce copies in digital form on the basis of a copy that has been lent or hired.

(4) The provision of subsection (1) does not confer a right to engage another person to make copies of
(i) musical works;
(ii) cinematographic works;
(iii) literary works if the other person assists for commercial purposes;
(iv) works of applied art; or
(v) works of art if the copying is in the form of an artistic reproduction.
(5) The provision of subsection (1) does not entitle the user to make copies of musical works and cinematographic works by using technical equipment made available to the public in libraries, on business premises, or in other places accessible to the public. The same applies for literary works if the technical equipment has been provided for commercial purposes.

Use of material in The Royal Library's collection

The Royal Library's large collection is increasingly being made freely available on the internet. If you need a specific image or similar from the library's collection that has not already been made public, you can buy a digitised copy. Images are available in different resolutions depending on your need (online or printed publication etc.).

More information about the use of copies from The Royal Library can be found here: http://www.kb.dk/en/kb/copyright/index.html

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