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Copyright protects your work

Copyright is a prerequisite for you to be able to make a living and have an overview of the distribution of your artistic works.

Helena Shutrick

Various government agencies and interest groups are familiar with copyright law and can provide information and support.

Copyright provides the conditions for the innovation of art and protects artists, both financially and non-profit, when they want to produce copies of their works and publish them to the public.

Note: You do not need to apply for copyright protection, but the right arises automatically the moment a work is created. In Sweden, copyright applies for 70 years after the death of the author.

Even if copyright arises automatically, there may be reasons to mention rights in agreements signed between you and the client. You can read more about compensation and agreements here.

The work must have a working height

Copyright requires that the work has a so-called work height. What you create must reach a certain level of originality.

The financial right can be transferred

The economic right to a work always arises with you who created a work, but can be transferred to someone else through an agreement. The person who has the financial right to a work is the one who decides whether and in what way the work may be used and distributed. The author decides, for example, whether a song may be used in a commercial, whether a short story may be published in a collection of short stories or whether a photo may be used for a poster.

The non-profit right cannot be transferred

The non-profit right means that the author has the right to be named if a work is used: whoever quotes from a book must state who the author is. There must also be respect for the work: you must not make offensive changes to it or use the work in an offensive context. Unlike the economic right, the non-profit right cannot be transferred.

Related rights

The Copyright Act also protects certain rights that resemble copyright. They are called related rights. They can apply to performers (artists), film and music producers and photographers. Photographs can be protected by both copyright and the related so-called photographic right. This means that you should also pay extra attention to photographs. The difference between the actual copyright and the related rights is sometimes great but sometimes only theoretical.

Protecting copyright can be complicated

It can be complicated to protect one’s copyright even if it arises automatically, i.e. without registration. The Copyright Act contains many exceptions and limitations. Therefore, it may be wise to seek advice from, for example, your trade association before doing business that may be affected by copyright.

In working life, the right to copyright-protected works is often regulated in agreements between the employee and the employer. In most artistic fields, collective agreement management and collective rights management are used. This means that you, as an artist, are a member of an organization that manages the agreement within copyright and administers compensation. To read more about some of the interest organizations for copyright, follow the links below in the information box.