No matter whether you study, do research or teach at KI, issues about copyright may well pop up now and then, both with regard to how you can use other people's material in your own work, and what rights you have to the material you yourself have created.

Copyright is the legal right that is initially held by the person who has created a piece of work, in the form of e.g. pictures, photographs, texts, books or films. Copyright arises automatically when a piece of work is created. Copyright legislation regulates how people are allowed to use material that is copyright protected.

Using and citing other people's work

If you want to use another person's work, remember that as a general rule, copyright applies during the creator's lifetime plus 70 years after his/her death. After that, the work may be freely reproduced.

That means that you must always reference to the copyright owner when you, for example, use his/her texts or images in your work. You are not allowed to copy or distribute other people's work any way you like but there are some restrictions in copyright.

Private use

There is a rule in copyright that says that you can copy parts of e.g. a course book for private use. How much you are allowed to copy varies but you are never allowed to copy an entire book or print out a whole e-book. When it comes to the electronic journals and e-books that you can access via KI, the terms of use are governed by the contracts that the library has signed with the various suppliers. 

Bonus Copyright Access – exceptions for students and teachers

To a certain degree, the Higher Education Institutions Agreement with Bonus Copyright Access allows students and teachers to copy and share copyright-protected material digitally and analogously, for example, by:

  • downloading
  • printing
  • inserting into digital presentations
  • saving copied copyrighted material digitally, for example on the university's closed network, on a USB-stick, etcetera
  • sharing material on the university's closed network, via e-mail, etcetera
  • projecting and displaying on screen
  • handing out paper copies. 

As a teacher, you are sometimes able to copy a greater amount of copyright-protected material for your teaching, thanks to special agreements. You can find information about this at Bonus Copyright Access

You can always contact the library if you feel unsure about what applies to your situation.

Telephone & chat Mon – Fri 9:00 – 16:00.
08-524 84 000

Citation rights

You have the right to cite other people's published work in your own work to the extent justified by the purpose. This means it is the context that governs how much you can cite other people's work. Remember you must always state who is the creator of the text you are citing. How you give references when you cite something will depend on which system of references you are using.

Your own copyright

Copyright consists of two parts: intellectual right and financial right. The intellectual right means that the creator has the right to be named when the work is used/distributed and has the right to object to any changes to the work. The financial right means the creator has the right to allow or forbid all forms of copying or distribution of the work. The financial right can be transferred to another party, for instance, a publisher, often with the help of licences, while the intellectual right can never be fully transferred.


In conjunction with publication in a journal, it is common that the publisher wants the author of the article to refrain from all or part of his/her copyright by signing a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA). However, as author of the article, it is in your interest to retain as much of the copyright as possible so as to be able to re-use your material any way you want in the future, without having to ask the publisher for consent.

The rights that are usually reassigned to the author are the right to use the work for future teaching and future publications such as a doctoral thesis, and the right to publish an accepted final version of the work on the internet or on the university's open archive and/or another open archive. When it comes to publishing a piece of work, it is quite common that this is not allowed until after an embargo period (usually 6-12 months). You can find more information about this under open access.

The organisation called "Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition" (SPARC) is an association of research libraries that gives support and advice to authors about publishing and copyright. SPARC has taken a number of initiatives to bring about its vision of a more open system for scholarly communication.

SPARC has formulated a disclaimer document called "SPARC Author Addendum" which researchers can add to the agreements they enter with journals so that they thereby can retain parts of their copyright. The agreement has the effect of modifying the publisher's contract so that you as author can retain vital parts of the intellectual rights, at the same time as the publisher gets a non-exclusive first-hand right to publish and distribute the work against payment.

When you publish your work in an open access journal, it is very common that you can retain your copyright without have to negotiate by using a licence from the Creative Commons organisation.

Please contact the library's research support team if you have questions about copyright and your scholarly publications.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons are copyright licences that allow you as creator to permit others to use your material without them first having to ask you for permission. If you license material, pictures, films, music, art, etc. you can decide how other people can use your material. There are six licences with different degrees of freedom.

If you want to use a Creative Commons licensed product, you must always remember to check what type of Creative Commons licence it has in order to see if you can use it for your purposes. The minimum requirement is to state the source but there are often other conditions that must also be followed.

Do you have any questions about Creative Commons? Contact the library or KI's lawyers for help.

Senast uppdaterad: