Table of Contents
Diversity in copyright
Copyright legislation is created at an individual country level as there is not an international copyright law, though many countries have signed up to the Berne Convention (WIPO, 1979). For these reasons, it is important that researchers identify the relevant national copyright legislation.
The European Commission is looking to reform EU copyright law further, having published a package of reform proposals, which currently include a Directive and a Regulation. One of the aims of these reforms is to improve copyright rules on research and education. Click a country to find out about national copyright legislation, what is covered, the copyright duration and the exceptions and limitations.
Copyright and Related Rights Act and the Act on Amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act (Official Gazette N°167/2003, N°79/2007, N°80/2011, N°141/2013, N°127/2014, N°62/2017, N°96/2018)
Article 99: "Copyright shall run for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death, irrespective of the date when the work is lawfully released, unless otherwise provided by the Copyright Act."
Article 152: "Rights of a producer of a database shall run for 15 years as from the date of the completion of the making of the database. If the database is lawfully disclosed during this period, the rights shall run for 15 years as from the first such disclosure."
The Copyright and Related Rights Act regulates:
copyright - rights of authors in respect of their works in the literary, scientific and artistic domains; and related rights, among which the rights of producers of databases in respect of their databases might be of relevance to researchers.
Article 5: "A copyright work shall be an original intellectual creation in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, having an individual character, irrespective of the manner and form of its expression, its type, value or purpose."
Article 7: "Collections of independent works, data or other materials, such as encyclopaedias, collections of documents, anthologies, databases, and the like, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their constituent elements constitute personal intellectual creations of their authors shall be protected as such. Databases, under this Act, shall be collections arranged according to certain system or method, the elements of which are individually accessible by electronic or other means."
Chapter 6: "Rights of producers of databases, Article 147: A database, under this Chapter of the Act, shall mean a collection of independent works, data or other materials in any form, arranged in a certain systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means, whereby either the obtaining, verification or presentation of is contents requires a qualitatively and/or quantitatively substantial investment in terms of resources, time and efforts engaged."
Article 8: "(1) The subject matter of copyright shall include expressions and not ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such. (2) The subject matter of copyright shall not include: 1. discoveries, official texts in the domain of legislation, administration, judiciary (acts, regulations, decisions, reports, minutes, judgments, standards, and the like) and other official works and their collections, disclosed for the purpose of officially informing the public; 2. news of the day and other news, having the character of mere items of press information; (3) Folk literary and artistic creations in their original form shall not be the subject matter of copyright, but their communication to the public is subject to the payment of remuneration, as for the communication to the public of protected copyright works. The remuneration shall be the revenue of the budget, and shall be used for improving the creativity in the field concerned."
Exceptions regarding rights of producers of databases
Article 150: "An authorized user of a disclosed database may, without the authorization of its producer, use the substantial parts of its contents in the case: 1. referred to in Article 149, item 1 of this Act for private use of a non-electronic database; 2. referred to in Article 149, item 1 of this Act for use intended for teaching or scientific research, provided that the source is indicated and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose; 3. referred to in Article 149, items 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this Act for use required for public safety, or for administrative or judicial proceedings."
Copyright Act No. 121/2000; 07/2017 (2000) (in Czech).
In English, version 01/2015: Consolidated text of Act No. 121/2000 on Copyright and Rights Related to Copyright and on Amendment to Certain Acts (the Copyright Act (Ministry of Culture Czech Republic (2000); pdf, downloads on click)).
Copyright duration varies based on the type of work. Unless stipulated otherwise, economic rights shall run for the life of the author and 70 years after his death but this is 50 years for Performer’s Economic Rights, phonogram, broadcasters, and publishers. The right sui generis of the maker of the database shall run for 15 years from the making of the database.
- Vol.I., Art.2: (1)"...shall be a literary work or any other work of art or a scientific work, which is a unique outcome of the creative activity of the author and is expressed in any objectively perceivable manner including electronic form, permanent or temporary, irrespective of its scope, purpose or significance.. A work shall be, without limitation, a literary work expressed by speech or in writing, a musical work, a dramatic work or musical-dramatical work, a choreographic work and pantomimic work , a photographic work and a work produced by a process similar to photography, an audiovisual work such as a cinematographic work, a work of fine arts such as a painting, graphic or sculptural work, an work of architecture including an urban design work, a work of applied art, and a cartographic work.
- A computer program shall also be considered a work if it is original in the sense that it is the author’s own intellectual creation. A database which by the way of the selection or arrangement of its content is the author’s own intellectual creation, and in which the individual parts are arranged in a systematic or methodical way and are individually accessible by electronic or other means, is a collection of works. No other criteria shall be applied to determine their eligibility for that protection. A photograph or a work produced by a process similar to photography, which are original in the sense of the first sentence, shall be protected as a photographic work.
- A work which is the outcome of the creative adaptation of another work, including its translation into another language, shall also be subject to copyright. This shall be without prejudice to the rights of the author of the adapted or translated work.
- A collection like a journal, encyclopaedia, anthology, exhibition, or any other collection of independent works or other elements that by reason of their selection and of the arrangement of the content meet the conditions set out in Paragraph 1 above, is a collection of works.
- The items that are not works hereunder, shall include, but are not limited to the theme (subject) of a work as such, the news of the day and any other fact as such, an idea, procedure, principle, method, discovery, scientific theory, mathematical and similar formula, statistical diagram and similar item as such".
No copyright, Art. 3: a) an official work, such as a legal regulation, decision, public charter, publicly accessible register and collection of its documents, and also any official draft of an official work and other preparatory official documentation including the official translation of such work, Chamber of Deputies and Senate publications, a memorial chronicle of a municipality (municipal chronicles), a state symbol and symbol of a municipality, and any other such works where there is public interest in their exclusion from copyright protection, b) creations of traditional folk culture, unless the real name of the author is commonly known and the works are anonymous or pseudonymous (Article 7); such works may only be used in a way that shall not detract from their value.
Copyright Act (404/1961, amendments up to 608/2015) (2015).
Copyright shall subsist until 70 years have elapsed from the year of the author's death or from the year of death of the last surviving author.
A person who has created a literary or artistic work shall have copyright therein, whether it be a fictional or descriptive representation in writing or speech, a musical or dramatic work, a cinematographic work, a photographic work or other work of fine art, a product of architecture, artistic handicraft, industrial art, or expressed in some other manner. Maps and other descriptive drawings or graphically or three-dimensionally executed works and computer programs shall also be considered literary works.
There shall be no copyright: 1) in laws and decrees; 2) in resolutions, stipulations and other documents which are published under the Act on the Statutes of Finland (188/2000) and the Act on the Regulations of Ministries and other Government Authorities (189/2000); 3) treaties, conventions and other corresponding documents containing international obligations; 4) decisions and statements issued by public authorities or other public bodies; 5) translations of documents referred to in paragraphs 1−4 made by or commissioned by public authorities or other public bodies.
The provisions of subsection 1 shall not apply to independent works contained in the documents referred to in the subsection.
Copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death.
Protected works in the literary, scientific and artistic domain include, in particular:
1. Literary works, such as written works, speeches, and computer programs;
2. Musical works;
3. Pantomimic works, including works of dance;
4. Artistic works, including works of architecture and of applied art and drafts of such works;
5. Photographic works, including works produced by processes similar to photography;
6. Cinematographic works, including works produced by processes similar to cinematography;
7. Illustrations of a scientific or technical nature, such as drawings, plans, maps, sketches, tables and three-dimensional representations.
Only the author’s own intellectual creations constitute works within the meaning of this Act.
Collections and database works
1. Collections of works, data or other independent elements which by reason of the selection or arrangement of the elements constitute the author’s own intellectual creation (collections) are protected as independent works without prejudice to an existing copyright or related right in one of the individual elements;
2. A database work within the meaning of this Act is a collection whose elements are arranged systematically or methodically and the individual elements are individually accessible by electronic or other means. A computer program (section 69a) used in the creation of the database work or to provide access to its elements does not constitute an integral part of the database work.
1. Acts, statutory instruments, official decrees and official notices, as well as decisions and official head notes of decisions, do not enjoy copyright protection;
2. The same applies to other official texts published in the official interest for general information purposes, subject to the proviso that the provisions concerning the prohibition of alteration and the indication of sources in section 62 (1) to (3) and section 63 (1) and (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Authors in employment or service
The provisions of this subchapter shall also apply where the author has created the work in the fulfilment of obligations resulting from an employment or service relationship unless otherwise provided in accordance with the terms or nature of the employment or service relationship.
The German 'Gesetz über Urheberrecht und verwandte Schutzrechte (UrhG)' makes several exceptions when works are used in the context of research or teaching.
Law 2121/1993, as in force for copyright issues;
Law 4481/2017 for copyright collective management issues.
Copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death.
Protected works in the literary, scientific and artistic domain include (described in the text of the law as any original intellectual literary, artistic or scientific creation, expressed in any form), notably:
· written or oral texts,
· musical compositions with or without words,
· theatrical works accompanied or unaccompanied by music,
· choreographies and pantomimes,
· audiovisual works,
· works of fine art, including drawings, works of painting and sculpture, engravings and lithographs,
· works of architecture and photographs,
· works of applied art,
· illustrations, maps and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.
Only the author’s own intellectual creations constitute works within the meaning of this Act.
Collections and database works
1. The term work also covers translations, adaptations, arrangements and other alterations of works or of expressions of folklore, as well as collections of works or collections of expressions of folklore or of simple facts and data, such as encyclopaedias and anthologies, provided the selection or the arrangement of their contents is original;
2. Databases which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author’s intellectual creation, are as such by copyright. The copyright protection shall not extend to the contents of databases and shall be without prejudice any rights subsisting in those contents themselves. Database is a collection of independent works, data or other, materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means.
3. Computer programs and their preparatory design material are literary works within the meaning of the provisions on copyright protection. Protection in accordance with this Law applies to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected under this Law. A computer program is protected if it is original in the sense that it is the author’s personal intellectual creation.
Copyright protection does not apply to:
· official texts expressive of the authority of the State, notably to legislative, administrative or judicial texts
· expressions of folklore,
· news information
· simple facts and data.
The Greek copyright law provides for several exceptions when works are used in the context of research or teaching in articles 18-28 C of law 2121/1993 see at https://www.opi.gr/en/library/law-2121-1993#ch4
Auteurswet (2017) (in Dutch).
Copyright is in force until 70 years after the death of the author.
Law on copyrights and related rights (Official gazette of the R. Macedonia No. 115/10, 140/10 и 51/11).
This law regulates the copyrights of authors over their work, among others, the rights of “….authors of data sets over their works, or related rights…”, as well as the practicing and protection of copyrights and related rights (Article 1). According to this law, related rights can also be “databases and their authors”. Related rights are regulated with the General provisions on related rights, especially in Part 6 - The rights of authors of databases (Article 118-122). The law includes the following aspects: definition of database authors; contents of the rights of the authors of databases; the scope of protection; rights and obligations of the legal users; restriction of the rights; and duration of the rights of authors of databases. The law also foresees the possibility of regulation of collective management of related rights.
The new Norway Copyright Act of 16.06.2018 amends the previous one drafted in 1961 (Act No. 2 of May 12, 1961) and consolidated in 2015. Information about the main normative aspects is available here.
Copyright is in force until 70 years after the death of the author.
Database rights are in force for 15 years after the year of production or after the year of the last update.
Research data are rarely protected by copyright, but more often it may be protected by database rights.
A simple rule of thumb is that Copyright protects original works of authorship (scientific articles, books, reports, blogs) but not facts, raw data, etc. unless they are selected and arranged in an original way (cf. Lov om opphavsrett til åndsverk/2018-06-16/§2). One might think, for example, that the selection of variables or other data is unique or creative, but if your selection is motivated by rational questions or objective considerations, it is not “creative” in a copyright sense.
The Norwegian Copyright Act covers Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights), Enforcement of IP and Related Laws, IP Regulatory Body and Industrial Designs.
The Copyright owner is the author or person to whom rights have been transferred (e.g. the publisher); cf. Lov om opphavsrett til åndsverk/2018-06-16/§8.
According to §41 in Norwegian law, Database right protects databases that are the result of a substantial investment in either the obtaining, verification or presentation of its contents. This means that the investment in the creation of the contents does not give you database rights.
The database right belongs to the maker of the database, i.e. the person (natural or legal) who bears the risk of the investment. Thus, if a database is created in the course of employment, the right will belong to the employer, and not the employee(s). See Lov om opphavsrett til åndsverk/2018-06-16/§41.
§ 14 of the Norwegian Copyright Act states that laws, regulations, court decisions and other decisions by public authorities are not Copyright protected. The same applies to proposals, investigations and other statements relating to public authority exercise and has been issued by the public authority, publicly appointed council or selection or published by the public.
§ 1-4 of the Norwegian Copyright Act is an exception which allows the production of a copy for research purposes. This provision is relatively new and allows research institutions to apply to the Norwegian Ministry of Culture for the permission to produce copies for research purposes, for example, to cover special needs in language research. The condition is that the production of copies shall not lead to a proliferation in violation of the rights holder's interests and the copy of the product must otherwise conflict with the rights owner's own exploitation of the work.
The Law on Copyright and Related Rights (Official gazette of RS 104/2009, 99/2011 from 27.12.2011 and 119/2012)
Pecuniary rights shall last for the life of an author and 70 years after his/her death. The moral rights of an author shall last even after the expiration of his/her pecuniary rights. Co-authors’ pecuniary rights shall expire after 70 years elapse from the death of the author that was the last to die. Pecuniary rights concerning the work whose author is unknown (anonymous work or work under a pseudonym) shall expire after 70 years elapse from the date of its disclosure. Should its author reveal his/her identity before the expiration of such term, the pecuniary right shall last the same as if its author’s identity has been known since the date of its disclosure. Copyright on the collective works lasts for 70 years from the date of the legal publication of the work.
A work of authorship, in particular: Written works (e.g. books, brochures, articles, translations, computer programs in any form of their expression, including their preparatory design material and other); Spoken works (lectures, speeches, orations, etc.); Dramatic, dramatic-musical, choreographic and pantomime works, as well as works originating from folklore; Works of music, with or without words; Films (cinema and television); Fine artworks (paintings, drawings, sketches, graphics, sculptures, etc.); Works of architecture, applied art and industrial design; Cartographic works (geographic and topographic maps); Drawings, sketches, dummies and photographs; and The direction of a theatre play (Article 2). A collection of the works of authorship, which in view of the selection and arrangement of its integral parts, meets the requirements referred to in Article 2, (an encyclopedia, collection of works, anthology, selected works, music collection, photograph collection, graphic map, exhibition and the like), shall also be deemed a work of authorship; a collection of folk literary and artistic creations, as well as a collection of documents, court decisions and similar materials, which in view of their selection and arrangement. A collection shall also be understood to mean a database, regardless of whether it is in a mechanically or otherwise legible form, which in view of the selection and arrangement of its integral parts.
The protection of copyright shall not apply to general ideas, procedures and methods of operations or mathematical concepts as such, as well as concepts, principles and instructions included in a work of authorship; Laws, decrees and other regulations; Official materials of state bodies and bodies performing public functions; Official translations of regulations and official materials of state bodies and bodies performing public functions; Submissions and other documents presented in the administrative or court proceedings.
The Act regulates: the right of authors with respect to their works of literature, science and art (copyright); the rights of performers, producers of phonograms, film producers, broadcasting organizations, publishers and makers of databases (related rights).
As copyright works are considered in particular:
1. spoken works such as speeches, sermons, and lectures;
2. written works such as belletristic works, articles, manuals, studies, and computer programs;
3. musical works with or without words;
4. theatrical or theatrical-musical works, and works of puppetry;
5. choreographic works and works of pantomime;
6. photographic works and works produced by a process similar to photography;
7. audiovisual works;
8. works of fine art such as paintings, graphic works, and sculptures;
9. works of architecture such as sketches, plans, and built structures in the field of
architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture;
10. works of applied art and industrial design;
11. cartographic works;
12. presentations of a scientific, educational or technical nature (technical drawings, plans,
sketches, tables, expert opinions, three-dimensional representations, and other works of
The Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works (1960:729).
Copyright of a work shall subsist until the end of the seventieth year after the year in which the author deceased. If a work has two or more authors whose contributions do not constitute independent works, the copyright shall belong to the authors jointly. In that case, copyright subsists until the end of the seventieth year after the year in which the last surviving author deceased.
Anyone who has created a literary or artistic work shall have copyright in that work, regardless of whether it is:
- A fictional or descriptive representation in writing or speech;
- A computer program;
- A musical or dramatic work;
- A cinematographic work;
- A photographic work or another work of fine arts;
- A work of architecture or applied art;
- A work expressed in some other manner.
Maps and other works of a descriptive nature executed as drawings, engravings, or in a three-dimensional form, shall be considered as literary works. What is prescribed in this Act concerning computer programs shall mutatis mutandis apply also to preparatory design material for computer programs. (Act 1994:190)
Copyright does not subsist in:
- Laws and other regulations;
- Decisions by public authorities;
- Reports by Swedish public authorities;
- Official translations of texts mentioned under 1–3.
However, copyright subsists in works of the following kinds when they form part of the following documents: maps, works of drawing, painting or engraving, musical works or works of poetry. (Act 2000:92).
The Copyright, Design and Patents Act dates from 1988.
Copyright duration varies based on the type of work. For literary and artistic works it is 70 years from the end of the year of the death of creator, for sound recordings it is 50 years from date of creation and for typographical arrangements, it is 25 years from date of publication. For Crown Copyright the duration can be 50 years from the date of publication or 125 years from the date of creation.
Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes or the typographical arrangement of publications.
The UK has created various exceptions including ‘fair dealing’ and ‘non-commercial research and private study’.
Obstacles to the trans-European archiving and sharing of research data
Making research data as openly available as possible is a widely recognised goal. For researchers working on an interdisciplinary project involving several countries, it can be difficult to fully comprehend in which ways open access to research data can be legally obtained. European national laws still diverge.
A report from Knowledge Exchange (Knowledege Exchange, 2011) concludes that it will remain difficult to predict when particular files of research data are protected because of:
- Diversity in copyright protection
Even though most research data will fail to meet the criteria for copyright protection because they are not likely to be considered as “works” (they mainly concern facts), the lack of harmonisation of the criteria for copyright protection in Europe is tricky. E.g., whereas Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands have a relatively similar (higher) originality standard, the UK has a very low standard (skill, judgment, and labour) making it possible that collections of research data are easily granted full copyright protection.
- Diversity in copyright owner
If protection applies, the right holder's consent is required for sharing the data. However, the designation of the copyright owner is also different in different jurisdictions. Although in many cases the maker of the work will be considered to be the author and therefore the right holder, only Dutch and UK law designate the employer as the right holder if the work was made in the course of employment.
Licences as a way forward
Therefore, the authors conclude that to ensure that research data can be shared and reused freely licences should always be obtained from the potential rights holders. With the right licence, researchers can waive claims to any IP rights that might apply to research data that they generate in the course of publicly funded research. In the chapter 'Archiving and publishing data' we will look into 'Data licensing'.