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Copyright: Introduction

Learn more about copyright

Research and copyright law

Article by Morten Rosenmeier

About this guide

Remember that the responsibility for complying with the applicable rules on copyright rests with the user of a given material. The information in this guide is provided as inspiration and are neither constituted of or a substitute for personal legal advice.

Introduction to copyright at RUC

Copyright is a right that is bestowed upon an original work such as a book, photo, song, computer software, etc. It is both an ethical type of right where the author must be credited when their work is used, and the other right is commercial which ensures the author the right to sell, copy, and distribute their work with the aim of economic profit.

Expiration of copyright
The copyright of a work expires 70 years after the death of the author. The rules of “Droit Moral” applies after 70 years which means that the author continues to have the right to be credited when their work is used and that the work cannot be used in a violating or infringing way.

When are you allowed to use works without permission?
In some cases, you are allowed to use and share copyright protected works without asking for permission first. You can, to a reasonable extent, cite books, articles, and such. Roskilde University has an agreement with Copydan which manages the copyrights of a large number of authors. This agreement means you can, to some extent, use printed materials and pictures for teaching, projects and assignments that are linked to RUC.

The library’s e-resources and copyright
The library’s electronic materials (such as e-books, databases, and electronic articles) are not included in the Copydan agreement. These have other negotiated license agreements which describe exactly how they are allowed to be used. You can, however, always legally deep link these materials and share them with others in this manner. 

Marco Bagni, LostConversation,

What are the criteria for quoting others correctly?

  • A quote should be limited to what is strictly necessary
  • You can only use a minimal part of the work you cite from
  • The quote needs to have a purpose in your own work
  • It should only play a smaller part in your own work
  • Layout-wise, it needs to be clear where the quote begins and ends in your work
  • A quote should always be referenced: you need to include where the quote is from and who the author is

You can use a quote from a work without asking the author permission first if the rules above are met.