What should I be aware of?

General information

Copyright protects literary and artistic works. The protection implies that the right holders themselves have the right to control the use of their work. Copyright helps to make a living from creative work.


The right holder’s rights
The Danish Copyright Act contains rules on the protection and use of literary and artistic works of all kinds. The rules ensure that e.g. authors, composers, filmmakers and others who create a work get protection for the result of their creative work.

As a creator of a work, you have a number of rights in relation to others' use of your literary or artistic work, whether available online or in physical form.

Generally, the person who has created a literary or artistic work has copyright to the work. This means that the author or right holder (e.g. a contracting party or heir) has the exclusive right to produce copies of the work and to make it available to the public until 70 years after the death of the creator. If you want to use a literary or artistic work in a way that is covered by the author's exclusive right, it usually requires permission, unless it is permitted by a special rule in the Danish Copyright Act.

The Danish Copyright Act also provides protection for e.g. performers (singers, musicians, actors, etc.) and producers of sound and film recordings through the so-called "neighboring rights".

Copyright also applies to the Internet
Now that many artistic and literary works are available on the Internet, it can be good to know that copyright applies regardless of whether the works are in physical or digital form. It is therefore far from certain that you are allowed to use other people's artistic works on the internet as you would like - even if it is freely available. Examples of artistic and literary works on the Internet that are covered by copyright can be blogs, e-books, images, movies, music and videos.

When you download, stream or podcast a work – e.g. an e-book, a movie or a piece of music - usually a digital copy of the work is being made on your computer. This applies whether the entire work is retrieved from one website or whether the work is downloaded in small parts from several locations using the so-called torrent files and peer-to-peer programs.

Before such a copy can be legally made, consent must be given from the right holders. Consent will e.g. be given when right holders have allowed their works to be offered through one of the many legal services available on the Internet.

If you want to avoid ending up on an illegal website the next time you want to see a good movie or series, you can use FilmFinder to search for the specific movie or series. FilmFinder will present for you with legal services that offer the specific content you would like to see.

Copying for personal non-commercial use
The copyright holder has the exclusive right to make copies (reproduction) of his work and to make it available to others. As a rule, copying and reproduction requires permission from the copyright holder. This right applies irrespective of how the work is copied or made available.

However, the interests of right holders must be weighed against other interests. Therefore, the Danish Copyright Act contains rules that limit the rights of the creator. These rules have different purposes, but are basically justified by the interests of society and citizens having the work available.

An example of this is the opportunity to copy for personal use, which constitutes a central limitation in the creator’s exclusive rights. In broad terms, this means that you are allowed to make a copy for yourself. However, it is not allowed to copy for personal use, if the source you copy from is illegal. That would be the case, if a movie is available in a file sharing network without the consent of the copyright holder.


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Different areas different rules

Movies, series, music and literature are everywhere on the internet and it can be tempting to cut loose in the many opportunities. But an uncritical use of cultural content on the internet can affect both yourself and the artist behind. You also risk doing something illegal. See here what is allowed within the various areas.



Good advice
If you are unsure whether the page you wish to stream or download from is legal or illegal, you can ask yourself the following;

  • Is it clearly stated you is behind the website - name, address, telephone number, etc.?
  • Is it stated om the website whether an agreement was made with the right holders regarding the clearance of rights and payment?
  • Is there a reasonable relation between the price of e.g. streaming and the normal market price for the products?

The best advice is to use your common sense. It will often be easy to figure out if a website is legal and whether the content you want to stream or download is made available on the internet with the right holder's consent.


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