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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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.
You are allowed to download music, movies, TV and radio programs for personal use without asking the copyright holders for permission, if what you download has been made legally available on the internet. Personal use means downloading for use by you or your household. Downloading music, movies, TV and radio programs for use by others, including friends, acquaintances, colleagues and family, who do not live together with you, is not allowed.
It is never allowed to download music, movies, TV and radio programs that have been made illegally available on the Internet without the right holder's permission - even if it is for personal use.
Anyone who has created a work in the form of music, film, television or a radio program has copyright to the work and thus an exclusive right to copy and make the work available to others. Copying and making works protected by copyright available via the Internet, without permission of the copyright holder, is therefore illegal. It is also known as illegal download (file sharing) and streaming.
Illegal file sharing (download / upload)
By illegal file sharing we mean uploading and / or downloading copyright protected material to or from the Internet without permission from the copyright holder. This is clearly forbidden by the Danish Copyright Act. Upload involves making available to others, while downloading involves storing a copy of the music, movie, TV or radio program on your computer, which is similar to copying. Both are illegal unless permission is given by the copyright holder.
Streaming means that content is transferred to the user without a permanent copy being stored locally with the user. It is legal to stream from the internet, if what is being streamed has been made legally available on the internet.
Fortunately, there are many streaming services that offer legal content;
In competition with the legal offers, there are also players who distribute illegal content through illegal streaming services. According to the Danish Copyright Act, uploading (making available) music, movies, TV and radio programs to such sites is not allowed without the permission of the copyright holder. And it is also illegal to stream such content which has been made available on such sites without the permission of the right holders.
Computer games and software are works that are protected by copyright law, just like movies and music are. This means that the person who created a work in the form of software or a computer game has copyright to the work and thus an exclusive right to copy and to make the work available to others. This also applies in relation to modern technology such as digital copying and making available on the Internet.
It is never allowed to download computer games or software that is illegally posted on the Internet without the permission of the right holder - even if it is for personal use.
Copying computer games or software
The rules on copying computer games or software are different from the rules that apply to copying music and movies.
As opposed to the rules on copying movies and music, you should not, as a general rule, make digital copies of computer programs/ software for personal without permission from the right holders.
You are only allowed to copy computer programs/ software to the extent necessary for the intended use of the computer program. This means that a computer program must be copied onto a computer, including downloaded, when copying is required to use the program. However, it is allowed to make a backup of the program. A backup must only be used as a back-up copy – i.e. it can only be used as a replacement for the original in case it is lost.
You can find more information about the rules for use and copying of computer games and software on the website of the Danish Ministry of Culture (in Danish).
You are allowed to download e-books and audiobooks for personal use without asking the right holders for permission, if what you download is legally posted on the Internet. Personal use means downloading for use by you or your household. Downloading e-books and audiobooks for use by others - including friends, acquaintances, co-workers and family who do not live in the same household as you - is not allowed.
It is never allowed to download e-books and audiobooks that are illegally made available on the Internet without the permission of the right holder - even if it is for personal use.
Anyone who has created a literary work has copyright to the work and thus an exclusive right to copy and to make the work available to others. This also applies in relation to modern technology such as digital copying and making available on the Internet.
The rules for downloading and streaming e-books and audiobooks are similar to those of music and movies.
At Share With Care you can see a selection of legal online services that offer e-books and audio books that you can buy, borrow or subscribe to.
Copying of books and other texts
When copying physical literary works, it is not allowed to have professional help from print shops (or other shops with commercial purposes).
If you want to make a copy of a literary work – e.g. a book - but you do not have the necessary technical equipment, such as a photocopy machine, please note that a special rule applies to the use of others’ technical equipment. You are not allowed to use any technical equipment provided in a public place, when it is made available for commercial purposes. This means that in general you are not allowed to copy a literary work on photocopy machines made available in copy shops, grocery stores or other similar places - whether you pay for the copy or not. You are, however, allowed to make the copy on photocopy machines made available at libraries and other public institutions, as they are not made available for commercial purposes. You are e.g. allowed to make the copy on a friend's private photocopy machine, as it is not made available in a public place.
You can read more about the rules for digital and analog copying of books and other texts
on the website of the Danish Ministry of Culture (in Danish).
The manufacturing and sale of unauthorized smart cards and cards haring that gives illegal access to coded television signals is a criminal offense. The prohibition also applies to private use of such equipment.
Smart cards and card sharing / Illegal access to TV channels
The Act on Radio and Television Operations protects providers of coded radio or television signals against equipment that can provide free access to such payment-based services. Providers of on-demand services are included and thus protected by the law.
The Act states that it is illegal to manufacture, import, convert, possess or modify decoders or other decoding equipment, if the purpose is to allow unauthorized access to the content of a coded radio or television program. Advertising or similar of such equipment is also not permitted. The prohibition thus applies to both activities that can make decoding equipment illegally available to the users, but also to the users’ actual unauthorized use of such devices.
The regulation will typically affect the illegal use of unauthorized decoding equipment - such as unauthorized smart cards - that provide illegal access to pay television. But also receiving an encryption code through card sharing services via the Internet falls under the prohibition.
If you are unsure whether the page you wish to stream or download from is legal or illegal, you can ask yourself the following;
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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