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Even if you are allowed to distribute material freely, you need to be keep track of what you’re doing

There’s material online that’s available under what’s known as a CC licence. With this, the originator agrees to allow the work to be distributed freely as long as you make it clear who created the work. You have to indicate who took a photo, for example. Always check the rules!

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Photo: Shutterstock.

  • Always find out who owns the rights

Just because you find material online doesn’t mean you can use it freely.

Photos that come up when you search on Google aren’t owned by Google. These are just photos that Google finds when searching metadata.

If you find a photo in a Google search, you need to check who owns the rights to the photo and the conditions that allow you to use it – if, indeed, you’re allowed to use it at all.

A lot of what’s created in the form of photos, videos, texts, etc. is protected by copyright law. Essentially, whoever created something also has an exclusive right to that material.

  • There are things you can use without asking

There are things that you can use legally without having to ask for permission first.

There’s material online that’s available under what’s known as a Creative Commons licence (CC licence) Länk till annan webbplats.. You can read more about CC licences here Länk till annan webbplats..

A lot of material today is made available under CC licences. A CC licence is a licence where the originator agrees that the work can be distributed freely, as long as the originator is credited as the creator of the work. So you have to say who took a photo, for example.

  • Symbols can help you

Obviously, there may be variants of the CC licence.

Some originators want their work to be distributed, but others require you not to use it for commercial purposes, such as advertising, or demand that the work isn’t adapted or altered.

These symbols have been developed to make it easier to use CC, and to avoid you having to read complicated text describing how material can (and can’t) be used:

symboler CC-licens

The symbols replace the text of the agreement with the conditions that need to be met for the use of the work to be covered by the licence.

There are also other licences that allow you to access copyrighted material, and you can develop the material as well (if you comply with the conditions of the licence).

  • Open access means anyone can download it

Open access (OA) means that scientific papers are published and freely available online.

Open access means that anyone is allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print and use the texts in a way that doesn’t breach copyright law.

  • Open source code is available for software developers

Open source code refers to licences where the source code is available for anyone to use, read, modify and distribute.

This allows software developers to use software code developed by others in their own projects without paying licence fees to the owner of the code. They can also adapt the code to their users’ needs without being hindered by copyright.

Such open source licences frequently require software developed on the basis of open source code to also be made available under the same open source licence.

More from the Swedish Media Council

The Swedish Media Council works to empower children and young people as informed media users and protect them from harmful media influences. Here are some more tips!