Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Norway

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Norway relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Norway must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Norway and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from Norway, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Governing laws

Norway has been a member of the Berne Convention since 13 April 1896 and the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Act (Act No. 2 of May 12, 1961, relating to Copyright in Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works) (consolidated version of 2015) as the main copyright law enacted by the legislature of Norway.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]

General rules

Under the Act No. 2 of 1961, consolidated version of 2015,

  • Copyright lasts for the author's life and 70 years after the expiry of his death.[2/1961-2015 §40]
  • For the co-authored works, copyright lasts for 70 years from the death of the last surviving author.[2/1961-2015 §40]
  • Copyright in cinematographic works lasts for 70 years from the end of the year of death of which the last survivor of the main director, author of the screenplay, dialogue writer and composer of the music that is created for use in filming.[2/1961-2015 §40]
  • For work in which both words and music are provided for the purpose of the work, copyright last for 70 years from the end of the year of death of the last survivor of the lyricist and the composer.[2/1961-2015 §40]
  • For anonymous works, copyright shall subsist for 70 years after the end of the year when the work was first published.[2/1961-2015 §41]
  • When someone for the first time lawfully makes available to the public a work which has not been made public by the end of the copyright protection period, they have the same rights as a copyright holder for 25 years after the end of the year the work was first made available to the public.[2/1961-2015 §41a]
  • Photographs that are not considered artistic works are protected until no less than 15 years after the photographer's death and no less than 50 years after publication. The distinction between work of art ("fotografiske verk") and other photos ("fotografiske bilder") is not clearly described, but it is believed that the photographer should add something to the mere depiction to make it a work of art.[3] Under the former photo law, protection ended 25 years after creation, provided that more than 15 years had passed since the photographer's death or the photographer is unknown. The image is in the public domain if this older term already had expired as of 29 June 1995.[4]
  • The author of a commissioned portrait (including a photograph) cannot exercise their copyright without the consent of the customer.[2/1961-2015 §39j]
  • Photos of people may not be published without their consent unless either a) the image illustrates a current event of interest the general public, or b) the person is clearly not the main subject of the image (i.e. passers-by may be included unless they fill an unreasonable amount of the image) or c) the image depicts a gathering, an outdoor parade or something which is of interest to the general public. This is part of the Copyright Act, and thus might affect the right to publish an image under a free license, as the person depicted retains the right to refuse use of the image.
  • Recordings of performances are copy-protected for 50 years.[2/1961-2015 §42]

Not protected

Under the Act No. 2 of 1961, consolidated version of 2015, there is no copyright protection for laws, regulations, court decisions and other decisions by public authorities. The same applies to proposals, reports and other statements relating to public administration that are the responsibility of public authorities, publicly appointed councils or committees, or released by the government. Similarly, official translations of such texts are not protected.[2/1961-2015 §9]

Copyright tags

COM:TAG Norway

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Statens vegvesen}} – for Norwegian road signs from the website of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen)[5]
  • {{PD-Norway50}} – Norwegian photos not considered to be "works of art" 50 years after they were created, provided that the author died more than 15 years ago or is unknown
  • {{PD-Norway70}} – Images considered to be "works of art" become public domain 70 years after the author's death or publication if the author is unknown.
  • {{Norwegian coat of arms}} – Norwegian coats of arms
  • {{Kirkeinfo}} – photos from the media database of the Church of Norway.[6]
  • {{PD-NorwayGov}} – part of a decision or a statement by an authority or a public body of Norway
  • {{}} – images without a byline from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute


COM:CUR Norway

See also: Commons:Currency

X mark.svg Not OK Norwegian currency is protected by copyright. The Bank of Norway, which administers the rights of the artists, states: "Use of illustrations of Norwegian coins and banknotes must not violate the rights of the authors". This means, among other things, that the original pattern may not be manipulated. As they are non-derivative, images of Norwegian currency may not be used unless it is in the public domain due to age (70 years after end of year of author's death). When using images of Norwegian currency under fair use rules on other projects, see the Norges Bank Guidelines for the use of Norwegian banknote and coin designs for other conditions that apply, such as size regulations, maximum resolution etc.[7]

Freedom of panorama

COM:FOP Norway

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

Symbol OK.svgOK for buildings only {{FoP-Norway}}

Under the Act No. 2 of 1961, consolidated version of 2015,

  • Works of art and photographic works may also be depicted when they are permanently located in or near a public place or thoroughfare. However, this shall not apply when the work is clearly the main motif and the reproduction is exploited commercially. Buildings may be freely depicted.[2/1961-2015 §24]

Since Wikimedia Commons requires that all images be free for commercial use, buildings are the only copyrighted works in Norway for which the Freedom of Panorama exception applies for Commons.

Threshold of originality

COM:TOO Norway

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

Not protected

Two-minute theatre play.[8]


See also


  1. a b Norway Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-13.
  2. Copyright Act (Act No. 2 of May 12, 1961, relating to Copyright in Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works) (consolidated version of 2015) (2015). Retrieved on 2018-11-13.
  3. Gisle Hannemyr. Lommejuss omkring digitale medier.
  4. Lov om endringer i åndsverkloven m.m. (Act on changes to the Intellectual Property Rights Act), (in Norwegian), accessed 19 August 2014.
  5. Statens vegvesen (State Highways Authority) (in Norwegian). Retrieved on 2019-03-29.
  6. Den norske kirke (in Norwegian). Den norske kirke (Church of Norway). Retrieved on 2019-03-29.
  7. Guidelines for the use of Norwegian banknote and coin designs. Norges Bank. Retrieved on 2019-03-29.
  8. "Huldra i Kjosfossen" - om åndsverkslovens krav til verkshøyde (in Norwegian). Norges Høyesteretts (21 September 2007).
  9. Jul i Blåfjell. Retrieved on 2019-03-29.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer