Frequently Asked Questions | National Library of Estonia

Frequently Asked Questions

In which cases is it allowed to use a work under copyright protection without the author's authorisation?

It is allowed to use a work under copyright protection without the author's authorisation for the purposes of personal use or for scientific and educational purposes in accordance with § 19 of the Copyright Act.

What should I do if I want to publish a work protected with copyright?

In this case, the licence of the author, their representative organization or the rights holder is required. The Estonian Authors' Society represents musicians, artists and audio-visual authors in Estonia (film directors, screenwriters, cameramen, artists).  Writers and photographers do not have their own representative organization. The performers (actors, singers, musicians, dancers) are represented by the Estonian Performers Association and the phonogram producers by the Estonian Association of Phonogram Producers.

Should I refer to the National Library when using a work?

When using a work belonging in the National Library collection for other purposes than personal use, please refer to: "Source: National Library of Estonia". When publishing a work in print, it is good practice for the publisher to assign one copy of the work to the National Library in addition to the legal deposit according to the Legal Deposit Copy Act.

When using a work that is in the DIGAR digital archive, please use the reference: "Source: DIGAR digital archive"

To what extent can a work be used without the author's permission?

A work can be used for teaching and scientific research for the purpose of illustration to the extent justified by the purpose and on the condition that such use is not carried out for commercial purposes. You can also copy a work to the extent justified by the purpose, for example, a magazine article, a table of contents of a book and some chapters. Copying an entire book is generally not considered to be in the extent justified by the purpose.

Which works could not be copied?

Without the author's consent, it is prohibited to copy notes in reprographic form, works of visual art of limited edition, electronic databases and computer programs (§ 18 section 2 of the Copyright Act). Audio- visual works and sound recordings are also not copied in the National Library.

What works are protected with copyright?

Copyright covers any original results in the literary, artistic or scientific domain which are expressed in an objective form and can be perceived and reproduced in this form either directly or by means of technical devices.

  • ideas, images, notions, theories, processes, systems, methods, concepts, principles, discoveries, inventions, and other results of intellectual activities which are described, explained or expressed in any other manner in a work,

  • works of folklore,

  • legislation and administrative documents (acts, decrees, regulations, statutes, instructions, directives) and official translations thereof,

  • court decisions and official translations thereof,

  • official symbols of the state and insignia of organisations (flags, coats of arms, orders, medals, badges, etc.),

  • news of the day,

  • facts and data,

  • ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its user interfaces.

Thus, anyone can freely use works of folklore, legislation and administrative documents, court rulings and their official translations. It should be borne in mind that unofficial translations of legislation are subject to protection of copyright as well as draft proposals.

What am I allowed to do with a work that’s term of protection of copyright has expired?

The term of protection of copyright is the life of the author and seventy years after his or her death. The term of copyright expires on 1 January of the year following the author's death or the year after the publication or creation of the work. The work will be in public domain after the term of the protection of copyright.

And it can be used freely by anyone except for publishing it under their own name. Note that the work may have co-authors (translators, illustrators, etc.) who still may have rights.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons offers one of the most commonly known terms for license agreements (6 different license agreements in total) that allow the work to be freely used under certain conditions. Works with such licenses are identified by their respective icons. These licenses are often used for works on the Internet, but also for works in print media.


See also:

Copyright act

Information Society Directive

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works