What is copyright?

A creator of a publication is the owner of the ideas it contains. He owns the intellectual property and the right to distribute those ideas: copyright.

“Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a literary, scientific or artistic work, or of his/her assignees, to publish and reproduce it, subject to the restrictions imposed by law.” (

What is and isn’t allowed?

You have to respect the rights of the creator. If you want to use someone else’s ideas, you have to ask permission.

But you don’t always have to ask permission. Sometimes, you automatically have permission if you clearly state whose thought or idea it is. For example,:

  • You may use short passages from other texts in your own work: Citing
  • You may retell short passages from other texts in your own words and use them in your own text: Paraphrasing
  • More and more authors make their material freely available: See Nice to know:

Creative Commons


Please note! Copyright also applies to images. You may not just use other people’s images. You also need the permission of the maker to use images. And you must mention the source.

Your own copyright?

If you have published your own text, you own the copyright. Others may use your text, but only under certain conditions.

You automatically own the copyright when your text is published. Your name must appear clearly in the text, but the use of the copyright symbol © is not compulsory.. See more: