In Sweden, basic copyright provisions are similar to those of other continental European countries, although with some differences. The basic legal provision is the Swedish Copyright Law of Literary and Artistic Works (Upphovsrättslagen, Swedish Code of Statutes 1960:729). Important developments concerning authors’ rights have been linked to the implementation of EU-directives within the copyright field, aimed at harmonizing and facilitating the single market. Sweden has implemented the following EU-directives:
- rental and lending rights;
- satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission; and
- harmonization of the duration of rights protection (70 years after the death of an author).
Legal measures against copyright infringement have been intensified in the last two decades. The digitalization of production, access and consumption of protected works and performances are continuously producing new possibilities and new problems. Since 1998, possessors of legal rights in the music field have been awarded copyright-based financial compensation for the losses that have been caused by private copying of phonograms, in a model originally intended to compensate for music being copied to blank cassette tapes. Revenue is allocated to creators and performers by their respective collecting societies. Reimbursement to composers and musicians has also been introduced for public lending of phonograms and to composers for public lending of sheet music.
For authors, translators, and illustrators, a system for reimbursement has existed since the 1950’s. Reimbursement for authors is allocated by the Swedish Authors’ Fund (Författarfonden). Originators of literary works (authors, translators and illustrators) are compensated for lending in public libraries in accordance with the Government Statute on The Swedish Authors’ Fund (1962:652). A portion of this compensation is given to the individual Originator in direct proportion to the number of public loans of his / her work, while another portion is transferred to the Swedish Authors’ Fund, which awards grants and scholarships in support of authors, translators, playwrights, and journalists in the field of arts. Since 1985, the size of government funds allocated to the Swedish Authors’ Fund, i.e. the Library Fee, is decided in agreements between, on the one hand, the government and, on the other hand, the Swedish Writers’ Association, the Swedish Illustrators Association, and the Swedish Photographers’ Association.