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Copyright of standards


All standards, handbooks and other publications are protected by copyright. A limited number of rights are given to users when they purchase a publication such as a standard.

Failure to respect copyright and intellectual property may jeopardize the development of future standards. It also may put the standards at risk of tampering and/or inadvertent modifications.

Who holds the copyright?

Finnish Standards Association SFS holds the copyright of SFS standards, SFS handbooks and other SFS publications. The copyright may be shared together with SFS and other organisations. The copyright of CEN publications is held by CEN (European Committee for Standardization), the copyright of ISO publications by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the copyright of IEC standards by IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

As a member of CEN and ISO, SFS has the right to e.g. distribute and otherwise exploit European and International standards.

All publications are protected

All standards, such as SFS, SFS-EN, SFS-EN ISO, SFS-ISO, EN, IEC, ISO and handbooks are protected by copyright. In addition, other publications like technical reports (TR), technical specifications (TS), draft standards, supplements, corrigenda and prestandards are protected by copyright.

Reproduction and copies of standards

A limited number of rights are given to customers when they purchase a standard.

Permission is always required to reproduce material for professional purposes such as reproducing standards or parts of standards in books, catalogues or in computer software. According to the Finnish Copyright Act, material can be copied for private use only.

Extracting parts of a standard for inclusion in the organization's internal documentation, such as user’s guide or manual, permission can be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Customers wanting to have supplementary paper copies of the standards they have bought, for example for distribution at meetings, ought to pay additional fees.

Internal use only

Standards or their copies must not, in any form, be given to parties other than the customer who has purchased the standard or has a license to use them through SFS Online service.

For example, copies of standards shall not be provided as an appendix to a call for tenders, an offer or possible marketing material. In addition, standards shall not be published in Intranet or Internet without a written consent of Finnish Standards Association. When standards are used through SFS Online service, the rights of use are described in a license agreement which the customer has to accept.

Storing electronic copies of standards on the company Intranet for internal use is allowed if the organization has a license from SFS to do so. In addition, a license fee is charged for intranet use.


Embedding digital watermarks is a technique to identify the rightful licensee. The watermark displays the customer company, and if the standards is downloaded as a pdf, the download date on each page of the standard.
Additional information

For additional information please contact:

Finnish Standards Association SFS
Malminkatu 34, P.o.Box 130
FI-00101 Helsinki
tel. +358 9 149 9331

In Finland, Kopiosto is the common copyright organization of e.g. publishers. Kopiosto administers the licensing of copyrighted works, provides information on copyright issues and distributes remunerations to copyrights owners.

Kopiosto ry
Hietaniemenkatu 2
FI-00100 Helsinki
tel. +358 9 406 197