Norges Bank shall promote an efficient payment system, cf. § 1 of the Norges Bank Act. For cash to function as an effective means of payment, the public must have confidence that cash represents a valid means of payment. Norges Bank therefore has a responsibility to design Norwegian notes and coins so that it is difficult to copy them and easy to distinguish them from counterfeits.
The guidelines for the reproduction of banknote and coin designs are drawn up with view to preventing the risk of confusing them with genuine banknotes and coins. Protecting public confidence in money and further specified documents are otherwise provided for in Chapter 37 of the Penal Code.
Furthermore, the design on Norwegian banknotes and coins is subject to copyright protection pursuant to Act No. 2 of 12 May 1961 relating to Copyright in Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works, etc. (Copyright Act). The guidelines are designed to promote compliance with the law in this area. Any form of modification in design will in principle be in conflict with the law, without the prior consent of the originator.
The guidelines for the reproduction of Norwegian banknote and coin designs shall contribute to ensuring that:
- the reproduction is not confused with genuine banknotes and coin
- the originator is protected
The guidelines apply whether the entire banknote or coin design is reproduced or just a part, irrespective of purpose or method.
The guidelines do not apply to Norges Bank’s information and communications activities.
2. Provisions relating to the risk of confusion
The guidelines set out below in 2.1 and 2.2 express Norges Bank’s view as to how banknotes and coin designs should be reproduced in order to prevent the risk of confusing a reproduction with genuine banknotes and coins and to prevent violation of §367 on counterfeiting and §369 prohibiting the distribution of objects closely resembling money of the Norwegian Penal Code. Any decisive interpretation and application of the provisions of the Penal Code will be determined by the prosecuting authority and the courts.
2.1 Banknote designs
The reproduction of banknote designs must be done with view to safeguarding the status and role of banknotes in society and in a manner that prevents the reproduction being confused with an entire or just a part of a genuine banknote.
a) Reproduction in printed media:
The reproduction of a banknote in printed media must be in accordance with the following guidelines in order to avoid the risk of confusion (all the conditions must be satisfied):
- Banknote designs must not be reproduced as a "banknote" with an obverse and a reverse. If the banknote design is reproduced on one side, the other side must not in any way resemble a banknote design.
- The reproduction of banknotes must not be the same size as actual notes. If a reproduction is smaller, it shall at most be 50% as long and 50% as wide as the original. If a reproduction is larger, it shall at least be 150% as long and 150% as wide as the original. These conditions also apply to the reproduction of just a part of a banknote design.
- Producing data files with the intention of reproducing a banknote design with a resolution higher than 72 dpi is not permitted.
b) Reproduction in electronic media:
The reproduction of a banknote in electronic media must be in accordance with the following guidelines in order to avoid the risk of confusion (all the conditions must be satisfied):
- Data files (production or storage) for reproducing entire or just a part of a banknote must not have a resolution higher than 72 dpi.
- The banknote must have the word "SPECIMEN" overprinted diagonally across the reproduction so that the text covers not less than 50% of the length of the banknote and the alphabetic characters must be not less than 15% of the height of the banknote.
2.2 Coin designs
The reproduction of coin designs must be done with a view to safeguarding the status and role of coins in society and in a manner that prevents confusion of the reproduction with an entire or just a part of a genuine coin:
- The reproduction of the design on the side of the coin where the value is indicated must not be placed on a product made of metal or other material that can be confused with metal.
- The reproduction of a design on the side where the value is not indicated may be placed on a product made of metal or a metal-like product if
- “SPECIMEN” is marked in clear (conspicuous) print on the product, or
- the product is produced in a different size in relation to the original design of the coin. The size must be less than 50% of the diameter of the original coin or larger than 150% of the diameter of the original coin.
3. Provisions relating to copyright
The design on Norwegian banknotes and coins is subject to copyright protection pursuant to the Copyright Act. The copyright is owned partly by Norges Bank and partly by the artist. The artist transfers the right to use the design (motif) to Norges Bank for the central bank’s ordinary use of the banknote and coin design. The residual copyright, i.e. the right to use the work of art (motif) in another context, is retained by the artist. The copyright expires 70 years after the artist’s death.
The right to modify or use the entire or just a part of the banknote and coin design in a context other than ordinary use by the central bank requires prior consent by the owner of the copyright. The Norwegian Visual Artists Copyright Society (BONO) handles copyright matters on behalf of visual artists.
For more information on the use of banknote and coin design, contact Norges Bank, tel. +47 22 31 60 00.