Information on copyright

With your registration on card2brain, you undertook to respect copyright and related property rights of third parties. The copyright law is not quite easy to understand, reason why we compiled the most important principles and put together some guidelines for you.


A copyright infringement can only occur once you disseminate your learning contents, that is, if you create public sets of flashcards or unlock private sets of flashcards for other users. As long as you create private sets of flashcards for your own studies alone, you cannot infringe any copyrights.

As a teacher, pupil, student, or lecturer, you benefit from copyright privileges insofar as you may also disseminate in fact copyright-protected contents such as pictures or charts without approval by the author under certain conditions (cf. "Limitations on copyright in an educational environment").

The following guidelines are not exhaustive and see themselves as a basic code of good practice.

It is your own responsibility not to infringe copyright. We do not take any responsibility or liability for losses or damage resulting from copyright infringements. In case of doubt, we recommend to refer to further legal documents or a legal person.

Guidelines: How not to infringe any rights of third parties?

  • Create private sets of flashcards and don't unlock them for anybody else.
  • When creating public sets of flashcards or unlocking private decks for others, always assume that any basic material (texts, pictures, charts, graphs, etc.) you have not created yourself is copyright-protected.
  • Mark all texts taken from copyright-protected publications as citation and indicate the source/authorship. Here's how to cite correctly:
  • Limit yourself to a minimum number of quotations and write your flashcards mainly in your own words.
  • Use unprotected contents (no approval required):
  • Use contents under a Creative Commons Licence and respect the licensing terms.
  • Use pictures, charts, diagrams, etc. created by yourself.
  • Get the author's written consent before publishing copyright-protected pictures, charts, graphs, etc. under a Creative Commons licence.
  • Don't use any pictures you took from people who can be clearly identified without having their written permission.

What kind of contents are copyright-protected?

  • All pieces of work (e.g. pictures, texts, charts, graphs, etc.) achieving a (high) level of creativity (also degree of creativity, level of originality) are protected. The term "level of creativity" requires a personal intellectual effort of individual character that clearly stands out of the ordinary, common or usually performed.
  • A piece of work is protected by copyright as soon as it has been created. Even if it is not labelled with "Copyright", "all rights reserved", or ©, you have to assume that it has a copyright protection.

What kind of contents are not protected by copyright?

  • All pieces of work which don't achieve a (high) level of creativity. In our context, these could be for example single pieces of vocabulary as used in everyday life.
    Although the words themselves are not affected by copyright, an ascertained collection of vocabulary could be rated by case-law as worth being copyright-protected for their choice, order and arrangement.
  • Scientific evidence
    Even though scientific knowledge itself is not affected by copyright, its specific account is. That is why you should only quote scientific pieces of work in extracts at the most.
  • Pieces of work released into the public domain referred to as CC0. CC stands for the Creative Commons licensing system, and 0 tells you that the author has resigned all possible property rights.
    There are several Creative Commons licenses. Not all of them allow for implicit use of the respective piece of work or parts of it. The particular licence model has to be exactly respected (cf. "Licenses for free contents").
  • Pieces of work whose author died at least 70 years ago.
  • Official publications of public authorities such as legal Codes, court decisions, or regulations.

Limitations on copyright in an educational environment

Teachers and students at schools and institutions of higher education benefit from copyright privileges. They are legally allowed to disseminate copyright-protected contents such as pictures and charts even without consent under certain conditions.

This applies…

  • if it is only a matter of using parts of a copyright-protected piece of work,
  • if the group of addressees is limited to teachers, pupils, students, or lecturers of a class or seminar group,
  • and if the use of a work bears on the teaching or the lesson.

Related property rights: the right to one's own image

Every person has 'a right to their own image'. This means you are not allowed to publish or disseminate any pictures of people who can be clearly identified without their approval. For the consent to be legally binding, it is best to get it in writing.

There are some exceptions to the right to one's own image. However, if you stick to the basic rule, you will always be on the safe side.

Image and text licences (Creative Commons)

You will find very many images under a Creative Commons licence you can use freely, especially on the Internet (e.g. on Wikipedia). In order not to unintentionally infringe the licensing terms when you upload these kinds of pictures, you can choose or pass on the licence suitable for every picture.

You can also put pictures, charts, graphs etc. created by yourself under a Creative Commons licence. Thus, it is up to you to set the conditions under which you pieces of work may be disseminated.

If you respect third parties' rights when creating a set of flashcards, you can put the whole text contents of the newly assembled work under a Creative Commons licence and determine the conditions for the dissemination and editing of your text work.

You can find the range of available licence models for images and texts here.