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Copying of banknotes
The Riksbank often receives enquiries regarding the regulations on the copying (reproduction) of banknotes.
 
The Riksbank can neither approve nor reject a request for permission to copy notes.
There is always a risk that a copied note may be used for fraudulent purposes, i.e. as forged money.
 
According to the Swedish Penal Code it is illegal to counterfeit banknotes, use counterfeit banknotes or generally distribute something that can easily be mistaken for a valid banknote; see Chapter 14, Sections 6, 9 and 10 of the Swedish Penal Code.
 
There are no Swedish regulations specifying how a banknote may be copied without the act of copying falling within the provisions of the Penal Code.
 
It may be of interest, however, to compare the Swedish situation with regulations elsewhere, particularly as regards the copying of euro banknotes. The ECB’s decision ECB/2003/4 includes rules that apply for the member states in the euro area and that also resemble in some measure the existing practice in many other countries. It is the Riksbank’s view that similar principles could be used to guide assessments of whether the copying of a Swedish note can be considered acceptable or not.
 
In the Riksbank’s opinion there cannot be any palpable risk that the general public would mistake copies with genuine banknotes issued by the Riksbank if
the copy only reproduces one side of a banknote, on condition that the dimensions of the copy are at least 125% of both the length and the width or at most 75% of both the length and width of the note according to the dimensions specified for each note in the Swedish Code of Statutes,

the copy reproduces both sides of a banknote, on condition that the dimensions of the copy are at least 200 % of both the length and the width or at most 50 % of both the length and width of the note according to the dimensions specified for each note in the Swedish Code of Statutes,

the copy only reproduces part of either the face or the reverse of a note, on condition that this part is less than one-third of the original size of the note's face or reverse side,

the copy is made from material that is entirely unlike paper and that looks considerably different from the material used for banknotes,

non-physical copies that are made available electronically on websites or in some other way, on condition
- that the word SPECIMEN is written diagonally across the copy, that the length of the word SPECIMEN is at least 75 % of the length of the copy and the height of the word SPECIMEN at least 15 % of the width of the copy and that it has been done in an opaque colour that contrasts with the dominant colour on the note, and
 
- that the resolution of the electronic reproduction in its original size does not exceed 72 dpi.
 
The Riksbank wishes to emphasise that the above represents the Bank's view of the possible circumstances under which a copied banknote would not contravene the provisions of the Swedish Penal Code. However, the Riksbank does not have the authority to make decisions on such matters. Ultimately, a public prosecutor is responsible for deciding whether there are grounds to initiate legal proceedings for breach of the provisions of the Penal Code, and a court of law for determining whether the reproduction of a banknote is a punishable offence.

If you have any questions on the regulations covering reproduction of Swedish banknotes, please contact by e-mail: reproduktion@riksbank.se

LAST UPDATED 3/23/2004 
 

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