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Keep in mind the correct use of standards – pay attention to copyright

Standards, handbooks and other publications available in the SFS Shop are protected by copyright. When you purchase a publication, you acquire specific rights of access and usage to it.


When you purchase a standard or other type of publication, you acquire specific rights of access and usage to it. Each standard is marked with a watermark at the bottom and on the left side of each page, displaying the name of the organisation and in many cases that of the customer, too.

The revenues from selling SFS, ISO and IEC standards are used for funding standardization. Therefore, protection of copyright is essential to the sustainability of the standardization system. Infringement of copyright can be detrimental to the user, too, as it may lead to incorrect application of a standard. The user cannot know whether the contents of a standard have been modified if the integrity and authenticity of the document cannot be confirmed.

In addition to SFS, ISO and IEC standards, the SFS Shop also has many other types of standards available for purchase. Please contact our customer service for information on the copyright and right of usage of these standards.

Usage right of standards in a nutshell

When purchasing a standard, please pay attention to the following:

In which way can I use the standard I have purchased?

  • Standards are always intended only for internal use in the organisation that has purchased them. For example, the organisation is not permitted to send standards or copies of them outside the organisation as appendices in invitations to tender, tenders or any marketing material.
  • Rights of usage that come with the licence depend on the format of the standard. SFS sells standards in PDF format, as printed versions and via the SFS Online service.
  • Altering purchased files in any way is not permitted. Standards or excerpts from them may not be published on public websites or otherwise distributed in ways not granted by the acquired licence.
  • All PDF files and paper copies must contain the same copyright, trademark and other information as the original standard.
  • SFS standards can be purchased in PDF format for 1 to 5 users. If you need licences for additional users, we recommend using the SFS Online service. For other standards, such as ISO, IEC and ASTM standards, only single-user licences are available if the standards in question are not included in your SFS Online collection.

PDF publications

A PDF version of an SFS, IEC, ASTM or ISO standard can only be used in as many workstations or printed as many times as specified in the purchase order.

  • If the publication was purchased in the SFS Shop or delivered by email, it may not be shared in a network such as the intranet of the organisation. SFS Online is often the best solution for network use.
  • All PDF publications are protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM). Accessing DRM protected files requires a locally installed FileOpen plugin.

SFS Online

  • We offer licenses to SFS, ISO, IEC and ASTM standards via the SFS Online, allowing your organisation to compile its own collection of standards. The terms and conditions of your licence will be defined in a written agreement.
  • When using SFS Online, you have the right to use the purchased standards or their copies in your organisation’s internal activities. Standards or copies of them may not be transferred outside the organisation.

May I cite standards or make copies of them?

If you need to copy or cite parts of standards, please contact our customer service:

  • A permission may be given to cite standards or present summaries of them in commercial products, such as books and software, on a case-by-case basis. The prerequisite is that the source is given appropriately and in accordance with referencing conventions. A fee may be charged for the permission to publish citations or summaries.
  • If you have purchased a standard and wish to share paper copies of it in an internal meeting or email a copy to a colleague, for example, you may do so in return for an additional fee.
  • Any copies of standards must have a statement on the front cover saying that the copy is licensed. All copies must include the same copyright and trademark information as the original standard.
  • Terms of use, including permissions regarding copies, are defined in your agreement on the use of SFS Online.
  • Whenever a standard is cited or copied, SFS has the right to charge an additional fee. Standards purchased by private persons for personal use are an exception; these can freely be copied for private use. Private persons are not allowed to copy standards for commercial use.

Licence to use standards in an educational institution

  • Licence to use standards in an educational institution
  • If a school, university or other educational institution purchases a licence for SFS Online, the students can read standards when logged to SFS Online. Terms of use of the service can be viewed in the library of the educational institution.
  • Saving copies of standards or printing them for learning purposes is restricted.
  • Students may cite parts of relevant SFS standards in their study-related assignments provided that the sources are referenced appropriately.
  • Teachers have more extensive access rights: they can, for example, make a moderate amount of photocopies of a single printed standard, distribute excerpts from individual standards to students and show sections of a standard as a part of a non-commercial presentation during lectures, seminars and other such events.
  • Teaching staff may use excerpts from single standards in materials intended for teaching and research activities.

Guidance on using standards in student projects

  • We recommend that you use the standard as a source, draw your own diagrams or tables and cite the standard instead of copying content from the standard.
  • A citation or a reference must be marked with the complete designation, title and year of publication of the standard.
  • If the thesis or final project is commissioned by a business organisation, the student is not permitted to give the commissioner any standards copied or downloaded using the SFS Online license of the educational institution in question.
  • Standards may not be included in a thesis or final project as an appendix.

The SFS Shop and the website of the Finnish copyright organisation Kopiosto contain comprehensive information on the copyright and rights of usage concerning purchased standards.