Euro coins and banknotes are important symbols of European unity and commitment. For this reason there are clear rules on how and when their images can be used. These are designed to protect the images on euro coins and banknotes from misuse and avoid confusion, while allowing for appropriate use by others when needed.
The copyright on the euro banknotes belongs to the European Central Bank. The national central banks of the Member States of the European Union and the European Central Bank may initiate legal proceedings against anyone infringing the copyright.
Copyright on the design of the common sides of the euro coins belongs to the European Union represented by the Commission. However, the European Commission has assigned each euro-area Member State all the Community rights as regards their territory. Member States belonging to the euro area are therefore obliged to enforce the copyright within their territories, while the Commission enforces it outside the euro area and the EU. Either the Commission or individual euro-area countries may initiate legal proceedings if unauthorised reproduction is detected.
Member States of the euro area have authority over copyright issues regarding the national sides of the euro coins, in accordance with their national legislation.
Rules also exist on how coins and notes may be reproduced in print and online.
Reproduction rules for banknotes
The reproduction rules are decided by the European Central Bank and ensure that the public can distinguish genuine banknotes from reproductions. Euro banknote reproductions must fulfil the following requirements:
Electronic reproductions (online and offline)
In the case of intangible reproductions made electronically on websites or in offline formats:
Reproduction rules for coins
The reproduction rules of the common sides are decided by the European Commission and are intended to avoid confusion between genuine euro coins and medals and tokens of a similar size and with similar properties. Only the following reproductions are allowed:
Reproduction of the national sides of the euro coins is governed by the legislation of the issuing countries, since these are the holders of the copyright in the design of the national sides.
For authorisation to reproduce the national side of a commemorative coin, please contact the competent National Bank.
Press release IP/13/88. 5/2/2013. European Commission strengthens the protection of the euro by means of criminal law
Council Regulation (EC) No 2182/2004 concerning medals and tokens similar to euro coins (6/12/2004)
Council Regulation (EC) No 2183/2004 extending to the non-participating Member States the application of Regulation (EC) No 2182/2004 concerning medals and tokens similar to euro coins. (6/12/2004)
Commission communication on copyright protection of the common face design of the euro coins. Official Journal 2011/C 41/03 (10/2/2011)
Rules on reproduction of banknotes (ECB/2003/4) (Official Journal L078 25/3/2003, p 16)
Non-compliant reproductions of euro banknotes (ECB/2003/5) (Official Journal L078 25/3/2003, p 20)