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Reproducing banknotes and coins

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.

Copyright

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:

Full reproductions

  • one-sided reproductions: the size of the reproduction should be at least 125% (or no more than 75%) of both the length and width of the respective euro banknote;
  • two-sided reproductions: the size of the reproduction should be at least 200% (or no more than 50%) of both the length and width of the respective euro banknote;

Partial reproductions

  • reproduction of individual design elements: such elements should not be depicted on a background resembling a banknote;
  • one-sided reproductions depicting a part of the front or reverse side: such part should be smaller than one third of the original front or reverse side;

Non-paper reproductions

  • reproductions made of a material clearly different from paper, which looks distinctly different from the material used for banknotes, are allowed;

Electronic reproductions (online and offline)

In the case of intangible reproductions made electronically on websites or in offline formats:

  • the word SPECIMEN should be printed diagonally across the reproduction in Arial font (or similar) with the length of this word being at least 75% of the length of the reproduction and the height of this word at least 15% of the width of the reproduction, and in a non-transparent (opaque) colour contrasting with the dominant colour, and
  • the resolution of the electronic reproduction in its original size does not exceed 72 dpi (dots per inch)

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:

  • reproductions in a format without relief (drawings, paintings, films) provided that they are not detrimental to the image of the euro.
  • reproductions in objects with relief, other than coins, medals and tokens, provided that they are not liable to be confused with coins.
  • reproductions on plastic objects and malleable tokens of a size at least 50% larger or smaller than the normal size.

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.

Legislation on reproduction of euro banknotes and coins 

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