So I want to make a game, where you can find Euro coins, and I want them to be exactly the same as the real ones. Is this ok, or am I violating some copyrights?
Starting from the ECB (European Central Bank) website, I followed a rabbit-warren of links and eventually arrived at what I think is the relevant instrument, a "Communication from the Commission on copyright protection of the common face design of the euro coins". From which:
- Holder of the copyright
The copyright on the design of the common face of the euro coins belongs to the European Union represented by the Commission. The European Commission has assigned to each Member State that has adopted the euro all the Union's rights as regards the territory of such Member State. The Commission will assign the copyright to the other Member States once they adopt the euro.
- Reproduction regime
The following common reproduction regime will be applied by the Commission and by the participating Member States, as defined in Regulation (EC) No 974/98, as regards their territory. Reproduction of all or part of the common face design of the euro coins is authorised without recourse to a specific procedure in the following cases:
- for photographs, drawings, paintings, films, images, and generally reproductions in flat format (without relief) provided they are in faithful likeness and are used in ways which do not damage or detract from the image of the euro,
So although the images are copyright, you can go ahead and use them, it seems to say to me.
HOWEVER this only covers the common faces of the coins - as you probably know, for all euro coins one side is a common pan-European design, while the other varies depending on the issuing member state. I haven't looked into arrangements for those sides - presumably copyright resides with the issuing state, and at a guess they will have a similar provision to the above.
Finally, a note that although the above linked page says 'no longer in force', the only effect of the successor documents is to expand the list of member state banks; the copyright provision is unchanged.