In accordance with the Copyright Act, explanatory drawings are protected as literary works. Under the Act, explanatory drawings are seen as, for example, maps, machine and construction drawings. Explanatory drawings aim for technical clarity and their choices of subject and angle are such that it is highly probable that someone else undertaking similar work would end up at the same solutions. Explanatory drawings are also associated with a quality requirement. This requirement is demonstrated by an explanatory use of the word. Explanatory drawings may receive copyright protection under the same conditions as other works, i.e. a condition for the protection is that the explanatory drawing meets the prerequisites of originality, or is an independent and original result of creative work in such a way that no other expert could have ended up presenting the same things in drawings similar in form.
The Copyright Council has considered the copyright protection of explanatory drawings in its opinion 1996:2 (the illustration copyright of a medical textbook/handbook). The Copyright Council decided that the explanatory illustrations referred to in the medical text, which depicted, among other things, the human respiratory system and lung function, did not meet the prerequisite level of originality and thus remained excluded from copyright protection.
In its opinion 2002:4, the Copyright Council decided that the drawing of the habitat of the sea-buckthorn, which illustrated a scientific article, didn't demonstrate the independence and originality required of a work.
Image material from the decision TN 2002:4 of the Copyright Council.
In its opinion 2004:2, the Copyright Council noted that the illustrations and schematic in the Canon Ixus 400 digital camera instruction manual didn't demonstrate such independence and originality that is required for copyright protection.