Copyright law

Copyright - scope, claims and values

There are some myths about German copyright. These include in particular

? A copy of a photo or a text from the internet for your own online shop is acceptable.

? Only works with the ©- sign are protected, all others works can be used without permission.

? Ideas are works according to copyright law. Nobody can copy them.

? The author has died – now I can use the work as I like.

If you have answered yes to any of these questions without restrictions, you could violate the copyright of others.

So a (inexperienced) copyright infringement happens quickly.

Every personal intellectual creation with a certain “quality” is protected automatically by law – a registration is not necessary.

German copyright law offers the creator protection in many ways:

Urheberrecht Abmahnung

Protection of the intellectual and personal relationship of the author to the work created by him (moral rights of authors) and protection of the associated property interests (exploitation rights).

The author’s moral rights include the right to publish the work, the right to recognition of authorship (including the right to be named as the author) and the right against the distortion of the work.

The exploitation rights are in particular reproduction rights, distribution rights, the right to exhibit, recitation, performance and presentation, the right to make the work work available to the public, broadcasting rights and more. Since copyright is an exclusive right of the author, he or she can determine when, who, where and how the work may be used.

To protect these rights, the author can, in particular, claim injunctive relief, damages, information, publication and removal. He can enforce these by means of a warning letter, interim injunction and legal action.

There are only a few legal exceptions – if these are fulfilled, the author will not be successful with his claims. These include, in particular, reporting on current events, the right of quotation, reproductions for private and other personal use, school broadcasts or reproductions that serve the administration of justice and public safety.

I can advise you on the scope and existing claims of your copyrights and values or I defend you against alleged copyright claims of third parties which are directed against you.

? A copy of a photo or a text from the internet for your own online shop is acceptable.

! All works enjoy copyright protection, whether they are available or for free. There are also free licenses – but these are usually bound by rules (most important is the obligation to name the author; publication of the generated new work is free).

? Only works with the ©- sign are protected, all others works can be used without permission.

! This is wrong in Germany and Europe. Also, all works without the ©-sign are protected.

? Ideas are works according to copyright law. Nobody can copy them.

! Ideas are not subject to copyright. Only the embodiment of the work is capable of being protected.

? The author has died – now I can use the work as I like.

! The copyrights expire – with few exceptions – after 70 years after the death of the author. The heirs have inherited rights to claim and they can protect the rights as the author could.