What is a copyright claim


Briefly & simply explained:

Copyright clearly & concisely defined

Copyright is the right to have the intellectual property of an author protected. Copyright is the sum of all legal norms that regulate the relationship between the author and his work.

The copyright protects the author's rights to his works. This primarily concerns the utilization, remuneration and the prohibition of use by third parties. The Copyright Act (UrhG) forms the essential legal basis; the Perception Act and Publishing Act are also important.

Differentiation between copyright and right of use

Scope and Limitations of Copyright

Copyright is part of private law and, in the cultural field, forms the counterpart to industrial property rights, in particular to patent and trademark law. In contrast to patents, no official registration is required for copyrights. Copyright consists of itself and follows from the basic constitutional rights of guaranteed property, the free development of personality and freedom of art. Certain restrictions are only permitted in the context of employment and service relationships. In addition, the copyright does not apply indefinitely. It usually ends 70 years after the death of the author (or after the first publication), after which the work is considered "public domain".

Protection of the work

The subject of protection of copyright is the "work". Meant are works of literature, art and science. The UrhG contains an exemplary list. In addition to written works, works of visual art, music, photographs or films, this also includes computer programs, buildings, scientific and technical representations, pantomime and dance works. The work must be a "personal spiritual creation". To do this, certain requirements must be met:
  • the work must have come about through personal human creation;
  • it must be perceptible (for third parties). A pure idea that has not yet been implemented is not a work;
  • In addition to being perceptible, the work must also have a spiritual content that stimulates the mind or feeling of the viewer;
  • Originality and individuality of the work are further requirements. Mere reproductions, copies or imitations are not enough.

What copyright protection means

The protection of copyright extends specifically to:

  • the Moral law: the author alone determines whether, when and how his work is published;
  • the Exploitation right: the exploitation is also the sole responsibility of the author. The right of exploitation includes reproduction, distribution and exhibition. This also includes, for example, broadcasting rights, the right to image and sound reproduction, performance rights, speaking rights, etc. Under certain conditions, exploitation rights can be transferred, for example to a collecting society;
  • the Right to remuneration: the UrhG defines certain statutory remuneration claims (resale right for auctions of art originals, library royalty, device manufacturer levy).

Consequences of legal violations

Civil, criminal and competition law can be used to counter violations of copyright law:

  • under civil law there may be claims for removal, omission and compensation;
  • criminal fines up to three years imprisonment are threatened;
  • Even according to the law against unfair competition, claims for omission and damages can arise.

Summary copyright

  • Copyright protects the author from unwanted use of his works by third parties;
  • protection extends to works of literature, art and science;
  • Copyright includes moral rights, exploitation and remuneration rights;
  • Copyright infringements may be punishable under certain circumstances. They justify claims for omission and damages.
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