Copyright is the right of the creator of a work (author) to his or her individual intellectual work. Works of literature, science and art, but also scientific works and – with restrictions – technical texts, are protected.
Unlike other industrial property rights, the right does not originate through entry in a register, but through the creation of the work itself. The writing of a text, the drawing of a graphic, the production of a photograph or the programming of software are sufficient to create a work protected by copyright. The prerequisite is that it is an individual intellectual creation that can be perceived from the outside and achieves a certain “level of individuality”, i.e. that it stands out from the everyday and the craft.
Exciting legal questions arise in the context of digitization, for example when it comes to the protection of websites, social media content or databases. The well-known download cases in file-sharing networks are also subject to copyright law.
Once the copyright has been effectively created, the exploitation rights regulate the author’s powers. He may reproduce, distribute, exhibit, perform and make publicly accessible the work. These rights of use are often granted to third parties through licensing agreements. The rights of use granted (publication of a book, film, Internet, merchandising, etc.) must be carefully observed when drafting or reviewing such contracts. Only then can the contractually intended purpose be achieved without the author disposing of all exploitation possibilities for no reason.