Sociology Index

German Copyright Law

German copyright law or Deutsches Urheberrecht is similar to "droit d'auteur". Germany has implemented the EU Copyright Directive. German copyright law was the reason the length of copyright term was chosen for the 93/98/EEC. German copyright law had used 70 years after the death of the author, and as the longest term of any member, was chosen.

In 1501, the first recorded copyright privilege in Germany was issued  by the Aulic Council to an association entitled the Sodalitas Rhenana Celtica, for the publication of an edition of the dramas of Hroswitha of Gandersheim.

In 1512, an Imperial privilege was issued to the historiographer John Stadius which was the first European privilege made to cover more than a single work, or undertaking to protect books not yet published.

In 1794, the Prussian Parliament enacted a legislation which was accepted by most states of Germany (except Württemberg and Mecklenburg). Under this legislation all German authors, and foreign authors whose works were represented by publishers taking part in the book fairs in Frankfort and Leipzig, were to be protected throughout the states of Germany against unauthorized reprints.

There is no corporate copyright in Germany and the fundamental rights cannot be transferred except by heritage.

German copyright law or Deutsches Urheberrecht is a "droit d'auteur" style law. As such there is a special emphasis on the relation between the work and its actual author. There is no corporate copyright in Germany and the fundamental rights cannot be transferred except by heritage.

Court decisions have set vastly different standards for the eligibility of works of applied art on the one hand and other types of work on the other, especially fine art. While the barrier is usually very low for fine art and protection is granted even for minimal creativity (dubbed "kleine Münze"), there are extremely high standards for applied art to be reached for it to achieve copyright protection.

Exclusive licenses are as powerful as copyright transfer and an exclusive license is given to the employer automatically if the work contract does not make a different arrangement.

The Courts have set different standards for the eligibility of works of applied art and other types of work, like fine art.

While the barrier is usually very low for fine art and protection is granted even for minimal creativity (dubbed "kleine Münze"), there are extremely high standards for applied art to be reached for it to achieve copyright protection.

Geschmacksmuster (design patents) and Schriftzeichengesetz (typeface patents) are seen as lex specialis for applied art such that the threshold of originality must not be assumed low for them. This has been confirmed by courts several times, especially for logos and earrings.

Germany has implemented the EU Copyright Directive. German copyright law was the reason the length of copyright term was chosen for the 93/98/EEC. German copyright law had used 70 years after the death of the author, and as the longest term of any member, was chosen.