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Copyright for authors

Important items on intellectual property rights for authors

  • Intellectual property rights of your work as a “personal intellectual creation” include non-transferable personal rights as an author, in particular the right of publication and the right to be named as an author.
  • Furthermore you have transferable exploitation rights, like the right of reproduction, the right of circulation and the right of public reproduction. For securing own rights on online documents, models of licenses are offered by Creative Commons.
  • As a general rule, for example, “common knowledge”, formulas, subject-specific terms, offical documents as well as works with expired term of copyright (in Germany 70 years after the death of the author) are freely usable.
  • Citations as copying, publication and public reproduction of a work in one’s own work free of approval are only allowed in an extent which is determined by the intended purpose (explanation, illustration or corroboration). Citations have to be indicated and provided with exact references.
  • Reproduction for own scholarly use is allowed in form of small excerpts – as appropriate.

Popular misinterpretations to copyright

  • Copying just a little bit is always okay!
  • You can use everything when using detailed references!
  • I modified it, now it is part of my work!
  • When publishing with a publisher I have to dispense all my rights!
  • Copying for research and educational purposes is always allowed!
  • It is on the web – especially in case there is notation of copyright – so I can use it without any restriction!

Important notice

Attention: The legislative procedure in intellectual property rights in particular regarding electronic and online accessible documents are furthermore constantly in progress. The German Coalition for Action “Copyright for Education and Research” tries to influence this development and process.

This information presents merely some very general advice. No responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. Just in case of doubt employ a lawyer in questions concerning intellectual property and copyright. Any liability is excluded.

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