Urheberrechtliche FragenCopyright Questions

Documents published in DuEPublico may not violate the German Copyright Act. That means that you - as an author - have either all rights of publishing, using, spreading, duplicating and public reproduction or, however, that the permission of the copyright owner must be obtained.

Important links und information about copyright

Further helpful information:

You would like to disseminate a new text of your own in DuEPublico

If you yourself are the author of a document that is to be disseminated in DuEPublico (such as new essays, reviews and, with certain restrictions, dissertations and lecture notes etc.), your right as author should likewise be granted. As DuEPulico is not a publishing company, you retain the rights. Should you assign these later to a publisher for further, commercial utilisation, you will have to clarify the disposition of the DuEPublico version in the publishing contract. For dissemination in DuEPublico, we recommend that you apply a copyright notice identifying you as the author.

It would be preferable for you as author, when publishing your work at a publisher, not to grant exclusive exploitation rights to that publisher but to reserve a (digital) right of secondary exploitation to be able to disseminate the digital version in DuEPublico.

Works already published can also be disseminated in DuEPublico.

Applicable in case of contributions in compilations, i.e. periodicals:

Unless expressly excluded by your publishing contract, you yourself have the right to disseminate, on the Internet, your essays that you have published in periodicals or to publish them on a freely accessible document server such as DuEPublico, one year after the release.

Applicable in case of essays in monographs:

When using works already published, copyright protection means that in most cases a publisher, more rarely the author himself, has to consent to renewed publication on the Internet, and that this new usage frequently has to be remunerated through a copyright clearing house (VG Wort, for example). Many publishers generally allow the distribution of authors’ copies on institutional servers by means of publisher’s policies, even when rights of publication have been assigned to them. You can read up on the policies of individual publishers at SHERPA/RoMEO list.

The mere digitalisation of a work already published (be it in text, image or audio form) does not constitute a new, freely exploitable work, even if the original work had already been published before the “invention” of the WWW, and even if the creator of the work carried out the digitalisation him-/herself.

Applicable in case of essays in newspapers:

Immediately after its appearance, you may freely disseminate your essay on the Internet.

If only parts of a work (a book, a film, an essay) are used, the rule in principle is that it is necessary to obtain the exploitation rights. The copyright, however, provides exceptions for scientific work: quotations are allowed when naming the source. There are no precise regulations, however, as to how extensive these quotations may be.

Applicable in case of multimedia products:

Authors of multimedia products generally enjoy the same copyright protection as authors of pure text products. When integrating externally sourced material (photos, texts, ClipArts, graphs, tables, music, videos, animations etc.) attention must be paid at all times to the copy rights or other rights relating to those materials.

Reserve Collections and Copyright law

No legal advice about copyright law is given here. The university library would, however, like to draw attention to a few important basic legal conditions which you, as a lecturer, should be familiar with when offering a reserve collection. You will find further information on copyright law on the Remus webpapges.

§ 52a: Public accessibility for tuition and research

The allocation of texts in an online reserve collection also falls under §52a "Öffentliche Zugänglichmachung für Unterricht und Forschung" (public accessibility for tuition and research) of current German copyright law. There, in paragragh 1, it specifies:

  • "small parts of a work", that means 20% at most. The university library is not allowed, therefore, to digitalize major parts of a book unless other agreements with the rights holder exist or the work is no longer protected by copyright.
  • "individual articles from newspapers or periodicals", i.e. an essay from a professional journal.
  • the purpose "of demonstration in teaching at ... universities ... exclusively for a clearly defined group of participating students". Online reserve collections are hence generally protected by a password so that only the students from your course have access to the texts.
  • "Appropriate remuneration is to be paid for public accessibility as per paragraph 1." This remuneration is already covered by all-inclusive payments, the accessibility of such texts in the reserve collection being free for you as a lecturer.

The library associations, the Working Committee of Scientific Publishers and the "Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels" (= Consortium of German Booktrade) have, furthermore, defined the practical interpretation of these arrangements in a "Gemeinsame Charta zum Verständnis von §52a" (common charter on understanding of §52a).

Recommendations

We recommend the following measures so as to avoid, where possible, any copyright infringement:

If you wish to disseminate a document that you have already published at a publishing company:

  • If it is a book, then ask your publisher to make sure that you have the right to publish online.
  • In case of publications in a periodical or a collected edition, you are generally given the right automatically one year after publication, unless your contract contains different provisions.

If you wish to disseminate another authors document:

  • Obtain a general idea about the legal situation with the aid of Ratgeber Multimediarecht für die Hochschulpraxis published by the Ministerium für Schule, Wissenschaft und Forschung (Ministry of Schools, Science and Research) of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westfalia.
    You will find further, continually updated information, including case studies, via remus on the German Education Server (Deutscher Bildungsserver).
  • Protect your document with a password so that access is made possible only to a narrowly restricted, clearly defined circle of users.
  • Maintain control over the distribution of the password so as to limit its access to university circles and guarantee exclusive use for scientific purposes only.
  • Make your document available only for a certain period of time, for example the duration of a semester.
  • If extracts of different works are used, do not give the sources on the index or contents page (which is still visible without a password), but on a page that is shown after the password has been entered.