About Copyright in Austria

The copyright is a subjective and absolute right to a so-called “work”, and grants powers to act. It grants the originator an indivisible, indispensable and inalienable package of exclusive rights and is not transferable. In spite of the non-transferability of the copyright, the respective originator may grant exclusive or non-exclusive rights of use in favour of third parties.

  • Work: Pursuant to Sec. 1 Austrian Copyright Act (UrhG), a “work” is understood to mean unique intellectual creations in the fields of literature, musical art, fine art and cinematic art. The Court itself has to solve the legal question in each case of whether a creation constitutes a copyright-protectable work, and the latter is not an issue of fact where evidence may be taken from expert witnesses.
  • Originator: Pursuant to Sec. 10 Austrian Copyright Act (UrhG), the originator of a work is the person who created it. This term also covers those persons to whom the copyright passed after the death of the creator.

By granting exclusive rights of utilisation (Sec. 14 - 18 Austrian Copyright Act) and certain rights to protect intellectual interests (Secs. 19-21 Austrian Copyright Act); the copyright protects both the non-material and the material interests of the originator. For example, pursuant to Sec. 15 Austrian Copyright Act (UrhG), the originator is awarded the exclusive right to duplicate the work in any type of procedure, to include any number of copies, both permanently and also only provisionally. Pursuant to Sec. 16 UrhG, it is solely the preserve of the originator to disseminate the works. The latter may neither be kept for sale nor circulated in any manner which makes the work accessible to the public without the originator’s consent.

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