Copyright » Tips for contract negotiations

Granting of usage rights/tips for contract negotiations

Unlike in other countries, the legal situation in Germany does not allow the transfer of copyright as a whole nor of individual exploitation rights because of the rights’ direct connection with the personality of the originator. Only individual usage rights may be granted. These are more valuable for the beneficiary if he/she is the sole owner, i.e. if he/she has an exclusive license. The civil law provisions regarding questions of how a contract is concluded and with what content are usually complemented by copyright law in favor of the originator. This results in certain arrangements that should be considered when entering into contracts with originators if one wants to use their works.  

In principle, the exploitation rights are transferable in the form of usage rights, while the originator’s moral rights, particularly the right to a name and the right to prohibit distortion, are inalienable/not transferable. These rules for granting rights of use only apply, of course, if German copyright applies. 

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