Copyright Law

Copyright is not always about searching for the creator of a particular work, but also about controlling usage and exploitation rights. Under German copyright law a creator obtains copyright protection automatically with production. In other words, unlike a trademark, a work does not need to be registered in order to receive copyright protection. However, under German copyright law a work must fulfil minimum requirements to be able to benefit from protection.

A creator or owner of a copyright has the freedom to decide the conditions under which a work may be published or used, and he can transfer usage and exploitation rights to third parties. This is why it is collecting societies, music companies and publishers which assert rights to copyright.

Although copyright law has a long and rich tradition, the rash developments in new media present unique challenges. Previous unknown types of use of a work are emerging and digital content can often be limitlessly reproduced to a high standard by the average person. Copyright-protected films, texts and music can be found on foreign websites, file sharing websites and social networks.

These developments affect not only copyright holders, but also normal citizens, who are often confronted with unverifiable accusations of having infringed copyright legislation.

The law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE has a team of highly experienced specialist lawyers in the area of copyright law. The team can advise you on the options for pursuing breaches of your rights or defending a copyright claim.

Our services in the area of copyright:

A. Copyright creation

  • Legal advice to copyright holders during production and assessment of competing rights of third parties
  • Advice on documenting and proving copyright ownership
  • Advice on a creator’s personal rights linked to copyright
  • Advice on the limitations of copyright protection
  • Temporal limitations
    • Duration of protection
    • Remuneration of successor
  • Substantive limitations to copyright
    • Promoting intellectual debate
    • Private consumer interests
    • Commercial interests
    • State interests
  • Inheritance disputes within the context of transfer of copyright

B. Licencing of works

  • Employment law advice to copyright holders as employees
  • Employment law advice to employers on the transfer of usage rights through employment contracts
  • Drafting and assessment of exploitation contracts
    • Authors and publishers
    • Film and television
    • Photographers and photo archives
    • Advertising agencies
    • Private and commercial website operators
    • Internet platform operators
    • Press
    • Music
    • Games and software
    • Sport

C. Pursuit of copyright infringements

  • Pursuit of copyright infringements (e.g. photos, software, music)
  • Protection of a creator’s personal rights linked to copyright
  • Assertion of cease and desist rights and rights to disclose and compensation
  • Advice on investigating copyright infringements

D. Defending unjustified allegations of copyright infringement

  • Defending unjustified warning letters (e.g. file sharing, photo law)
  • Protection measures against injunctions
  • Assessment of declarations to cease and desist
  • Assessment of alleged claims (compensation claims, unjust enrichment, disclosure)
  • Advice on limitation periods
  • Out-of-court and in-court representation in copyright disputes

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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