The difference between author’s note and copyright note (©)

You can not distinguish copyright notice and copyright notice from each other? No fear! It looks to you, as it does to thousands of readers each month. Let us clear up this misunderstanding in a few minutes!

Often the question arises: what is the difference between © sign, author’s note and copyright notice and why do I need that.

We need to distinguish between the following two terms in particular: Copyright notice and copyright notice. The copyright notice refers to the author of a work, while the copyright notice refers to the rights holder (the rights holder can be a natural or legal person different from the author).

Copyright notice

According to § 10 UrhG, the person whose name appears on a copy of a published work or on an original work is presumed to be the author (this also applies to digital photos). The Copyright notice must be applied in the usual way.

If I write "Maxchen Muller" on an oil painting, it is assumed that Maxchen Muller is the author and a third party has to prove the opposite by witnesses. In the case of sheet music, the author is usually indicated between the title and the first note line. Books usually give the name already on the title page, on the spine or in the imprint. film authors are named in the opening or closing credits of films.

In the case of digital images, it may also be sufficient that the Copyright notice is written in the imprint of a homepage or if it is shown below the picture.

Thus, thanks to the copyright notice, anyone who asserts copyright claims no longer has to prove (z. B. by witnesses) that he has produced the work. A painter would otherwise always have to prove with witnesses or other evidence that he has produced the work, if he would not paint his name on the picture.

Copyright notice

The Copyright notice originates from Anglo-American law and designates the natural or legal person who holds the copyright (i.e. the right of use). This can be the author himself, but also a company, such as z. B. a music label, if the author has granted the right of use to it. Until 1988, the copyright notice had to be affixed to a reproduced work, otherwise the rights of the owner could expire. Since 1989, however, copyright arises automatically in the USA as well – without any copyright notice at all. A copyright notice consists of four elements:

  • "Copyright" or "©"
  • Year in which the work was created
  • Name of the copyright holder
  • Reservation of rights

Saw then z. B. like this:

Copyright 1988 Maxchen Muller GmbH. – All rights reserved.

The Copyright notice strictly speaking has no function in German copyright law. He does not exist, so to speak. It can, however, be interpreted as a copyright notice, i.e. as a "hint" to the copyright (see above, point 1), namely if it refers to a natural person and this is to be understood as the usual copyright designation. "Copyright" and "©" have meanwhile established themselves as a reference to copyright also in German copyright law.

So if I put under my website "Copyright © 2016 Attorney Maximilian Greger – All rights reserved."then this is to be interpreted at the same time as author designation, because it is now times so usual to mark the web page authorship in such a way. But I could probably just write "The contents of these pages are provided by attorney Maximilian Greger".

Do I need a copyright notice or. it harms?

The answer to this question is as short as simple: no! According to German copyright law, copyright arises automatically as soon as a work is produced.

Nevertheless Copyright notice only recommend:

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