Exploitation rights

Exploitation rights enable the author to decide whether and in what form their work can be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes. The author is in principle entitled to a reasonable remuneration for every exploitation.

Initially the author only has the right to decide on the form in which their work is going to be used, i.e. to permit it or refuse permission. Frequently, however, the author has already granted key rights of use to their client before creating the work, e.g. granting a film producer all the rights required to exploit a film.

Other rights concerning use of the works of authors:

To make physical reproductions of a work, the creator of the copies first needs the reproduction right. A newspaper publisher, for instance, needs it in order to publish protected works in the print version of a daily newspaper. A download of a work also counts as reproduction because a new (digital) version of the work is being created.

The distribution right allows the author to decide whether and in what form reproductions are made available (distributed) to the public. The right is usually granted along with the reproduction right, but it can have independent significance if the reproduction was created abroad.

The exhibition right is the right to exhibit a work of visual arts in the public for the first time – the right extinguishes after the first exhibition. Following the sale of a work, the owner decides whether the work can be exhibited. The exhibition right thus has little practical importance.

Performance and presentation rights allow a work to be presented on a stage, e.g. a film being presented to the public in a cinema.

The right to make available to the public includes what is known as the “online right”, which is required for all transmission processes that are executed on demand. In the case of streaming, for instance, only the online right applies; if the work can also be downloaded, the reproduction right is also relevant.

Broadcasting rights can be granted to enable a work to be transmitted on radio or television. The method of transmission (e.g. satellite, cable, DVB-T, internet) is immaterial. The distinction from the “right to make available to the public” (internet right) is governed by the criterion of the programme: the broadcasting right applies if the work is being transmitted in a programme on a fixed channel. If, however, the user alone can decide when to receive the work, the internet right is required.

Cable retransmission is offered by service providers who retransmit radio and/or television programmes on their cable networks simultaneously, in full and without any modification from its primary broadcasting. For example, a cable network operator receives satellite signals on a cable headend and retransmits these signals to a residential area.

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