Legal notes to copyright registration in Austria

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Copyright registration in Austria. Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in the southern part of Central Europe, located on the Eastern Alps. Austria is consistently ranked in the top 20 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita terms. The country has achieved a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. Vienna consistently ranks in the top internationally on quality-of-life indicators. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of copyright registration in Austria.

Copyright in Austria

Unlike other intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, industrial designs, plant varieties, etc., copyright does not need to be registered for protection but will be automatically protected from the time the works are created in a certain material form, regardless of content, quality, form, medium, language, published or unpublished, registered or unregistered.

Accordingly, whether registered or not, the copyright to the work will still be protected. However, copyright registration is still advised because early registration will give the author/owner of the work many advantages in the event of a dispute.

When unauthorized use of work occurs around the world, the owner of a work who has registered copyright in advance will not have to waste time and complicate matters with proving himself/herself to be the legitimate owner of the work.

Thereby, in order to avoid passivity, the owner of the work should make a copyright registration to protect their rights and interests when there is an infringement.

Copyright registration in Austria

Austria is a member country of The Berne Convention for Copyright since 1920.

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention) is an international agreement governing copyright. The agreement was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.

As Austria is a contracting party of the Berne Convention, any work originating in Austria will be given the same copyright protection in each of the Berne Convention member countries. The original from Austria can be that the work is made and published for the first time in this country or if the author of the work is of Austria ethnicity.

While in other countries, copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work existed in material form, registering for copyright in Austria is critical in order for the copyright owner to obtain evidence of copyright.

Evidence of copyright is extremely important even when copyright is obtained automatically.

When registering, the work – the subject matter of the application gets a date and a time stamp recorded, as well as information about the work and proof of work concept and development. This provides unambiguous proof of authorship and ownership that can’t be denied.

Proof of copyright is essential in an age when the publishing, dissemination, and theft of material is extremely easy with the exposure of the Internet.

If copyright registration is not made, copyright owners will lose a significantly big amount of money and time attempting to fight copyright issues and prove ownership of the original work.

Documents for copyright registration in Austria

To register for copyright protection in Austria, the author needs to prepare the following documents:

  • Declaration of copyright registration;
  • Two copies of copyrighted work;
  • Documents proving the right to apply;
  • Written consent of co-authors, if the work has co-authors;
  • Written consent of the co-owners, if the copyright is jointly owned;
  • Notarized identity card of the author or owner of the work;
  • Power of Attorney, if the applicant is an authorized person;
  • Notarized copy of the company’s business registration certificate (if the owner is a company).

The copyright law of Austria

In Austria, section 60 of the Copyright Act provides for a protection period of 70 years following the death of the author with regard to literary and artistic works, and musical art.

If the work has co-authors, the protection ends 70 years after the last death of the co-authors.

Prior to 1933, copyright protection expired 30 years after the death of the author. On 15 December 1933, the Austrian legislator extended the term, to 50 years after the death of the author. In 1953, the protection term was increased up to 57 years.

With the Federal Law Gazette 492/1972 amending the Copyright Act on December 16th, 1972, Austria increased the protection term again up to 70 years.

You can see a list of Austria IP firms here.

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