In contrast to industrial property rights, copyright law protects intellectual creations in the fields of literature, music, cinematics and visual arts but also program codes and data bases. In addition, related rights protect performers, producers and broadcasting stations. Copyright exists from the beginning of the creative act without any formalities to be fulfilled and lapses in the case of literary works 70 years after the death of the creator or after creation of the work.

With the help of copyright law creators can defend themselves against unauthorized use of their works or collect charges for such use by appropriate contracts.

Websites are not protected by copyright law since they are not included in the exhaustive list of protected objects. However, parts of websites may very well enjoy copyright protection.

The term “copyright“ stems from the anglosaxon legal tradition and should not be used synonymously for the Austrian term “Urheberrecht”. Like all other types of intellectual property rights copyright is characterized by the principle of territoriality.