Copyright as an Intellectual Property Right requires particular protection. In contrast to tangible goods, a work can be used without the author becoming aware of it. Therefore, copyright law provides for a possibility to exclude other persons from using a work, enabling the author to claim equitable remuneration by granting rights of use.
Copyright is intended to balance the competing interests of the general public, the authors and those who work with copyrights in their economic activities.
Copyright in Austria is covered by the Copyright Act, i.e. the Federal Law on Copyright in Works of Literature and Art and on Related Rights (in German).
In order to improve the exploitation of their rights, authors frequently use collecting societies. For detailed provisions, please refer to the Collecting Societies Act 2006.
A number of international conventions exist in the field of copyright law. Although ongoing efforts have been made for harmonisation of copyright, especially within the European Union, this has been only partially successful to date. Artists abroad are often confronted with foreign copyright legislation.
The most important international agreements in the field of copyright are the Universal Copyright Convention, the (Revised) Berne Convention and the TRIPS Agreement.