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Copyright law in the Federal Republic of Germany comprises that part of the German legal system by which creative achievements – so-called works – in the fields of literature, science and art are protected. In this function, it regulates the scope, content, transferability and enforceability of the (subjective) rights and powers assigned to the creators of works. Copyright also includes related rights (ancillary copyrights), which protect certain performances that are more or less closely related to the exploitation of works. Systematically, copyright is a component of private law.
Today, German copyright law is mainly codified in the Copyright Act (UrhG) of 1965. Special regulations on collecting societies are contained in the Collecting Societies Act (Verwertungsgesellschaftengesetz, VGG), while those on publishing law are found in the Publishing Act (VerlG). In addition, the legal relationships under copyright law are also significantly influenced by provisions of the Basic Law and the Civil Code. The extensive copyright regulations of Community law and the copyright treaties also have a great influence on German copyright law.
In Germany, the beginnings of copyright as an independent right based on “intellectual property” are usually dated to the early 18th century. Prior to this, however, as in the rest of Europe, a first form of special protection for intellectual products had already appeared in the 16th century in the form of the privilege. In legislation, a principle of reprint protection first appeared in the 1760s and 1770s in Prussia, Electoral Saxony and Hanover.
[Source: Wikipedia 04.10.2018]