Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Austria

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Austria relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Austria must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Austria and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from Austria, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Governing laws

Austria has been a member of the Berne Convention since 1 October 1920, the WIPO treaty since 14 March 2010 and the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Federal Law on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works and Related Rights (Copyright Law 1936, as amended up to Federal Law published in the Federal Law Gazette I No. 63/2018 (BGBI.I No. 63/2018)) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Austria.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]


Under the Federal Law on Copyright 1936 as amended up to 2018,

  • Copyright in individual work of literature, music and the visual arts ends 70 years after the author's death.[1936-2018 Art.60]
  • If the work is jointly created, copyright ends 70 years after the death of the last surviving author.[1936-2018 Art.60]
  • Copyright in anonymous or pseudonymous works end 70 years after creation or publication if published within 70 years.[1936-2018 Art 61]
  • Copyright in cinematographic works lasts 70 years after death of the last survivor of the principal director, the scriptwriter and the composer of music especially for the work.[1936-2018 Art.62]

Calculation of durations does not count the calendar year of the event used to calculate the duration.[1936-2018 Art.64]


In Austria pursuant to the provisions of Article 74(6) of Federal Law BGBI No. 111 of 1936 in the Version of 2003-07-01:

  • A simple photograph ("Lichtbild"), such as simple passport photos from Photo booths, photos from satellites, pictures from radiography, is no longer protected if it was either published more than 50 years ago or it was taken more than 50 years ago and never published within 50 years of its creation.
  • Photographs that involve artistic interpretations, such as studio shots and those that involve lighting and poses, qualify as photographic works ("Lichtbildwerke") or "works of literature, music and art".[1936-2018 Art.60][3]With these, protection lasts for 70 years after the author's death. (see this discussion).

In order to be acceptable on Commons, works must be in the public domain in the United States as well as in their source country. Austrian works are currently in the public domain in the United States if their copyright had expired in Austria on the U.S. date of restoration (January 1, 1996). However, some works might have a subsisting U.S. copyright resulting from the long-standing copyright relations between Austria and the United States.

  • For unpublished simple photographs, copyright has expired in Austria if it was created more than 50 years ago and was never published within 50 years of creation. Copyright has expired in the United States if created prior to 1946 and never published within 50 years of creation.
  • For published simple photographs, copyright has expired in Austria if published more than 50 years ago. Copyright has expired in the United States if published prior to 1946.
  • For all other photographs and artworks, copyright has expired in Austria if the author died more than 70 years ago and it was published. Copyright has expired in the United States if it was published prior to 1932.

Not protected


See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Under the Federal Law on Copyright 1936 as amended up to 2018,

  • Laws, regulations, official decrees, official notices and decisions and official works as defined in §2Z items 1 or 3, solely or mainly produced for official use. shall not enjoy copyright protection.[1936-2018 Art.7(1)]

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-AustrianGov}} – for parts of laws, ordinances or official decrees issued by an Austrian federal or state authority and for works of those authorities intended predominantly for official use.
  • {{PD-StVZVO}} – for road signs published in ordinances or other regulations.


See also: Commons:Currency

 Not OK

  • It is the (apparently unanimous) view in treatises and law review articles on Austrian copyright law that bank notes and coins do not constitute official works under s 7 of the Austrian Copyright Act and are therefore not freely usable.[4]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

Generally OK, use tag {{FoP-Austria}}

Article 54 of Austrian copyright law says it is allowed to reproduce, distribute, and publish architectural works of an actual building or other works of visual arts which were created to permanently remain at a public place.[1936-2018 Art.54(5)]

Architectural works may generally be reproduced, including all permanent buildings and other structures as a whole, building parts such as walls, pillars, windows (including church windows), doors, and stairs, a complete view of the interior design. This includes photographs taken in streets and public places, private grounds and the interior of buildings. However, single pieces of furniture or artworks may not be freely reproduced.

For other types of work, uploading a photograph to Wikimedia Commons is only covered by Austrian Freedom of Panorama if the picture meets the law's criteria regarding type of depicted work, place of photograph and permanence. The rules are:

Type of work
  • ✓[OK] two-dimensional works of visual arts (paintings, frescos, sgraffiti…)
  • ✓[OK] three-dimensional works of visual arts (sculptures)
  • ✘ works of literature (texts)
  • ✘ acoustic works (music, speech, bells, signal sounds…)
Place of photograph
  • ✓[OK] streets and public places
  • ✘ private ground
  • ✘ interiors of buildings, including churches, museums, and theatres (except for works, which themselves are components of the structure, including windows in churches and such)
  • ✓[OK] works created to remain permanently at a public place, for example memorials
  • ✘ works placed at a public place only temporarily
  • ✘ stage designs of open air theaters
  • ✘ advertisements including election posters

Even if criteria for Freedom of Panorama are not met, it might be possible to upload a picture of the work to Commons, for example if the work does not meet threshold of originality, or if the copyright has expired. In such a case, the matching public domain tag is used instead of {{FoP-Austria}}.


See also: Commons:Stamps

The Austrian postal service (Österreichische Post) has limited copyright for all stamps and the displayed images. The stamps can be used for sale, manufacture and advertising. For all other imaging requests (such as printing works, books or encyclopedias) the respective postage stamp designer needs to be contacted, since it is not advertising. For each stamp a release must be obtained individually. The contact addresses of the designers are subject to data privacy. See de:Wikipedia:Briefmarken#.C3.96sterreichische_Post. Therefore the general copyright term applies (pma + 70).

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

Austria has a low threshold of originality despite being a civil law country. See the archived discussion on the German Wikipedia.

These logos are  Not OK:

De minimis

De minimis (Unwesentliches Beiwerk) is permissible under § 42e of the Federal Law on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works and Related Rights.[1936-2018 Art.42e]

See also


  1. a b Austria Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  2. Federal Law on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works and Related Rights (Copyright Law 1936, as amended up to Federal Law published in the Federal Law Gazette I No. 63/2018 (BGBI.I No. 63/2018)). Austria (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  3. Eurobike: OGH, Beschluss vom 12.9.2001, 4 Ob 179/01d.
  4. See MM Walter, "Anmerkung zu OGH 22.11.1994, 4 Ob 1105/94 – 'Bundeshymne'" (1995) 13 Medien und Recht international 186 ("Es kann mE aber nicht fraglich sein, daß ein Werk durch eine solche Veröffentlichung oder Aufnahme in ein amtliches Werk nicht seinen urheberrechtlichen Schutz verliert […] Dies gilt insbesondere für Briefmarken, Münzen oder Banknoten; sie werden durch die Veröffentlichung in Amtsblättern (Bundesgesetzblatt, Verordnungsblatt etc), in denen ihre Herausgabe (mit Verordnung) angeordnet wird, nicht zu amtlichen Werken."); MM Walter, Österreichisches Urheberrecht (Medien und Recht 2008) 311 ("Was schließlich die (grafische) Gestaltung von Münzen und Banknoten anlangt, können diese urheberrechtlich geschützt sein. Auch sie sind schon deshalb keine amtlichen Werke, weil sie nicht ausschließlich oder vorwiegend zum amtlichen Gebrauch bestimmt sind. Davon abgesehen handelt es sich auch nicht um Sprachwerke und in der Regel auch nicht um Werke wissenschaftlicher oder belehrender Art im Sinn des § 2 Z 3 UrhG."); M Ciresa, "§ 7" in M Ciresa (ed), Österreichisches Urheberrecht (Orac R 19 2017) para 8 ("Lehr- und Prüfungsmaterialien von Universitäten und Hochschulen sind ebenfalls keine amtlichen Werke […] Dies gilt auch für die grafische Gestaltung von Münzen und Banknoten"); M Röttinger, "Das Urheberrecht an den Euro-Münzen und Euro-Banknoten" (2000) 11 ecolex 654, 655 ("Aufgrund der klaren und engen Formulierung von § 7 öUrhG stellt sich gar nicht ernsthaft die Frage, ob es sich bei Münzen bzw Münzbildern um freie Werke ('amtliche Werke') handelt.").
  5. Bauer logo.
  6. Oberster Gerichtshof statement.
  7. Zimmermann Fitness logo.
  8. Oberster Gerichtshof statement.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer