Commentary on:
Austrian Copyright Act (1846)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: d_1846b


Austrian Copyright Act (1846)

Friedemann Kawohl

School of Finance & Law, Bournemouth University, UK


Please cite as:
Kawohl, F. (2008) ‘Commentary on the Austrian Copyright Act (1846), in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. References


1. Full title

Austrian Law for the protection of literary and artistic property against unauthorised publication, reprinting and reproduction (1846)


2. Abstract

The Copyright Act of 19 October 1846 was the first modern copyright legislation in Austria and was in force until it was replaced by the Copyright Act of 26 December 1895. The main provisions had been anticipated in the bilateral treaty between Austria and Sardinia (d_1840). The new statute covered just the hereditary lands of the Habsburg monarchy and so did not apply to Hungary or Transylvania.


The author was invested with an exclusive right by this Act, which incorporated the copyright terms set out in the federal resolutions of 1837 (d_1837) - 30 years p.m.a. for printed works - and 1845 - 10 years p.m.a. for performing rights, as long as these had been explicitly reserved. An exclusive right to publish a translation could be reserved for one year (§ 5c). Likewise, music publishers and composers could reserve for one year the right to an "arrangement or adaptation of a musical composition for different, or less, instruments" . The restrictions on translations and musical compositions led to protests by publishers from both Austria and other member states of the German Confederation.


3. References


Books and articles [in alphabetical order]

Harum, P., Die gegenwärtige österreichische Pressgesetzgebung (Vienna: Manz, 1857)

Hofmeister, H., "Die Entwicklung des Urheberrechts in Österreich vom aufgeklärten Absolutismus bis zum Jahre 1895" in R. Dittrich (ed.), Woher kommt das Urheberrecht und wohin geht es?  (Vienna: Manz, 1988), 135-146

Schuster, H., "Die Entstehung des Urheberrechtspatentes vom 19. Oktober 1846. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der österreischischen Gesetzgebung", Juristische  Blätter 20 (1891): 279-280, 291-294, 303-305, 315-318, 327-313, 393-341 (Prague: H. Domenicus, 1891). Reprinted in UFITA (= Archiv für Urheber- und Medienrecht) (2000) 513-562

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