Guide to Copyright for Laypeople

Münster (gl) – Publish a calendar with historical recordings, post a video of the club event, use newspaper clippings for a local chronicle – volunteers are often confronted with copyright law. The Westphalian Heimatbund has now presented practical help on this.

“The Westphalian Heimatbund, as the umbrella organization for the Heimat movement in Westphalia, is committed to strengthening civic engagement with a view to creating suitable framework conditions. It is important to us to make voluntary work future-proof and legally secure. The volunteers should be able to dedicate themselves to their work with all their strength and creativity without wasting time in the bureaucratic jungle ”, says Matthias Löb, chairman of the Westphalian Homeland Federation (WHB).

“From our daily consulting practice, we know that many actors are unsettled by increasingly complex legal regulations and are sometimes overwhelmed by it. As a service provider, we would like to start with the new guidelines on copyright law, ”explains WHB Managing Director Dr. Silke Eilers. “There are many points of contact with this topic in the work of our members – be it in press and public relations work, conveying local research, at exhibitions or dealing with archived material. Exemplary case studies, model contracts and checklists are intended to reduce the fear of copyright issues. ”

The WHB worked together with Wilhelm Achelpöhler, specialist lawyer for administrative, copyright and media law from Münster, on the new publication. “From my work, I am well aware of the worries and needs of volunteers. I immediately liked the idea of ​​creating a handout specifically for this target group and presenting a difficult area of ​​law in an understandable way, ”says Achelpöhler. It is about the answer to typical questions such as the use of photos in different contexts, film and music screenings or the use of texts from third parties – topics that do not only concern local associations. “It is important to me to show practicable ways instead of deterring people with technical terms and bans. I assume that there will be a great need for this offer. ”

Some examples from practice:

One estate contains numerous photographs. The heiress donated these photographs to the local Heimatverein. He is now the owner. However, he cannot simply publish them. Because the right to determine whether a photo is reproduced does not belong to the owner, but to the author of the photo – the person who once took it. In case of doubt, when taking over the estate, you should regulate how the works protected by copyright are to be handled.

A homeland association asks itself whether a photo that has already been published in a book or newspaper may be reprinted or put on the Internet for its own purposes. The answer: no. Only those who have the rights of use for reproduction and distribution are allowed to do so. Exceptions apply here for newspaper articles, but exclusively for private purposes. The publication on a website is not a private purpose. If the photo is no longer protected by copyright, however, it can be published.

The Heimatverein would like to use a photo for its website that is on the website of a tourism association. He can include this image on his own page by linking or a so-called frame. Anyone who saves a photo found on the Internet and uploads it to the website makes this photo publicly available again. Permission from the rights holder is required for this. Something different applies, however, if this photo is not saved, but only integrated into your own page via a link. This inclusion of the photo does not represent a renewed public access and is therefore permissible – at least if one does not refer to a page that obviously illegally disseminates the image and special protective devices are not overcome.

The publication “Copyright in Practice. A guide for those who are committed to home is available free of charge from the WHB office, provided that stocks last, and is digitally available


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