Content notification

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The content notification is a term from German copyright law and refers to the table of contents of an unpublished copyrighted work.

Section 12 (2) UrhG , which applies to the right of first publication, stipulates:

"It is reserved for the author to publicly communicate or describe the content of his work, as long as neither the work nor the essential content or a description of the work has been published with his consent."

As long as the author has not released his creation for publication, nobody should publish it - not even in short form or in the form of a summary.

For example, if a researcher finds an unpublished play by Gerhart Hauptmann ( who died less than 70 years before 2016 ) in his estate , he also needs the consent of the rights holder if he writes a scientific article about this play in which he summarizes its content .

Notification of the content of published works

According to the prevailing copyright opinion, it follows from § 12 (2) UrhG, conversely , that the content can be freely communicated and described after publication. However, with reference to the decision of the Reichsgericht Operettenführer ( RGZ 129, 252), it is stated that the description should in no way replace reading the content.

The extent of the content reproduction allowed depends on the purpose. Informing the public about the content of a book without further discussion will have to be shorter than a critical discussion, for example in the context of an interpretation or book review (Erdmann, p. 20).

Admissibility of abstracts

German courts had to deal with the question of whether abstracts of specialist literature may be published without the consent of the rights holder and answered in the affirmative. In 2003, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court saw no interference with the rights of the author or database producer in the creation of the publication of abstracts for a legal news service. As a result, the Frankfurt Regional Court also ruled on the multi-page summary of a scientific work.

In 2006, the Frankfurt Regional Court dismissed a lawsuit against the Perlentaucher portal for disseminating summaries of the contents of press articles. The judgment is not final.

Admissibility of tables of contents

The communication of the table of contents of a book, especially in library catalogs (see catalog enrichment ), does not pose any copyright problems whatsoever . It is always considered admissible.



  1. netbib weblog - abstracts and copyright
  2. ^ Judgment of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court of April 1, 2003 - copyright admissibility of "abstracts"
  3. full text, PDF