publish.UP | Potsdam Publication Portal

Legal Aspects



Note on the Translation of Terms from German Copyright Law (Urheberrechtsgesetz):

  • Exploitation rights (Verwertungsrechte) are the author's rights to make use of his work, e. g. the rights of reproduction, distribution and exhibition
  • Utilisation rights (Nutzungsrechte) define how the author can grant rights of use for his work to others

Publication of Works on the Institutional Repository

In case of the online publication on the Institutional Repository of the University of Potsdam, the exploitation rights to the published work remain with the previous rights holder. This means that the exploitation rights will remain with the authors of the work. If the rights have been transferred to the publisher or the user of rights, they will stay with them.

The rights holder merely transfers the simple right of exploitation for online publication and the rights necessary for digital long-term preservation to the University of Potsdam.

Consequently, the authors retain the right for online or print publication elsewhere. As to the open access policy of the university, see also the information on Open Access at the University of Potsdam, and in particular the Open Access guidelines of the institutional repository.

A simultaneously published print version can be referenced on the introduction page of the electronic document. (See also FAQ)

The rights holders affirm in a declaration of consent with a handwritten signature that:

  • they transfer the simple and permanent right to publish the work on the internet to the University of Potsdam as represented by the university library

  • the rights of third parties are not violated by the publication and the University of Potsdam is released from claims of third parties,

  • the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) may archive and possibly make the works publicly available via their servers,

  • the work may be converted into another format for reasons of archival storage or preservation,

  • and additionally, for doctoral theses
    that the work is equivalent to the work released for publication and identical to the print versions handed in simultaneously.



Recommended for Special Attention in Case of Secondary Publications
(e. g. postprints and cumulative doctoral theses and habilitations (postdoctoral university degrees with lecture qualification))

  • The transferral of rights presupposes that you are the holder of the rights to be transferred, i. e. please review the legal situation of the texts and illustrations written or created by someone else. We will gladly advise you on this matter.

  • In reference to secondary publications, exclusive rights cannot be transferred to a third party. If possible, exclusive rights should not be granted at all. We recommend that you secure your copyrights for the exploitation and utilisation of your own work.

  • The secondary publication is possible without restrictions if the simple but not the exclusive right of utilisation has been granted to the publishing house or in the case that the authors have explicitly reserved themselves the right of parallel online publication.

  • In the event that you have transferred all exploitation rights for your article to the publishing house, you are not free to decide about when and in what form the online publication is effected anymore. In fact, the consent of the publishing house must be obtained. Whether the exclusive rights of utilisation for an article have been transferred can be gathered from the publishing house contract. Should the conditions of the contract be no longer known to you, the SHERPA/RoMEO-Database can serve as an alternative guide to the policies of publishing houses and journals.

    The database can be searched for model contracts and guidelines of the publishing houses which provide information on how authors can effect secondary online publications of their works and how much time must elapse before publication. In the database preprints (before review) and postprints (after review) are differentiated. Frequently, the so-called "Final Draft" (galley proof of the publishing house) is meant when the expression postprint is used.

  • According to § 38 (1) of German copyright law (Urheberrechtsgesetz) the author may, after the expiration of one year after publication in a periodically appearing compilation (journal, anthology etc.), reproduce and publish his or her work elsewhere unless otherwise agreed.

Rights of Utilisation of the General Public in Reference to the Published Work

The terms of German copyright law (Urheberrechtsgesetz) apply to documents which are made available via data networks in electronic form. They hold if and in so far as the author or respectively the rights holder has not declared special conditions by granting a Creative Commons licence.

According to § 53 of German copyright law, the reader is entitled to copy and print the published work for his own scientific or non-commercial use. Furthermore, the limiting provisions of copyright law apply (§§ 44a - 63a UrhG).

A further utilisation presupposes the explicit, prior and written approval of the author or respectively the rights holder. The user is responsible for compliance with the legislation.

Granting a Creative Commons Licence

The strict corset of copyright laws which regulate the utilisation and exploitation of the published work assign comprehensive intellectual property rights and defensive rights to the author (or, respectively, the acquirer of exploitation rights, e. g. a publishing house). To loosen this corset, the work can be published under a Creative Commons licence. The Creative Commons licence permits to deviate from certain regulations of copyright in the spirit of Open Access (see Open Access at the University of Potsdam). It is hoped that barriers for the dissemination of knowledge in research and cultural sectors can thereby be abolished. This would e. g. permit the editing of the work in a different language. Further information can be found on the website of the Creative Commons Organisation: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ.

The transfer of rights takes place via individually selectable and standardised licensing models. The author's personal rights (that is to say, the authorship itself) are not affected by the CC licence, i. e. the author must be credited in every case of use. The dissemination of copies can, however, be approved without agreement of the author, excluding the commercial use where necessary. We offer the following combinations of conditions for publication on our institutional repository which we believe are reasonable:
Available Licences
In the course of registering your publication, the licence can be selected.

Warning!!!

Granting a CC licence is only possible, if and in so far as you possess the rights that conform with the amount of rights licensed. Should you, e. g. in case of a cumulative doctoral theses or a habilitation (postdoctoral university degrees with lecture qualification), receive the simple right for online publication from a publishing house entitled to dispose of it, you may not publish the work made available on the institutional repository under a CC licence!

If the work is published under a CC license, a link on the introduction page of the electronic resource and on the imprint of the document refers to the licence contract which is valid and legally binding. Furthermore, the essential conditions of the licence are specified in abbreviated form, e. g. Creative Commons - Attribution, NonCommercial, ShareAlike 3.0 Germany.

Further Information

FAQ about Open Access and the right of secondary publication (german)
(iuwis - Infrastruktur Urheberrecht für Wissenschaft und Bildung)
The Alliance of German Science Organisations (ADW) has developed a comprehensive guide with FAQs about Open Access and the right of secondary publication (2nd Edition, 2th March 2015 (german)) published on 30th June 2011 under a CC licence (CC-BY). As a first component for the broad FAQ-zone, IUWIS has worked out this document in a way that allows for direct access on particular questions and answers and for annotations, amendments and updates via the comment function.

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