Attribution of author at work -
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Why does the author belong to the work?


4 min.

The author must be named on the work

German copyright law is a key element in protecting the rights and interests of creators. It is important not only to define the legal framework for the use of works, but also to ensure that authors are recognised. This article looks at the importance of attribution, particularly in the digital age, and explains the need to correctly attribute and licence images, text and other media on websites. - Why the author belongs to the work.

German copyright law

Copyright protects the intellectual property of the creators of literary, scientific and artistic works. In Germany, copyright is governed by the Copyright Act (UrhG). It gives authors the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and publicly reproduce their works. In addition, authors have the right to have their authorship recognised. This means that they must be named as the creator of a work if their work is used.

The necessity of naming the author

The naming of the author is essential for several reasons:

  1. Recognition and appreciation
    • Naming the author ensures that the creative work of the creators is recognised and appreciated.
  2. Transparency
    • By naming the author, the origin of a work is made transparent, which also helps to ensure the integrity and authenticity of information.
  3. Legal obligation
    • According to the Copyright Act, authors have a legal right to be named as the creator of their works.

Labelling obligation on websites

The correct labelling of images, texts and other media is particularly important on the internet. Website operators must ensure that they own the rights to use and publish the works used on their site. This can be done by obtaining permission from the author or by purchasing a corresponding licence.

Important aspects of labelling

  1. Attribution
    • The author's name should be indicated in the immediate vicinity of the work.
  2. Licence information
    • If works are used under a special licence, the licence conditions should be clearly stated. For example with Creative Commons licences.

Legal consequences of non-compliance

Failure to name the author and the unlicensed use of works can have considerable legal consequences:

  1. Warnings
    • Authors can issue warnings in the event of copyright infringements. This is often associated with high costs for the website operator.
  2. Claims for damages
    • In addition to the warning costs, authors can claim damages. This is often calculated according to the so-called licence analogy principle, i.e. the amount that the infringer would have had to pay if he had acquired a licence.
  3. Legal steps
    • In the worst case, legal disputes can arise, which are associated with even higher costs and a considerable loss of image.


Crediting the author is not only a question of legal obligation, but also of recognising and appreciating creative work. On websites in particular, care must be taken to ensure that images, texts and other media are correctly labelled and licensed. Compliance with these regulations not only protects against legal consequences, but also promotes transparency and integrity in the handling of creative works. Website operators should therefore always inform themselves about the legal framework and ensure that they have the necessary permissions and licences.

See also eRecht24 on copyright law

If you want to have your website revised with regard to correct copyright attribution:

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