3.4.4 Assignment of copyrights under employment relationships and in the educational sector

Creative works are often produced during an employment relationship or in the educational sector.

  • Authors can be in an employment relationship governed by private or public law and create a work protected by copyright as part of their duties under their employment contract; for example, journalists employed by a newspaper, whose remit includes the writing of articles. This is also true for teachers or lecturers or other employees of educational institutions who prepare teaching materials and lecture notes for their pupils, students or supervisors.

Does the employer also have copyrights in the work in these cases?

  • Pupils, apprentices, students or PhD students can also become authors during their school education, university study or other professional training, e.g. of master’s, bachelor’s or PhD theses, works created as part of the curriculum (poems, photographs, etc.), or handcrafted artworks (e.g. carpentry work, art portfolio of an applicant to an art school)

Do the (educational) institutions also have copyrights in the work in these cases?