Non-assignability of the right of first publication

To consider

In many cases, it will be impossible to publish a work for the first time without the help of third parties, e.g. PhD students who cannot publish their PhD thesis without the help of a publishing house. However, the right of first publication as such cannot be assigned to a third party. However, with the consent of the author, a third party (e.g. a publishing house) can exercise the first publication according to the author’s instructions whether, when, how and under what author’s designation the work should be published. In this regard, authors can in particular assign their property right – above all the right of reproduction – to a publishing house. They can also only permit the publishing house to ‘execute’ the rights of first publication, i.e. grant the publishing house a right to use or a licence to the work. The authorisation given by authors to a third party to publish a work for the first time is described in a contract between the author and a third party.