Please note: First of all, the author of a work has the right to grant a license. However, he can transfer this right to a publisher, for example, by assigning rights of use, which makes the publisher the licensor. In the following text, the term author is used for the sake of simplicity for authors and licensors.


Katrin Falkenstein-Feldhoff
+49 (0) 203 37 91504

Sonja Hendriks
+49 (0) 203 37 92027

Beatrix Kaizler
+49 (0) 203 37 92079

Elisabeth Wünnerke
+49 (0) 203 37 92016

Licensing and copyright

Copyright law stipulates that content may only be distributed and used if all authors expressly permit this.

Therefore "All rights reserved" always applies.

When publishing on an institutional Open Access repository such as DuEPublico, only reading, downloading for personal use and use within the citation rights or copyright restrictions is permitted.

All rights reserved means:

  • Any further use (distribution, republication, translation, changes to the document, etc.) beyond the limits of the copyright law is illegal without the consent of the author.
  • Consent can be requested individually from the author or granted generally via licenses.

Granting free licenses for publications (Creative Commons licenses)

Free licenses are standardized tools that allow authors to set general terms of use for their works and to indicate the permitted use. "Creative Commons Licenses" (CC Licenses) are generally used for publications. They are based on copyright law and do not undermine it.

CC licenses always license the work and not the edition, so the license must be noted in the digital and printed version of a publication.

Once a license has been granted, it cannot be revoked or modified! Therefore, it is important to think about the scope of the licenses before you issue them.

If a work has been created by several authors, all of them must agree to grant the license.

Important: A CC license does not release you from the obligation to quote or to indicate the source of a citation!

Modules and license models


The licenses work according to the modular principle and consist of four components that can be combined with each other to form six license models.

The CC licenses are available in different versions. The most recent version is 4.0, which is also recommended on DuEPublico.

Further information about the CC licenses can be found here:

Be careful with older licenses!

Older licenses contain stricter rules for correct information about the original work in case of subsequent uses. For example, the Creative Commons license CC-BY 2.0 loses its validity immediately if no link to the original work is provided or if a modification made (in terms of copyright law, see license module ND) is not indicated.

In principle, a subsequent user can receive a warning for this. Such a warning does not necessarily have to have legal consequences, but has already been used to make a profit with warning fees. For works with an older license it is therefore important to pay attention to the exact citation.

For your own works, if possible, you should always use the latest version 4.0 of the license to facilitate subsequent use. With version 4.0, the rules for citation of sources have been made more flexible and the possibility to correct rule violations within 30 days has been created.

Creative Commons also allows authors to re-license their works under the current version of the previously selected license.

BY, Attribution



This module is part of every license model.

Therefore, the author, the source and any changes made must always be indicated.

SA, ShareAlike



The SA module states that the adapted / modified version of a work must be published under the same conditions - i.e. the same license.

For further information on the meaning of "adaption" or "modification" refer to the ND module.

NC, NonCommercial



The module NC excludes any commercial exploitation of the work by third parties. The author or the owner of the rights of use may continue to distribute the work commercially.

Problem: What does "commercial use" mean?

This refers to any use that is primarily aimed at a business advantage or at a monetary remuneration. However, there is no more precise definition on the part of creative commons, so that there are many individual case decisions and grey areas arise due to the uncertain legal situation. This could lead, for example, to the fact that publications that are under an NC license are not published on advertising-financed blogs.

In order not to possibly unintentionally restrict the use and distribution on blogs, in free knowledge databases and scientific communities, granting this restrictive license should be considered very carefully in advance. Alternatively, the module "SA" can be chosen, which does not exclude commercial use, but strongly restricts it.

ND, NoDerivatives



The ND module does not allow any adaption or modification of a work.

Problem: What does "adaption" or "modification" mean?

It is always an adaptation or modification when the core statement of a work changes so much that the newly created work becomes worthy of copyright again. Furthermore, the translation of texts and the setting of videos to music are always considered to be an adaptation!

Purely technical changes, e.g. the transfer from one format to another (e.g. Word to PDF) do not count as an adaption.

The insertion of works into collections does not constitute processing!


Copyright and commercial property rights

A publication or document often contains several rights next to each other:

Example: The source code of a computer program may be protected by copyright and the underlying idea by patent law. In the case of Microsoft, for example, trademark law is also involved, which must be observed.

  • Copyright
  • Related rights (ancillary copyright, database right)
  • Trademark rights
  • Design rights
  • Personal rights

Please note:
All contents on these pages are for information purposes only and are not legally binding.