Right of Quotation, Section 51 UrhG

Use of third-party, protected, small-scale extracts from works as quotations in own presentations or scripts as part of teaching at a university is permitted under Section 51 UrhG, provided the quotation is clearly identified as such and has an intrinsic connection to one’s own work.

This means that one’s own work relates to the quotation insofar as the quotation serves to support one’s own viewpoint or one’s own text discusses the quotation. This right of quotation has very strict limits and must be distinguished from the usage rights granted under Section 52 a UrhG.

In the following section, we will pose 3 key questions, using the example of image citation. Answering these questions should help you, when figuring out if you are allowed to cite a certain picture. In the use of images “outside of Stud.IP”, please only rely on citation freedom in exceptional cases!

  • Is the picture quotation used to explain the content of my own work (for ex. lecture/event) and is there a critical discussion of the picture?
  • Is this exact picture needed, to fulfill the purpose of the quote? (Arbitrariness)
  • Does my statement, which is supplemented by the picture, persist, even if I omit the quoted picture?

Only if you can answer all three questions with “yes”, you are allowed to cite the respective picture. If not, or in case of doubt: please obtain the necessary rights of use from the owner (usually the publisher), possibly by purchasing a license.

This also applies to scientific text quotations. These do not fall under section 52 a UrhG and may therefore be used unchanged.

Exact information on the source has to be given, as is common for scientific articles.

Disclaimer: this is no binding legal advice. We assume no liability for the correctness, completeness or up-to-dateness of this information.