Anyone who spreads information via mass channels can cause damage – in particular, injuring the privacy or reputation of others or, in extreme cases, destroying them. Media law provides claims for the financial compensation of the insult suffered – for example in the case of libel or violation of privacy – in particularly severe cases the compensation awarded for “non-pecuniary damages” caused by mass media communication may reach up to € 50,000.
In addition, the Austrian Media Act contains provisions which are intended to prevent media manipulation – such as the obligation to label paid publications or the imprint and disclosure obligations.
Images have two legal sides: The rights of the image manufacturer (eg photographer, illustrator or graphic artist) are protected by copyright. Tip: Be careful with pictures from the internet – use of such images will usually, and in any case for commercial purposes, require you to obtain license rights.
The personality rights of the depicted may require their consent too. When publishing photos of recognizably depicted persons interferes with their legitimate interests such as honor or privacy, depicted persons must be asked for permission. Use of photos depicting persons for advertising purposes – for example for illustration of a corporate website – usually requires consent of the depicted.
E-Commerce & Provider Liability
Mere storage of information provided by a recipient of the service is subject to a liability privilege. This host provider privilege is the basis of the business model of services as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. The privilege, however, no longer applies once the service provider has been informed that one of the service recipients uses the service for violation of copyright, privacy or honor and reputation of another person unless infringing content is then removed with immediacy. Such an indication therefore requires prompt and thorough examination and, possibly, takedown of content stored by service recipients.
Under Austrian copyright, the code to computer programs is protected as a linguistic work. Software distribution is therefore a licensing business. Key Success Factor: Waterproof license agreements.