Exclusive copyrights are limited by legal barriers that strive to take account of the justified interests of the general public in gaining access to protected works. These barriers include § 58 of the German Copyright Act, which allows organisers of art exhibitions and art dealers to use works of art without the approval of or payment to artists for advertisements for exhibitions and sales. Public museums, libraries and educational establishments may also reproduce such works in exhibition catalogues and inventories without obtaining rights. The author examines whether the revised § 58 of the German Copyright Act is compatible with the criteria of international, European and German constitutional law and to what extent the use of art works in catalogues and advertsing is permissible under European and German constitutional law. Apart from German copyright law, the French and US copyrights laws are discussed in detail and with practical relevance. It is shown that under neither the »droit d’auteur« nor the US copyright the use of artworks is exempt to such a wide extent as it is under § 58 of the German Act.
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