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Austria/ 5.2 Legislation on culture  

Specific federal regulations or Acts include:

  • General Framework Regulations for Granting Supports from Government Funds(1977, amended 2004 and 2009);
  • Federal Arts Promotion Act (1988, amended in 1997, 2000 and 2015);
  • Arts support Act (1981);
  • Public Broadcasting Act (1984, amended in 2007 and 2010);
  • Copyright Act (1996, last amendment in 2015);
  • Film Promotion Act (1980, amended in 2004 and 2010);
  • Federal Theatre Organisation Act (1998, amended 2009, 2012 and 2015);
  • Federal Museums Act (1998, amended in 2002, 2009 and 2010);
  • Museums regulations (2009) for the Kunsthistorische Museum (with the Ethnology Museum and the Austrian Theatre Museum), Albertina, MAK, Natural History Museum, Belvedere, MUMOK, Austrian National Library and the Technical Museum;
  • Monument Preservation Act (amended 1999);
  • Arts Restitution Act (1998, amended 2010);
  • Artists' Social-Security Fund Act (2000, amended 2008) further changes 2009/10, from Jan 2011 the Artists' Social-Security Structure Act (KSVSG);
  • Actors' Act (1922), from 2011 Theatre Employment Law Act;
  • Film-Television Agreement (1981; amended 2003 and 2011);
  • Federal Law on Retail Price Maintenance for Books (2000, amended 2004, 2007);
  • Collection Societies' Act (1936, amended 2006); and
  • Salzburg Festival Fund Act (1950).

Laws on the Promotion of Culture have also been adopted by the federal Bundesländer, with the exception of Vienna.

In addition to direct public support for the arts and culture, Austrian legislation provides for a number of important instruments of indirect support for the arts. This refers to various legal provisions of social policy and fiscal policy, the system of social insurance for artists, measures taken in the field of labour market management, copyright legislation (both direct and indirect payments such as library royalties), the encouragement of private sector support for the arts by means of tax exemptions, tax deductions for private donations and for arts sponsorship, as well as promotion of art-works for buildings financed with public money. While such policies are welcome, surprisingly few sector specific legal regulations have been formulated in areas such as orchestras or theatres.

Austria has committed itself to cooperation with numerous European and international arts and cultural agreements and works together with the EU, the Council of Europe and UNESCO:

  • Council of Europe European Cultural Convention;
  • Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (FARO);
  • UNESCO World Heritage Convention;
  • UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage;
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; and
  • Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Chapter published: 02-02-2016

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