Influencer Regulation in Austria
Influencer Regulation in Austria

Many individuals frequently share videos online. What's merely private amusement for some, serves as a source of income for influencers. The most successful influencer, Italian Khaby Lane, boasts a staggering 231.4 million followers across multiple platforms. But what are the regulatory implications when private videos suddenly become successful? Apart from tax obligations on income generated through platforms like YouTube or Instagram, another aspect must be considered: whether a social media video-on-demand service needs to be reported. Learn how influencer regulation in Austria works.

What is a Video-on-Demand Service?

Many influencers or online content producers may not be familiar with influencer regulation in Austria through the Audiovisual Media Services Act (AMD-G). According to its legal definition, an audiovisual media service on-demand is one that a media service provider offers for reception at the user's chosen time and upon individual request from a catalog provided by the media service provider (§ 2 Z 4 AMD-G). In essence, these are videos available for streaming on a platform. This definition encompasses not only entire streaming services but also individual videos on platforms like YouTube or TikTok.

Who Needs to Report a Social Media Video-on-Demand Service?

Since a legislative amendment, it's clear that private videos are excluded from the scope of the AMD-G. Exclusions also apply to entities such as schools, museums, theaters, or businesses showcasing their products or services (§ 2a AMD-G). However, there's a caveat: Anyone commercially marketing videos is considered a video-on-demand service provider. The exact definition of commercial activity isn't explicitly stated in the law. Apart from paid streaming platforms, commercial activity may also include earning regular income through advertising (e.g., affiliate marketing or platform advertising). Additionally, the creator of the videos must take responsibility for their content.

Personal Requirements

Those meeting the aforementioned criteria are essentially media service providers. However, they must also meet the personal requirements of the law. Media service providers must be Austrian citizens or citizens of an EEA state (§ 10 Abs 1 and Abs 5 AMD-G). So, if the above criteria are met, and the necessary steps (including editorial decisions) are taken domestically, the provider of the on-demand service must also meet this requirement. This applies even to owners of legal entities.

This poses a challenge for expatriates living in Austria who earn a living producing video content (e.g., through influencing). The legal framework is particularly stringent in such scenarios, offering no avenue for lawful pursuit without either a local partner or naturalization.

Consequences of Reporting

The reported on-demand service is subject to supervision by the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (KommAustria). The operator must maintain records of all components of their service for at least 10 weeks. They must also include an imprint with their name, address or P.O. box, phone number, email address, and state that KommAustria is the relevant regulatory authority. Once the annual revenue surpasses a certain threshold (in 2017, it was around €51,000; no newer information from the authority is available), a fee must be paid to the authority. The authority regularly requests revenue information. Furthermore, there are regulatory directives concerning youth protection, prohibition of works that violate human dignity, and promotion of European works.

Consequences of Non-Reporting

Failure to report when required constitutes an administrative offense punishable by fines of up to €6,000. If a report is rejected by KommAustria (e.g., due to not meeting personal requirements) and the on-demand service continues to operate, fines of up to €40,000 may be imposed.

Do You Have Further Legal Questions Regarding Social Media?

Do you have additional questions about on-demand services or other legal inquiries related to social media or new media? Explore our services and feel free to contact us at office@geuer.at or by phone at +43-1-4380072. We look forward to hearing from you.

Scroll to Top