Posted by: rbbadger | February 7, 2010

Mein Kampf and German copyright law

Under German law, an author retains his or her copyright for seventy years after his or her death.  In 2015, Adolf Hitler’s copyright on Mein Kampf, his book laying out his vision for Germany, will expire.  Hitler left no heirs.  As he claimed Munich as his residence of record, the copyright on this book as well as other things pertaining to the Hitler estate have been held by the Free State of Bavaria. 

The Free State of Bavaria is determined to do what it can to prevent this book from being published in Germany once it enters the public domain.  Because they hold the copyright, they have successfully been able to prevent Hitler’s book from appearing once more on German bookshelves.  Under German law, it is illegal to propogate Nazi ideology.  You can go to jail there for denying the existence of the holocaust.  Some German scholars want to prepare an annotated, scholarly edition of it.  The officials of Bavaria do not care whether it is respected publishers or neo-Nazis who republish it.  It will be seen as disseminating Nazi ideologies and presumably will be prosecuted.

You can read about this controversy here.

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Responses

  1. I hope they prevail and it is never published. It’s a little funny that they had to let the copyright continue, but I suppose for now it’s advantageous. They should burn it.


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