Copyreich: Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the distribution of Mein Kampf is today severely limited. The German ban on the late Führer's book has political rather than financial motives. The book is considered a symbol (and of course supportive) of the nazi regime, which itself was rather keen on banning books which it didn't like, and banning Mein Kampf is therefore a logical consequence of Germany's present support for freedom of speech, even though it may at first glance seem like a rather paradoxical move.

In order to prevent new editions from being printed outside of Germany, where German censorship laws are difficult to enforce, German authorities support the notion that Adolf Hitler's copyright has been legally transferred to the Finance Ministry of the Free State of Bavaria. In this way, the international Berne Convention for the protection of literary works can be cleverly applied to make the ban globally effective, to the extent copyright laws of foreign countries allow it.

Early confiscation of copyrights in Germany
Photo provided by Folket i Bild/Kulturfront

Updated 1997-03-10
Anders Andersson