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Books

Copyright Expires On Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf 420

HughPickens.com writes: Adolf Hitler's Nazi manifesto Mein Kampf was originally printed in 1925 — eight years before Hitler came to power. After Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria who refused to allow the book to be reprinted to prevent incitement of hatred. Now BBC reports that under European copyright law, the rights of an author of a literary or artistic work runs for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death — in Hitler's case on 30 April 1945, when he shot himself in his bunker in Berlin, so for the first time in 70 years, Mein Kampf will be available to buy in Germany.

Authorizing the book's release into the public domain has been a tortuous process. In 2012 it was agreed, after much consultation between Bavarian authorities and representatives of Jewish and Roma communities, that a scholarly edition should be planned in an attempt to demystify the book. Munich's Institute of Contemporary History will publish the new edition with thousands of academic notes, will aim to show that Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is incoherent and badly written, rather than powerful or seductive. From the original book's 1,000 pages, the publisher has produced a two-volume book that is twice as long as the original, with 3,700 annotations. Christian Hartmann, one of the team of five historians who spent several years working on the academic edition, described his relief at being able to analyze the text, even if he felt in need of regularly airing his tiny Munich office in order to cope with the task. "It is a real feeling of triumph, to be able to pick over this rubbish and then to debunk it bit by bit."
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Copyright Expires On Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf

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  • How much of a work can be included for the purposes of critique, and how much does this vary from nation to nation?

    • by Afty0r ( 263037 )

      How much of a work can be included for the purposes of critique

      IANA(copyright)L but everything I've heard about this seems to indicate that in the UK and US points to the interpretation of the word "fair" as being up to the judge when it goes to court.

  • If only we could apply this to other works too...
    I'd love it if all copies of The Communist Manifesto came pre-Fisked [wikipedia.org]. It would help people from getting confused their first year in college.

    • I was thinking the opposite, just publish it. Our societies are more and more afraid of letting people make up their own minds (however much of a struggle that may be) without guidance and context which add their own, often hidden biases.

      After reading that editor's comments, I half expect the book to be published with lots of crossings-out and big red scrawls saying, "WRONG!!! Do it again!!!! F minus".
      I hope the added material will try to be measured and reasonable for a critical reader to accept and

      • I agree - just publish it. If you're afraid that the population will be seduced by it, you have bigger problems than the book.

        • If you're afraid that the population will be seduced by it, you have bigger problems than the book.

          +5 Insightful . . . probably the most insightful thing that I have read on Slashdot in the last 20 years. Now if my mod points had not only slid down the cracks in my sofa tonight . . .

        • by dj245 ( 732906 )

          I agree - just publish it. If you're afraid that the population will be seduced by it, you have bigger problems than the book.

          Better still, every book sold could have a percent of the proceeds donated to a Jewish charity. It wouldn't be the first time. I borrowed the idea from a January 1939 newspaper article [nla.gov.au]

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      If only we could apply this to other works too... I'd love it if all copies of The Communist Manifesto came pre-Fisked [wikipedia.org]. It would help people from getting confused their first year in college.

      Nothing helps freshmen from getting confused in their first year in college. Take away one source of confusion and plenty of others will take its place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by unixisc ( 2429386 )

      If only we could apply this to other works too... I'd love it if all copies of The Communist Manifesto came pre-Fisked [wikipedia.org]. It would help people from getting confused their first year in college.

      That, and the Quran, Hadiths, Tafseers and Sira - the 'sacred' books of Islam. That is, take all these works, annotate them heavily w/ the critiques of Ali Sina, Srjda Trifkovic, Bat Yeor and others who have studied it from something other than a devotional approach, and then release it. Outlaw the original versions of Bukhari, Ibn Khatir, Ibn Ishaq, Jalalayn, Mawdidi and so on. It would help decontaminate the mind of today's Nazis i.e. non-agnostic Muslims.

      • The same for the Bible since there are many different versions, not to mention the Old and New Testaments or the many books the Vatican refuses to acknowledge as part of its history, such as the Gospel of Mary.

        If one could get into the underground Vatican library and root around for one day, the amount of contradictory material and hidden treasures of Catholic doctrine being butchered would be very enlightening.

        I know someone who's sister does translations of old Latin and has been to the library. According

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >Outlaw the original versions

        Outlawing books? What THE FUCK is wrong with you?

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I'd love it if all copies of The Communist Manifesto came pre-Fisked

      As would I with APK posts. In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I opened a page on my wiki to collaboratively Fisk APK's claims about hosts [pineight.com].

  • Why the fuzz? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boa ( 96754 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:17PM (#51230421)

    Why the fuzz over this old book?

    The book has been available in almost all countries except Germany, it is available on Amazon in both German and English, and it is of course available on the Internet, e.g. on www.hitler.org. Anyone interested in Mein Kampf can read it for free or for a few dollars. It hasn't caused a neo-nazi uprise anywhere so far, and it won't even if it is published in Germany.

    I don't get it.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:25PM (#51230453) Homepage

      Now Disney can make an animated movie of it.

      • by mjm1231 ( 751545 )

        Meh, I'll wait for the movie version of the Broadway adaptation of the animated movie based on the book.

    • I think because it's a symbol of censorship. Not just censorship, but of censorship attempting to kill an ideology in a conquered regime.
      • I think because it's a symbol of censorship.

        Interesting. What's publishing a version of the book with analysis designed specifically to discredit it a symbol of?

        • I think because it's a symbol of censorship.

          Interesting. What's publishing a version of the book with analysis designed specifically to discredit it a symbol of?

          I think the GP meant that the Bavarian government's refusal to publish Mein Kampf was a symbol of censorship. And perhaps it was. But I also think it was a symbol of rejection of a kind of evil that the world has seen rarely.

        • What's publishing a version of the book with analysis designed specifically to discredit it a symbol of?

          That's a different question, and I don't know the answer. However, there are plenty of academics in Germany (and France, for that matter) with some of the limitations they've been given on free speech, so perhaps it is a symbolic attempt at freedom, in a very German way (given that Germans have a reputation for following strictly the rules and regulations).

    • Re:Why the fuzz? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:30PM (#51230477) Homepage

      Any neo-nazi fanboi able to read could have already read it; it's not like the lack of official publication made it impossible to attain.
      I don't really care to read it myself and more than I'd like to read some other politician nutjob's manifesto, but if the fear is that people reading it will become nazi's... those types people rarely require any reading to be like they are.

      • Re:Why the fuzz? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by boa ( 96754 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:38PM (#51230519)

        Good points.

        As a history geek, I've read parts of it. It wasn't very interesting, except for the fact that Hitler so described his Lebensraum plans. There was no doubt at all that Hitler planned to invade eastern Europe and attack Russia. (http://hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch14.html )

        This fact raises the obvious question: why the hell didn't the Western powers stop him earlier? Why did they try to appease a man who so clearly stated his intentions? Were they, England and France, complete morons?

        • Re:Why the fuzz? (Score:4, Informative)

          by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:54PM (#51230583) Journal
          Appeasement? Or at least the tendency of most leaders not to rush into a war from which very little can be gained. And history is repeating itself, albeit at a smaller scale: see Turkey and Erdogan.
          • Not to mention that it had been less than 20 years since the First World War ended, there was very little public support for another until it was obviously inevitable.

        • Actually, that aspect - of him wanting to invade the Soviet Union - makes one wonder why Stalin refused to believe until the last moment that Hitler had those plans on his country. Sometimes, I wonder whether Stalin was secretly in bed w/ Hitler regarding that, and only turned b'cos Hitler violated some aspect of their deal (beyond the actual invasion)
          • Sometimes, I wonder whether Stalin was secretly in bed w/ Hitler regarding that,
            Depends what you mean with "regarding that".

            Stalin was openly in bed with Hitler as both agreed to conquer Poland and divide it up amoung themselves.

        • Here are my answers (which you may purchase for the small price of sending properly formatted electrons to the Slashdot server):

          This fact raises the obvious question: why the hell didn't the Western powers stop him earlier?

          Because they were tired of war, and really didn't want to fight anymore. People who favored stopping Hitler were accused of being "warmongers." I can't particularly blame people for not wanting war after the carnage of WW1.

          Why did they try to appease a man who so clearly stated his intentions? Were they, England and France, complete morons?

          I think they underestimated the strength of Germany. They thought something like, "We just beat them down, they are weaker than us, and too weak to stand against

          • The misjudgement of the strength of Germany can be most clearly seen in the Maginot Line.

            Yea and no. The Maginot line was defeated with "new technology" or more precisely with new ideas. On top of that it was not well defended when it was attacked, as no one expected an attack, the soldiers where not alerted.

            This are the main concepts:
            * The assault was carried out simultaneously on most fortifications
            * The "paratroopers" landed with troop carrying paragliders directly on top of the fortesses (gliding plane

        • This fact raises the obvious question: why the hell didn't the Western powers stop him earlier? Why did they try to appease a man who so clearly stated his intentions? Were they, England and France, complete morons?

          Oh, just take a look at the current Islamic invasion of Western society today . . . in 100 years, the historian folks will be calling us morons :-)

          I travel sometimes with a work colleague of mine . . . when we need to go through the airport security checks, he says, "Well, it's time for us to pay our Islam tax again!" Actually, he did a paper napkin calculation of what Islam costs on productivity . . . folks standing around in security lines because of Islam, instead of doing something productive . . . a

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            When the war against "Islam" is over, you will certainly find another resource somewhere on the planet where you can fight over.

            Then you will suppress people of nationality X,
            impose "the american way of live" on them,
            depose the legally voted or heritage based government,
            set up your puppet government,
            enable them to violate human rights and capture, torture, kill regime critics,
            actively helping your new cronies with your CIA and companies like "Blackwater",
            in parallel you set up a secret underground movement,

        • This fact raises the obvious question: why the hell didn't the Western powers stop him earlier? Why did they try to appease a man who so clearly stated his intentions? Were they, England and France, complete morons?

          Why do we try to appease now people who so clearly state their intentions? (in Arabic, Farsi, etc. )

        • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

          war fatigue over WWI was a big part of it, which really, people today have forgotten just how utterly devastating that war was. But there was a reason people at the time called it The War To End All Wars: not because of the large numbers of people and countries involved, but for the sheer distaste for war it left in everyone's psyche. The numbers of maimed survivors and killed. The devastated countryside, thousands of square miles reduced to rubble and wasteland, littered with bodies.

          as well as for the same

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Because life is too short for people to spend their precious time fighting a fringe ideology like neo-nazism, but nonetheless feel "something ought to be done".

      When "something ought to be done" is the only guideline people have, it's because whether that something is effective is unimportant to them.

    • That's exactly what I was thinking. It's not difficult to get one's hands on this book. It's actually been a best seller in Turkey and in Arab countries, since its Judeophobic appeal is the strongest there. I know that they want to sanitize the book before allowing its release, but they need to first do something about it in those countries where the only thing that they hold against Hitler is not finishing the job.
    • I checked it out of the public library here in Canada back in the '70s. Booooring.
    • It hasn't caused a neo-nazi uprise anywhere so far

      Well...

      http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/03/... [cnn.com]

    • Re:Why the fuzz? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @04:03PM (#51231551)

      Mah, worth a read. As is Das Kapital and other "bad" books. I found it amusing. A bit repetitive. But every once and a while for a few pages I'd totally agree with him then it would be "because of the dirty jews" and I'd be thinking what wait, what?

      Example: he sees it as the job of the state to ensure that there are sufficient resources for the populous. Foreign/non-contiguous colonies aren't the answer because they are hard to defend and tend to revolt/separate. So you need to expand in your own boundaries. Germany being the largest population logically then should fight to have the largest landmass in europe. Also people of similar cultures and language should group together (hence Austria). A bit aggressive for my tastes but logically consistent. But then as mentioned, go off and blame all the problems on Jews and such, seems very tangential. Anyways worth a read.

      It perhaps sucks to be the author is such cases but I think at some level books that have truly historical significance shouldn't be copyrightable. It is one thing for the latest Star Wars movie or whatever, regardless of what they'd like you to think, not having seen it wouldn't be a great loss to you. You might miss out on a few inside jokes but your political/humanistic/whatever you want to call it growth wouldn't be stunted. Of particular obvious (to me) example for things that shouldn't be copyrightable: religious texts Scientology, translations of the Bible, etc for example. You shouldn't be considered a tax exempt charity because you are "working for the benefit of humanity" while charging a fee for the right to print your propaganda. They shouldn't be tax exempt at all IMO, but if they are they definitely shouldn't be able to prevent you from getting a hold of their books as cheaply as possible (your tax dollars have indirectly already supported their cause).

  • Hey, Dice and HughPickens.com, what's with all the posts linking to "The Grauniad"?

  • It's more like an attempt to bury the book completely in the annotations so nobody wants to read it, including scholars. Which is probably the point of the exercise.

  • "It is a real feeling of triumph, to be able to pick over this rubbish and then to debunk it bit by bit."

    It was kind of a... triumph of the will.
  • Somewhat related: also the diary of Anne Frank is now in the public domain under the same rules, since she died about 2 months before Hitler. This is disputed [boingboing.net] by the Anne Frank Foundation, who claims that her father was co-author and that the work should thus remain under copyright for at least another 15 years. As a protest, the Dutch original text is now put online by several French politicians [isabelleattard.fr].
  • Expiration (Score:5, Informative)

    by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:27PM (#51230467)

    This is about copyrights actually expiring thus "unlocking" the material from the equivalent of the Disney Vault (_citation_ [wikipedia.org]) so to speak; oh, if I only had a dollar for every person on Earth that does not know copyrights have an expiration date...

    That being said, in still Pre-TPP Canada, our expiration date is "only" half a century after the entire remaining lifespan of the author, so in this (and in many, many others) Mein Kampf has been in the public domain for two decades, and I don't see a large National Socialist Canadian Worker's Party.

    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
      I'd settle for a dollar for every person that doesn't even know what a copyright is - I'm less greedy, that way. Be a bit easier to determine, less room for subjectivity. Probably 95% of your amount, regardless.
  • It really is the perfect timing. Trump can have people "write" "My Kampf!" with his name on it, and make a fortune selling it to the dummies.
  • Copyright is based on authorship. So, while the main text of Mein Kampf is in the public domain, this new two-volume work will legitimately claim a new copyright. The new copyright will come from all those notes, which were created through acts of authorship. Contrary to the other contemporary story of Otto Frank, editorship is sweat of the brow, while authorship is creativity (see https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki... [gutenberg.org] , for example). Translation does qualify as authorship, since is an intellectual creative

  • Disney's lawyers could have told them how to make their copyright last forever.

  • " the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria "

    There's your problem right away. They had no right to do that, the guy was never put on trial much less convicted and even if, getting his copyright stolen is not one of any punishments in Germany or any other country.
    The Schicklgruber (Hitler's name before they changed it) family should have gotten the money instead.

    • by WoOS ( 28173 )

      The Schicklgruber family should have gotten the money instead.

      Nobody got any money because - as even the summary mentions - the copyright was used to block publishing in Germany.

    • Their are laws which prevent profiting from autobiographies and such (aka profiting from your crime). There do similarly take away an autobiographical work, I could see an argument being used that Hitler's crimes would of fuelled the sales of the book.

      • "Their are laws which prevent profiting from autobiographies and such (aka profiting from your crime). "

        Yes, for _convicted_ felons after the fact, not dead people who wrote something in their youth.

  • by tylersoze ( 789256 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:18PM (#51230725)

    You know who else wrote a book? Hilter!

  • The only vague reference to a copyright topic in the summary (and the Guardian article) is

    Authorizing the book's release into the public domain has been a tortuous process.

    which is of course complete rubbish. The copyright ended according to law on New Years Eve and the book was thus automatically released into the Public Domain. No process needed for that nor was it tortuous. The commented edition which was written by German scholars during the last years (and had to overcome some political problems) is a completely different topic and has nothing to do with the original book now being

  • It is a real feeling of triumph, to be able to pick over this rubbish and then to debunk it bit by bit.

    It really sounds like their is nothing scholarly about the edition. More like the Mocking Hitler Edition. Coupled with the original text, which judging by its title, this has to be the most vainglorious and conceited book ever written.

    But seriously, we cannot just release a book with undoubtable historical significance. Because, it was written by the losing side in one of the most recent wars we have to deface it first?

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @03:43PM (#51231457) Homepage

    When can we end this insanity that is copyright? How does anyone think it is a good idea to allow copyright to be used to totally prevent and suspress the use of intellectual property?

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @08:19PM (#51238735)
    Donald Trump has his total party platform free of charge.

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