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27 June 2014Copyright

Germany debates Mein Kampf copyright expiration

Germany may be forced to allow Adolf Hitler’s controversial manifesto to be sold for the first time in more than 60 years, when its copyright expires next year.

Ministers have held talks this week to debate whether to allow shops to sell the book or alter the law to ensure it does not become freely available.

Copyright protection of Mein Kampf, which translates as “my struggle”, was passed to the state of Bavaria after Hitler’s death in 1945 following the end of World War II.

The state, which has not released or published the book since, opposes the dissemination of Nazi propaganda.

But after 2015, the 70-year term of protection will have expired, leaving the door open for others to print and sell the book.

According to The Local, an English language German news website, a meeting was held on Wednesday, June 25, between regional and national ministers on at the island of Rügen to discuss the issue.

The possibility of releasing annotated editions for academic use was suggested.

Mein Kampf outlined Hitler’s plans for eastern conquests and his anti-Semitic views.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bavaria’s justice minister Winfried Bausback said the country owed it to victims of the Holocaust and their relatives to do everything it can to prevent the duplication and distribution of the “ideological, inflammatory” text.

“I would prefer this book to be forbidden forever. Regrettably and obviously we cannot prevent a new publication, since the copyright is about to expire.

“So if a publication cannot be avoided, it should be at least guaranteed that there is a scholarly edition which provides a scientific and critical analysis in order to demystify this horrible text,” Bausback said.

The book is widely available abroad, and has been translated into 16 languages, with several editions having been printed after 1945.

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3 March 2015   A German research organisation is reportedly planning to re-publish a version of Adolf Hitler’s controversial book Mein Kampf after the copyright protecting it expires at the end of this year.
4 January 2016   “Mein Kampf”, the manifesto of Adolf Hitler, will be available to buy in Germany for the first time in 70 years after the book’s copyright expired.