For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Tuesday, 12 October 2004

INTERESTING IDEA, BUT IS IT LEGAL?

Ananova (quoting but not linking The Times) reports that a 200 yard section of the Berlin Wall is to be rebuilt, to ensure that the brutality of the Communist regime is not forgotten. This proposal has however provoked a fierce debate among Berliners about the limits of remembrance. Alexandra Hildebrandt, who runs the Checkpoint Charlie museum, knew that her idea would be controversial: while the city council will allow the wall to be built only as a temporary art exhibit, she wants to make it permanent, adding:

"For the young, the Berlin Wall is virtually forgotten. We are essentially creating a freedom memorial on a piece of land that was little more than a rubbish dump. I don't see the problem."
The IPKat wonders whether there is an issue in Germany of copyright infringement, as there may well be in the UK. Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, section 4, the Berlin Wall would be a "building or a model for a building" which would attract death-plus-70 years copyright protection as an artistic work. The only issue would be whether the rebuilding of a mere 200 yard section of the 96-mile wall would count as the copying of a "substantial part" of the original wall for infringement purposes.

Other famous walls here, here and here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think that there is much difference in principle between German and UK copyright law here. The Berne treaty requests Member States to protect works of architecture.

However, I don't think that any German court would approve of protecting a copyright in the Berlin Wall. I have elaborated somewhat here:

http://k.lenz.name/LB/archives/000936.html

Karl-Friedrich Lenz

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