The IPKat has been monitoring for a while a developing story in Germany about the ongoing battle between the Bavarian State government (Bavarian Ministry of Finance) and a British publisher concerning the republication of a series of historical newspapers, including historical Nazi newspapers.
According to German media reports (and the Bavarian Ministry of Finance's website) the state of Bavaria holds the copyright for many of the Nazi publications, such as the Voelkischer Beobachter, after it took over the rights of the main Nazi party publishing house Eher-Verlag after the end of World War II as part of the Allies' de-Nazification programme. Bavaria has so far not allowed unannotated reprints of these publications due to the Nazi propaganda content. What is allowed are reprints of parts of articles put in the proper context and combined with historical scholarly comments. In the current case, the Bavarian state also objected to the reprint because the educational comments were only included in the covering pages of the reprint. Once the outer cover pages are removed, which reportedly is easily done, the newspaper looks exactly like it did during Nazi times--something which the Bavarian state does not want see published. The Bavarian state has so far taken a similarly strict approach when it comes to the possible re-publication of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in Germany, which has not been republished in its entirety in Germany since the end of World War II. It should be noted that the Bavarian State did not question that Albertas was an an educational publisher.
Wilfried Krames, a spokesman for the Bavarian justice ministry is cited by the BBC as saying: "The criminal proceedings are under way and the prosecutors are taking this case very seriously." He is further cited as having said that "... because of our country's history, there are regulations in Germany's criminal code which govern the use of Nazi symbols." "Even a reprint of a Nazi newspaper is unconstitutional because the publisher is still reproducing Nazi emblems and this also represents a breach of copyright law".
(1) Whoever domestically disseminates or produces, stocks, imports or exports or makes publicly accessible through data storage media for dissemination domestically or abroad, means of propaganda: (...)
4. means of propaganda, the contents of which are intended to further the aims of a former National Socialist organization, ...shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine. (...)
However.... (3) Subsection (1) shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.