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.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Will over-exposure set in? A postscript to the "Mein Kampf" copyright saga

As an aside, Charlie Chaplin's
movie The Great Dictator was
banned in several countries
Our readers may recall the copyright dispute over Adolf Hitler's infamous Mein Kampf ("My struggle") between a British publisher who had planned to publish selected excerpts of Mein Kampf in Germany and the Bavarian state government which is the copyright holder and who pulled all legal stops to prevent the publication (see earlier IPKat posts here, here and here).

By way of background: contrary to popular belief (in Germany), Mein Kampf is not banned in Germany but can be freely re-published when the copyright held by the Bavarian State government (more precisely the Finance Ministry) is set to expire in 2015 - 70 years after Hitler's death. The Bavarian State government 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.

The Regional Court of Munich I (LG München I) in March 2012 confirmed its preliminary injunction of 25 January 2012 and stopped the publication of this annotated version (see Monika Bruss's excellent summary of this decision on the 1709 Blog here. Subsequently, in what appears to be a never ending story, Bavaria's Finance Minister Markus Söder in April then announced that the Munich-based Münchener Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute of Contemporary History, "IfZ") would soon publish an annotated version of the book as well as an edition for use in (Bavarian) schools.  This was reported before (see the IPKat here) but Mr Söder's approval of this edition is newsworthy.

Not this is not enough, it appears.  Now the magazine Der Spiegel reports that the German Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BPD), a governmental political education organisation, plans to prepare a special annotated edition of Mein Kampf to be used in German schools.  The BPD's director, Thomas Krüger, is cited as saying that today's youth would most likely stop reading the book after a few pages and would wonder "what kind of weirdo" the author was (presumably if the book was written today, Merpel feels obliged to add). 

Some German commentators argue that all this is going too far and that the book is receiving far too much publicity, with potentially negative consequences bearing in mind its underlying ideology.  Others argue that whoever wanted to read the book will have found a way to do so by now.

While this Kat one the hand thinks it may not be a bad a idea to demystify the book, she is still very much against having its content spread. Having said that, this Kat also noticed that, while she got excited about Mr Söder's announcement in April when she first read about it ("hey, another development!"), she very soon forgot about it completely and never finished her initial IPKat posting … maybe all this publicity has another effect on potential readers: overexposure, leading to consequent fatigue.

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