January 26, 2012

German court blocks British publisher from publishing Mein Kampf in Germany


British publisher Peter McGee, of London-based publishing house Albertas Press, has apparently backed down from his vow to publish excerpts from Adolf Hitler‘s book Mein Kampf (see the earlier MobyLives report) after a German court ruled to do so would be in violation of copyright.

As a New York Times report details, “the state court, in Munich, ruled that publication even of citations from the book violated the copyright, held by the State of Bavaria until 2015.” (German copyright, unlike American copyright, runs out 70 years after an author’s death and cannot be extended.)

Meanwhile, other reports note that McGee had already printed the first round of extracts, which was to run in his magazine Zeitungszeugen accompanied by critical text — and which according to earlier reports was to number 100,000 copies.  A story from the Deutsches Presse-Agentur wire service reports that “McGee said the Hitler text would be covered with a grey haze making it illegible.”

But the Times report seems to indicate McGee does not feel exactly defeated: he tells the paper he only plans “delay” his plans, assumedly until that copyright runs out in 2015.


Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.