European Regulation Project on the conditions of public communication of hate content such as found in the text Mein Kampf

March 2011


1.       Synthèse Summary of the study published in the Gazette du Palais and an assessment of current difficulties:

a.   Adolf Hitler’s rights are granted and controlled, not without difficulty, by the Land of Bavaria since the liberation.

b.   The management of the copyright by the « Land » of Bavarie has been active by certain points of view, within the limitations of its rights on German territory but this management has encountered many obstacles concerning other countries.

c.   The copyright (rights which attach at creation) does not fit well with the dissemination of hate texts such as Mein Kampf (text attached to destruction).

d.   The Mein Kampf  text is still in circulation, sometimes widely popular in a number of countries and has become, throughout the course of history, a bestselling notorious bearer of hatred.

e.   A copyright does not adequately regulate the dissemination of Mein Kampf.

f.    The regulations in criminal law governing the dissemination of Nazi propaganda texts (condoning a crime against humanity, incitement to racial hatred, denial of crimes against humanity, etc…) are rare in Europe, and when they exist, they are of very limited application

g.   The warning imposed by the Court of Appeal of Paris in 1979 allowed the circulation of Mein Kampf, in view of its historical and documentary value, framed with a pedagogical explanation setting out the provisions of the law of the freedom of press and detailing the misdeeds of the Third Reich.

2.       Increased difficulties beyond the year 2015: it is time to act together as 27

a.   In European law, 70 years after the death of the author, the copyright (“droit patrimoniaux” – property law) falls back into the public domain, 2015 for the texts of Adolf Hitler

b.   Moral rights are inalienable; they will continue to be managed by the “Land” of Bavaria and its Ministry of Finance. Moral rights are not an entirely suitable vehicle to counter the dissemination and modification of a text for racist propaganda.

c.   The texts of Nazi propaganda are increasingly spread over the Internet.

d.   Mein Kampf will be exposed to all disseminations and will enable future publishers to profit.

e.   Outside of Germany, the criminal laws restricting the dissemination of Mein Kampf beyond 2015 will be ineffective on the internet or on a national level and will not allow a restricted and educational dissemination of Mein Kampf.

f.    The text may be abridged and used for propaganda or anti neo nazi or anti minorities without the limitation the copyright somewhat provided in a limited way, just as some translations of Mein Kampf were, for political and propaganda reasons, censored and altered.

g.   New generations are struggling to understand the history of the last century. A warning preceding the republication of the text is necessary more than ever.

3.       Recommendations 

a.   To limit the current action of hate content texts, provoking discrimination and racial genocide such as Mein Kampf.

b.   To keep in mind that other texts may eventually be eligible for a special status (other Nazis texts of Hitler, Goebbels or others inciting racial hatred and crime or other instruments such as the script from the radio show One Thousand Hills which took part in the stimulation of hatred and genocide in Rwanda).

c.   To propose a European Regulation on the Public Communication of Mein Kampf , and to propose the consideration of a plan to extend the special status of Mein Kampf to other texts of hate or incitement to murder or genocide or crimes against humanity (in any form whatsoever),

The Regulation concerning the hate content of Mein Kampf will directly apply to all Member States ant without any measure of national transcription, in order to:

i. recall the specific moral rules imposed on the use of the restricted text;

ii. provide the possibility of abridging or watering down the text in any version whatsoever taking into account the need for the integrality of the original work;

iii. adopt a common European educational warning (see previous success in France, attached);

iv. provide for a European annotated and scholarly edition allowing an informed access to the text and cautioning young generations on the conditions of publication and dissemination of Mein Kampf and how the theories were implemented between 1933 and 1945;

v. enter it into force before the end of 2015 deadline.

4.       The interest in taking action in support of the recommendations

a.   Mein Kampf contains all the reasons that led to the destruction of Europe during the last World War.

b. Modern Europe has been built on the concept of “never again” and the firm condemnation of the ideas that Mein Kampf promotes.

c. Europe stands for values that go well beyond defense of only an economic market and the adoption of a European Regulation on Public Communication of Mein Kampf is the meaning of a healthy democratic expression.

 d. The wording of the warning will be the object of a historical Pan-European reflection.

e.   The academic warning will be open to other texts of hate content to be defined by the European Parliament.

f.  An appendix listing hate contents destined to be the object of a specific instructional and academic effort to be completed.  Mein Kampf will constitute the first text of this list.

g. Hate content as defined above should no long grant – directly or indirectly- royalties to the “authors” who would be condemned for a crime