Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Great Book bank Robbery; The Heidelberg Appeal

So what do 1,300 German authors and politicians grasp so collectively about the Great Book Bank Robbery that others have so far failed to grasp so collectively?

Spiegel online cover the story that a significant group of authors who believe that Google is violating copyright laws have appealed collectively in the form of a letter, called the " Heidelberg Appeal", to German President Horst Köhler, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany's 16 federal states. The letter claims "intellectual property is being stolen from its producers to an unimagined degree and without criminalization through the illegal publication of works protected by German copyright law." They urge "a resolute defense, with all the means at their disposal" to protect intellectual property rights and the freedoms related to publishing. "If we loose it," the appeal ends, "we loose our future."

German Federal Commissioner for Culture Bernd Neumann told the daily tabloid Bild that he will fight to protect the authors' rights. "It is essential that we find some international agreements on this matter." Hans-Joachim Otto, who heads the German parliament's Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs, said "Intellectual property has to be just as protected as material property. All creativity will be destroyed if you have a mentality that everything should be free." German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries urged German authors to "think hard about whether they want to participate in the settlement or not."

It clearly starts to show that we are dealing with a major issue and one that extends past US boundaries into Google’s Earth. With a two month delay we would hope that others now raise their voice and pull us back from the abyss and we don’t continue walk backwards into rewriting copyright laws on orphan works that were not even around to defend themselves or reward Google for taking them without permission.