The Freedom to Publish and the Protection of Copyright

Currently the fundamental right of authors vouched for in the constitution to publish freely and of their own volition is under considerable attack and sustained threat.

At the international level, intellectual property is being stolen from its producers to an unimagined degree and without criminalisation through the illegal publication of works protected by German copyright law on platforms such as GoogleBooks and YouTube.

At national level, the so-called “Alliance of German Scientific Organisations” (members: Wissenschaftsrat, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Leibniz-Gesellschaft, Max Planck-Institute etc.) is propagandising for wide-ranging interference with the freedom of the press and the freedom to publish, the consequences of which are contrary to the basic law.

Authors and publishers reject all attempts to, and practices that, undermine copyright. That copyright is fundamental for literature, art and science, for the basic right to freedom of research and teaching, as well as for press freedom and the freedom to publish. In the future too, it must be writers, artists, scientists, in brief, all creative people themselves, who decide if and where their works should be published. Any constraint or coercion to publish in a certain form is as unacceptable as the political toleration of pirate copies, currently being produced in huge numbers by Google.

Never in history has the number of publications, books, magazines and electronic publications been as large as it is today, and never has the freedom of decision of authors been guaranteed to such a high degree. The “Alliance of German Scientific Organisations” wants to obligate authors to use a specified mode of publication. This is not conducive to the improvement of scientific information.

The undersigned appeal emphatically to the Federal Government and to the governments of the federal states for a resolute defence, with all the means at their disposal, of existing copyright and of the freedom to publish, to research and to teach. Politicians have the obligation to enforce, at national and international level, the individual rights and aspirations linked with the production of artistic and scientific works. The freedom of literature, art and science is a major constitutional asset. If we lose it, we lose our future.


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(Translation by Pauline Cumbers)

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