A warning to all publishers of Rudolf Rocker texts

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robot's picture
robot
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Mar 14 2011 21:53
A warning to all publishers of Rudolf Rocker texts

Heiner M. Becker recently pressed charges against one or more persons suspected to be contributors of a German language syndicalist site, syndikalismus.tk. That site provided a PDF file with Rudolf Rockers «Anarcho-syndicalism», a well know text that was not published in German beforehand.

Heiner M. Becker claims to be the exclusive owner of all Rudolf Rocker copyrights, given to him by his friend Fermin Rocker, Rudolf Rockers son, who died in 2004. Becker re-edited the German language version of Rockers "Nationalism and Culture" some 12 years ago. He was awarded a loan of more than EUR 10,000 for that project on behalf of German FAU members – a loan that he had not repaid by the end of 2010.

Heiner M. Becker once was considered to be a member of the anarchist community. He has been well known in England, were he was a regular contributor to «THE RAVEN - anarchist quarterly» and other publications of FREEDOM PRESS as well as in France where he had friends in the Anarchist Federation. In the 90th he was one of those to acquiring estates of anarchists for the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. By this he is supposed to have become one of the worlds biggest contemporary private collectors of anarchist books and iconography.

Heiner M. Becker seized to have relations with the anarchist community years ago. Nowadays he is a member and the treasurer of a local party-like middle-class political grouping in his hometown. His publishing house, «Bibliothek Thélème» has not publish anything for years.

It is not known yet why he started filing against other suspected publishers of Rudolf Rocker texts without even trying to get in contact with them beforehand. But it is not unlikely that he will not only try to file against publishers of German language Rocker texts, but against those in other languages too, once the national copyright laws are favourable for him. So this should be dealt with as a warning to the community.

For most anarcho-syndicalists it will be a matter of course, that the ideas and publications of Rudolf Rocker are the heritage of the global anarcho-syndicalist movement. And not the playing field of the doutable aspirations of whatever salesman.

no1
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Mar 14 2011 21:57

I wonder if Mr Becker realises that he is sitting on a goldmine, there's lots and lots of money in the Rocker market.........

martinh
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Mar 14 2011 22:18

Another scumbag that Albert Meltzer warned us against. No surprises here.
I always wondered why European anarchists were so friendly to the ancien regime at Freedom Press, given as it was run by liars and liberals. Rocker belongs to the workers of the world, not some liberal professor.

Sorry that FAU lost money to this opportunist.

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Dano
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Mar 14 2011 23:21

What a bastard! But shouldn't Rocker's writings be in the public domain by now? Fucking copyright laws.

revolut
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Mar 14 2011 23:47
Dano wrote:
What a bastard! But shouldn't Rocker's writings be in the public domain by now? Fucking copyright laws.

I don't know how it works copyright laws in Germany, but it uses to be 70-75 after the author's death, and Rocker died only about 53 years ago.

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Mar 15 2011 09:04
revolut wrote:
Dano wrote:
What a bastard! But shouldn't Rocker's writings be in the public domain by now? Fucking copyright laws.

I don't know how it works copyright laws in Germany, but it uses to be 70-75 after the author's death, and Rocker died only about 53 years ago.

they should become public domain on the 1st January 2029

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Mar 15 2011 09:24

Looks as if he presented a letter signed by Fermin Rocker granting him all the copyrights. Fermin Rocker allegedly told him, that his father always was very unpleased with the fact, that everybody printed his texts without permission and that he (Fermin) feels good, that he can now arrange that for better. This at least seems to be the argumentation of Beckers lawyers. Fermin is dead, so any argumentation, even those obvious bullshit can be made in his name.

akai
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Mar 15 2011 10:29

First of all, the scumbag can fuck off and die - the sooner the better. There should be decisive action against this - pirating, boycotts of this person and his publications, etc.

Speaking of sleazy crap, back in the 80s I got in a row with Nicholas Walter who tried to claim he had some sorts of "rights" to Kropotkin.

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Mar 15 2011 12:19
Entdinglichung wrote:
revolut wrote:
Dano wrote:
What a bastard! But shouldn't Rocker's writings be in the public domain by now? Fucking copyright laws.

I don't know how it works copyright laws in Germany, but it uses to be 70-75 after the author's death, and Rocker died only about 53 years ago.

they should become public domain on the 1st January 2029

Damn, I thought it was 50 years...

But yeah, let's get a list of everything this guy is involved in and propose a massive boycott and a pirating campaign!

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jef costello
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Mar 15 2011 12:27

If Rocker willed the copyright to his son then the son had the right to transfer it to another person, but a letter shouldn't really be enough proof. A notarised deed or will is needed surely?
Not that that matters to us anyway smile

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Mar 15 2011 12:33
Dano wrote:
But yeah, let's get a list of everything this guy is involved in and propose a massive boycott and a pirating campaign!

It is not that much: http://www.anares.org/theleme/

He did not publish anything for more than ten years now. This is very much like a wyvern sitting on his hoard and attacking anyone who gets close to his alleged treasure. I guess psychologists might have a term for this. I don't.

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Entdinglichung
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Mar 15 2011 12:48

that is at least the regular procedure of the German copyright law: life time of author + 70 years, the latter always ends on the 31th december, in terms of anonymous texts it is 70 years after publication, there are also a number of limitations and exceptions (far more complicated e.g. than the US "fair use")

there may probably also be some specific legal implications due yo the Versailles treaty or the German capitulation of 1945 on copyright law

Boris Badenov
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Mar 15 2011 14:45

This is pretty pathetic. I remember this name because it's mentioned in the Preface to the AK edition of Anarcho-Syndicalism, along with others, mind entirely reputable ones, like Avrich, Vernon Richards etc.

robot wrote:
Fermin Rocker allegedly told him, that his father always was very unpleased with the fact, that everybody printed his texts without permission

Presumably this is why Rocker Sr. noted with pride in The London Years how sweatshop workers would pass around copies of Arbeter Fraynd, which Rocker edited (and mostly wrote too at times) for little to no gain.

syndicalist
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Mar 15 2011 16:17
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Presumably this is why Rocker Sr. noted with pride in The London Years how sweatshop workers would pass around copies of Arbeter Fraynd, which Rocker edited (and mostly wrote too at times) for little to no gain.

So true.

I realize this may be very lame and without much teeth......

Robot: Is there any value to an international email or letter writing campaign to Herr Schmekel? *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*OK, a yiddish phrase that I'm sure my german comrades knowschmekel --- "schmekel - 1. A penis, diminutive for of the Yiddish schmuck. See penis for synonyms. 2. A stupid person."

www.definition-of.com/schmekel

akai
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Mar 15 2011 16:33

Some authors don't like it when their texts are republished by people who try to make money off them or who have different political orientations. If that were the case, I could understand somebody saying they don't like just anybody publishing their texts. But what this shit is doing... no comment.

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Mar 15 2011 23:31

Yup, pretty stupid. If he becomes problematic with this copyright stuff, I'd imagine our new friends Anonymous should be able to hack his computer and upload kiddyporn to his computer then turn his ass in.

But I would never suggest anything of the sort. wink

Bonaventura
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Jun 4 2011 13:19

Heiner M. Becker is still active in prohibiting the publication of Rudolf Rocker:texts:

RUDOLF ROCKER SHALL DISAPPEAR
Statement of the Institut für Syndikalismusforschung (Institute for syndicalism research)

The institute for syndicalism research keeps his main focus on the research and monitoring of the (anarcho)-syndicalist movement in the German speaking area.

Through own unpaid intensive and hard work and the solidarity legwork from historians and researchers we have built up since 2007 a voluminous and steady growing database to the history of the German language speaking (anarcho)-syndicalist movement – www.syndikalismusforschung.info.

Thereby the Institute holds a worldwide fruitful correspondence with numerous historians, publishers and research institutions.

However, there are not only supportive researchers. On the 1st June 2011 all texts of the most outstanding anarcho-syndicalist thinker Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958) got erased from our database.

A certain Heiner Becker demands the exclusive ownership rights to all literary works of Rudolf Rocker.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get in contact with us by himself; instead of this, he has delegated it to the department of public prosecution Münster and to a lawyer office.

We met the demands of the injunctive relief cause it is not in our wish to fill the pockets of a small-mind – to what we would have been forced otherwise.

However, we think Heiner Becker´s approach is dishonourable and not to accept. We have no understanding that the literary work of Rudolf Rocker got detain for the public through the tenure of a single person.

We consider it a scandal that since 1999 this so called „holder of rights“ is not able to publish even one single book of Rudolf Rocker, not at all to speak about publishing the complete works and making them reachable for the public. However, he seems quite able to prevent others from doing it.

We hope that this approach which brings about the oblivion of Rudolf Rocker comes to the ear of all people familiar with this topic, as well as to research-institutions and also to the offsprings of Rocker and that they take the adequate measures.

We declare us explicitly in solidarity with all those who got affected by complains because of the publishing of Rocker-texts. Rudolf Rocker belongs to the progressive humankind and not to a private complainer.

Institut für Syndikalismusforschung,

Bremen, June 2011

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Jun 4 2011 14:34

Here it is:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/29191005/Rudolf-Rocker-Anarcho-Syndikalismus-1937

If somebody likes to mirror it, you need a Facebook or a scribd account in order to download the pdf.

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Jun 4 2011 14:40

we haven't formally discussed this but i'd imagine libcom would be fine to host it if someone wants to upload (and we can make the uploader anonymous if you want).

chiflado
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Jun 4 2011 17:05

let`s rock:

http://radiochiflado.blogsport.de/2011/06/04/lets-rock-sozialdemokratie-und-anarchismus/

http://radiochiflado.blogsport.de/2011/06/04/rudolf-rocker-soll-leben/

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Jun 4 2011 17:37
Joseph Kay wrote:
we haven't formally discussed this but i'd imagine libcom would be fine to host it if someone wants to upload (and we can make the uploader anonymous if you want).

yeah, fine. You should create torrents of it as well, and put it on Indymedias, Google documents and things like that - Streisand his ass

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Jun 4 2011 23:39

Perhaps some friends of his could have a polite chat with him to try and persuade him to, out of the kindness of his heart, renounce his rights to Rocker texts and give back the 10 grand he owes the FAU.

I feel that a direct appeal to his moral sensibilities made in person would be more efficacious than a campaign of disobedience of his legally enforceable rights.

I should note that this post contains no sarcasm or innuendo what so ever.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 5 2011 00:21

In a completely unrelated matter, hammers are my favourite domestic tool, mainly for their versatility.

Bonaventura
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Jun 5 2011 01:19

@ RedEd

Mr. Becker owes 10 grand (€) to a former member of the German FAU, but not to the FAU. A far as I know, he promised this year to repay the money. We'll see ...
»I feel that a direct appeal to his moral sensibilities made in person would be more efficacious than a campaign of disobedience of his legally enforceable rights.« - You're a better man than me (no joke). Nay, Mr. Becker is 'on the far side of the moon'. Whatever he is, he's obviously sitting on his property (i.e. Milly Witkop-Rocker & Rudolf Rocker). I don't know what's in his mind, but it seems to be 'propertarian'.

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Jun 5 2011 05:26
Bonaventura wrote:
Mr. Becker owes 10 grand (€) to a former member of the German FAU, but not to the FAU. A far as I know, he promised this year to repay the money.

He repaid the loan a couple of days ago. It was the last day before the deadline for a court appeal ran down.

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Jun 5 2011 07:27

The statement of the Institut für Syndikalismusforschung in other languages – Please feel free to tell your mates and comrades about the copyright attack and distribute the info further:

German Statement
http://www.syndikalismusforschung.info/syforockerde.htm

Russian Statement
http://www.syndikalismusforschung.info/syforockerrus.htm

Bulgarian Statement (with a tender personal note)
http://sm.a-bg.net/2011/06/04/roker-tryabva-da-izchezne.htm

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Jun 5 2011 07:28

Additive note: We reached meanwhile a few solidarity messages (thanks for that). And several groups and individuals have declared the wish to publish Rocker Texts further. Thus, the discussion on the German-language Info-Blog Syndikalismus.tk is also of interest. Syndikalismus.tk got also attacked by Heiner Becker because of the publishing of a brochure entitled “Anarcho-Syndicalism”. There is now a talk about further action of publishing the works of Rocker. Here is the link http://syndikalismus.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/%E2%80%9Erudolf-rocker-soll-verschwinden%E2%80%9C/

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Jun 5 2011 18:54

Now is also a french translation of the statement from the Institute for Syndicalism Research published. Thanks to the translator. It is here to find: http://raumgegenzement.blogsport.de/?p=1240

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Jun 6 2011 07:53

Here a short update to the ongoing campaign for Rudolf Rockers literary freedom

The Institute for Syndicalism Research has set up new pages on the blog.

Solidarity declarations, new information’s and links to new published Rocker texts by comrades or persons in solidarity can be read under:
http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/sonderseite-rudolf-rocker/
in german language

An English-language section with translations from this page can be reached here:
http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/solidaritypage-about-the-rocker-case/

An Russian-language section of the same type can be reached here:
http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/%D1%80%D1%83%D1%81%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9/

Please note: the Russian and English translations will need a bit of time, so that the infos there will come a bit later then in the German language area.

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Jun 6 2011 07:54

Info: A new release of collected works from Rudolf Rocker (“Rudolf Rocker – Ausgewählte Werke” in German language) is to find here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/57100238/Rudolf-Rocker-Ausgewahlte-Texte

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Jun 6 2011 16:59

This struggle is beginning to look redolent of the AAACS encryption incident: The MPAA tried to remove leaked DVD encryption codes from the internet, which originally only a nice group of nerds knew about. What resulted was a major episode and general interest.

I expect that we will soon see a surge of interest in Rudolf Rocker's work.