Submitted by robot on March 14, 2011

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Dano

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Dano

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.

revolut

Dano

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

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Entdinglichung

revolut

Dano

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!

jef costello

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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 :)

Dano

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.

Entdinglichung

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by Dano

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

sabot

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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. ;)

Bonaventura

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

robot

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Joseph Kay

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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/

Steven.

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

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

RedEd

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Joseph Kay

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Bonaventura

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ 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'.

robot

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bonaventura

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.

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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/

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Gerostock

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Bonaventura

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Quick reaction!

But - alas - it's facebook, a place I do not enter. And no bibliographical notes on the texts (when written, where published etc.). The historical context is always important. OK, it's a first try, but we're better.

David in Atlanta

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mv

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

By coincidence those are the exact essays I downloaded from the FAU and anarchismus sites in hope I could find somebody who could translate them.

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Now is also a romanian language version public. Translated by the Romanian Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (thanks for that):

Here the links:

On the Blog of the Institute:
http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/romana/

And on the weblog of I.A:S.R.:
http://iasromania.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/declaratia-institutului-pentru-cercetarea-sindicalismului-institut-fur-syndikalismusforschung/

robot

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks to «Le Jura Libertaire» Rockers Text «Anarcho-Syndikalismus» along with a couple of more Rudolf Rocker texts are available here.

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Institute for Syndicalism Research: Info

What can I do?

Till now a great number of requests have been sent to us regarding the way in which something could be done to help liberating Rudolf Rocker out of his undesirable situation. We have built a Rudolf Rocker special page which gets permanently actualised. http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/solidaritypage-about-the-rocker-case/

What the Institute for Syndicalism Research can advise is to:

1. Publish the declaration of the Institute for Syndicalism Research and inform your friends and mates about the actual facts of the matter
2. Offer to translate our statement into other languages so that we can make the statement available in other languages on the Rudolf Rocker special-site.
3. Get in contact with newspapers, write articles and forward the statement to publications which may be interested in interviews with us.
4. We prepare an international resolution which will state that the texts of Rudolf Rocker must be free for publishing. Consider if you want to sign such a resolution.
5. Tell us your ideas!

These next points needs your own initiative:

1. Beware of the endless space of the Internet, there may be texts from Rudolf Rocker still free out there!
2. It is legal to quote from Rudolf Rocker´s texts in an adequate way. Do it!
3. Come up with many beautiful ideas. Certainly there are more possibilities than we came up with. Your independent initiative can do the right thing.

www.syndikalismusforschung.info
http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/

mv

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The statement „Rudolf Rocker shall disappear” is now translated into Turkish language. RUDOLF ROCKER YOK EDILMELI is to find here: http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/turkce/

syndicalist

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This just appeared in our in-box:

(FAU) Resolution Concerning the Legal Rights to Rudolf Rocker's Works

Heiner M. Becker, historian and private scholar, living in Nordwalde, has actually initiated a preliminary investigation by the public prosecution against the internet publishing of at least one work of the famous anarchosyndicalist, Rudolf Rocker (1873 – 1958).

Heiner M. Becker has been assistant for several anarchist papers in Great Britain and France, he bought anarchist bequests for the IISG in Amsterdam whereby he became a friend of Fermin Rocker, Rudolf Rocker's son. Before his death in 2004, Fermin Rocker conferred all rights of Rudolf Rocker's works to Heiner M. Becker.

Rudolf Rocker is one of the most famous protagonists of historical anarchosyndicalism. He was secretary of the International Workers Association (IWA) and of the Free Workers Union, Germany (FAUD), in whose historical tradition the FAU sees itself. As an anarchosyndicalist activist, he published many articles, brochures and other texts for this fierce grassroots union movement, including texts such as the ”Principles of Revolutionary Syndicalism“, “Anarchism and Syndicalism“ and “Anarchosyndicalism“.

Rocker's works have been translated and spread in all different languages for years. It is a solid part of a global movement which fights for economical and political liberation from the yoke of capital and state. Never before did anybody try to claim the rights to exploit Rocker's propaganda texts, neither during his life nor after his death. Just thinking of it would have caused astonishment and incomprehension.

Heiner M. Becker was a profiteer from the anarchosyndicalist movement's wish to spread Rocker's texts as far as possible. When he published Rocker's main work, “Nationalism and Culture“, an ex-FAU member lent him 20.000DM (~10.000€). Other members of the FAU supported him technically, supporting a series of titles by his company, Thélème, which hasn't published anything for years.

Heiner M. Becker has many reasons to be thankful to the anarchosyndicalist movement's support. But what he did, he paid the credit back right now, after 15 years, after several dunning letters and without paying interest on it. But something else outweighs that. He thanks FAU for support by claiming bourgeois ownership rights of Rocker's works and even mobilizes the police and criminal justice system to execute them.

Against this background, the FAU Congress declares unmistakably, that we – and our sister unions in the IWA and others – believe Rocker's texts are the common property of all who fight against capitalist exploitation and state repression for a free and self-organized economic and social world. We call upon Heiner M. Becker to assume responsibility and waive all bourgeois property rights to Rudolf Rocker's and Milly Wittkop-Rocker's works and publish it under a Creative Commons Licence. As for the prosecutions going on, we demand they stop immediately.

Unanimous decision of FAU's annual Congress and delegates attending from FAU-Bern (CH)

Dörverden, June 12, 2011.

mv

10 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The statement „Rudolf Rocker shall disappear” is now translated into Spanish language. RUDOLF ROCKER VA A DESAPARECER is to find here: http://syndikalismusforschung.wordpress.com/espanol/

Little Prince

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi martinh (post number 3), do you remember how Albert Meltzer warned you? It would be interest to see how this guy act in different ways. Becker shall have property also in London...

akai

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dear all,

Does anybody have an update on the status of this? I am inquiring since some people want to publish Rocker and need to know what this bozo thinks to properly inform them. Of course I think Rocker's works are public and must not be privatized.

syndicalist

4 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any updates on this?

inflaminatus

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Heiner Michael Becker ist tot

http://dadaweb.de/wiki/Heiner_Michael_Becker_-_Gedenkseite

radicalgraffiti

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

inflaminatus

Heiner Michael Becker ist tot

http://dadaweb.de/wiki/Heiner_Michael_Becker_-_Gedenkseite

do you know who has the copywrite now?

Battlescarred

4 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparentlty Doctor Becker had a flat filled from floor to ceiling in every room with anarchist publications, many of them extremely rare.Some even allege that some of these may be very similar to literature that had gone missing from various anarchist archives. What is happening to this collection after his death, and where does the copyright on Rocker stand now?

hierarchy is chaos

4 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I digitised 'Anarcho-Syndicalism' in 1996 by typing the whole thing into a word file, marking it up in notepad and uploading it to Geocities. Fermin Rocker contacted me through the site to say he was Rudolf's son and that he was glad to see it online.

On the basis of that am inclined to consider the claim that he was unhappy with it being published a lie.

Rob Ray

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

K so I had a quick look into this and it depends on the nature of Becker's "ownership". If he was made literary executor by Fermin Rocker then all rights die with him and would revert to Fermin's son (Philip - anyone know him?). If Becker bought the copyrights outright and contractual evidence exists of this, then they'd be conferred to the beneficiaries of his will.

Rob Ray

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Got hold of Philip, he's not been contacted over it following Becker's death and doesn't know what may have happened with copyright. He knows of a verbal agreement and thinks there might have been a written one with Becker but is unsure what this consisted of. Either way he reckoned as far as he's concerned "people are free to do what they please, but that may not be of much help."

modern anarchi…

1 year 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So is there still a bunch of unknown Rocker writings (or his complete collected works) being hoarded in some basement somewhere? Does anyone have an update or a contact for someone working on this?