The Copyright Controversy in Germany: 'We are the Autors' versus 'We are the Citizens'

On May 10, 2012, renowned German weekly quality newspaper 'Die Zeit' published an appeal against theft of intellectual property with the flashy title "Wir sind die Urheber!" (we are the authors), a clear - and surely wanted - allusion to the famous battle cry "Wir sind das Volk!" (we are the poeple) of East Germans during the uprise against the former GDR regime in 1989/90 which soon lead to the collapse of the East German state and later to the German reunification. The Appeal, coordinated by 32 years old German author and producer Matthias Landwehr and meanwhile undersigned by more than 4.000 German authors, screenplay writers and other creative artists, is - legitimately - inteded to emphasise author's rights and to defend their copyright-based commercial interests in the ongoing copyright debate driven by the internet-affine Pirate Party (Piratenpartei) and its anti-copyright attitude aiming at weakening copyright law and legalization free copying. The translated author's appeal reads as follows:
We are the authors! Against intellectual property theft As writers and artists, we follow the attacks against copyrights with concern and incomprehension. Copyright is a historic achievement of civil liberty against feudal dependence and it guarantees the material basis for individual creation. The conflict of interest between authors and exploiters, as alleged in this context, draws an absurde picture of our working conditions. In a society characterised by the divison of labour artists and give the marketing of their works into the hands of publishers, galleries, producers and collecrting societies, if they represent and defend their interests in the best possible way. The new realities of digitization and the internet do not justify profane intellectual property theft, or even to call for its legalization ...
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