Why there are no useful German internet sites and no German gallica or google books.

I heard an incredible story from a German scholar while I was at the patristics conference, which may explain why so little German material appears online, compared with the vast collections of English and French scholarship at Gallica.fr or Google books. 

Apparently German publishers have taken on teams of lawyers to scan the internet.  Any time that someone posts something on the internet, these send them a threatening letter, a demand to take it down and a bill for use of the material thus far (no doubt a massive and unreasonable one, of course).  Naturally whoever gets hit this way loses interest in putting stuff online fast.  And with German copyright law giving a dog-in-the-manger term of life-plus-70 years, one can easily see that most things will be caught.

Have I misunderstood?  Or do the Germans really not get the point of the internet this badly?

4 thoughts on “Why there are no useful German internet sites and no German gallica or google books.”

  1. Probably it will require government action. Once the German government realises that the professionals are fighting against the internet, it can legislate to stop them.

  2. Well, that’s just about the funniest thing I’ve read all day…especially with that first comment tagged on the end.


  3. Who says the Germans have no sense of humour?

    Still, we can all laugh at them until they get the message.

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