Access to German Newsreels


Just curious, who owns the copy write for the German newsreels that were captured after the war? Can you chaps use them without paying any royalties?


I think it’s the Bundesarchiv


Not sure. I think they were owned by the American Army or didnt have copyright.


If they were owned by the U.S. Army, then they’re in public domain.


I’ve done a little research. Looks like it actually could be ok but a little risky. Personally I think it is a little immoral that the German Government should own the copyright to NAZI films. Technically the are profiting from them. In the US special laws were put in place to prevent this but it’s only for use in the US.

Most Wochenschau films are still copyrighted; the rights are held by Transit Film GmbH in Germany. In the U.S. the copyright on these films from 1914 until the 1940s expired due to non-compliance with U.S. copyright formalities; the copyright was restored in 1996 by the URAA on those published after 1922. The Transit Film company then filed so-called “notices of intent to enforce” (NIEs)( with the United States Copyright Office and can now enforce its copyrights, even against parties who rightfully used their films before the URAA became effective. Nevertheless, the URAA also prevents films previously under the administration of the Alien Property Custodian from being renewed, making it difficult to enforce these copyrights in the U.S.

Sec. 6 of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 40 (, 50 U.S.C.App., authorizes the President to appoint an official known as the “alien property custodian,” who is responsible for “receiv[ing,] … hold[ing], administer[ing], and account[ing] for” “all money and property in the United States due or belonging to an enemy, or ally of enemy … .” The Act was originally enacted during World War I “to permit, under careful safeguards and restrictions, certain kinds of business to be carried on” among warring nations, and to “provid[e] for the care and administration of the property and property rights of enemies and their allies in this country pending the war.”