walter schulze-mittendorff copyrights

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The following institutions have granted me their kind permission to make use of their archive material:
Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden, holding the Copyright to the images used here from the Metropolis film;
Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin, holding the Copyright to the photographies of Horst von Harbour that are used here in connection with Metropolis;  
Archiv Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin
Cinémathèque française, Paris 
DEFA-Stiftung, Berlin
anthea associates film GmbH, München

Photo work contributions were made by:
Kay van der Voort, Hamburg, Hamburg
Stéphane Dabrowski, Paris

Filmworks for the Motion Picture Gallery were done by:, Hamburg 
The Motion Picture Gallery was produced in 2010 by:, Hamburg / WSM Art-Management, Hamburg

Copyright for the Website
Bertina Schulze-Mittendorff holds the copyright to this website; the Intellectual property included therein is protected under copyright law. No permission is given to third parties for the use of any intellectual and/or literary property (images, documents) contained in this website. No contents of this website may be copied, distributed, changed, or passed on to third parties for commercial use. Any copyright violation will entail claims for compensation.

Copyright for the Metropolis Robot
The copyright for the design patent of the Metropolis Robot, the Machine Man from Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, 1927, created by Walter Schulze-Mittendorff, passed over (by succession) to Walter Schulze-Mittendorff's daughter Bertina, as the sole heir, with the death of Walter Schulze-Mittendorff's wife Berta Schulze-Mittendorf in January of 2011.

Reproductions (pictures/images) of the Metropolis Robot not subject to copyright law, as well as the unlicensed replica of the Metropolis Robot figure for the purpose of use by third parties, constitute a breach of copyright law. Claims for compensation will be asserted for each copy of the figure commercially sold without a licence. The only licence holder with the permission to reproduce the figure of the Metropolis Robot for commercial purposes worldwide is Kropserkel Inc., Toronto, Canada.

The copyright for the design of the Machine Man, the Robot from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, was adjudicated to the family of Walter Schulze-Mittendorff by court decision (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht, Hamburg, Aktenzeichen 5U 41 / 01 308 0 391 / 99). The lawsuit was filed against a well-known Hamburg weekly magazine by the heirs of Walter Schulze-Mittendorff. The magazine had shown a picture of the Metropolis Robot in an article about artificial intelligence, without having obtained prior right of use from the heirs. 
The media lawyer Prof. Dr. jur. Dieter Nennen has issued an article on this legal case, and published it on the Internet. Using this law case as an example general basic principles concerning the German copy right law are also expounded there:

Prof. Dr. jur. Dieter Nennen has kindly given his consent to use part of his article: "Metropolis: Maschinenmensch durch Urheberrecht geschützt“ ("Metropolis: Machine Man protected under Copyright Law").

Metropolis: Machine Man protected under Copyright Law
"On February 12th, 2010 an amazed audience viewed an almost completely restored version of the work which is probably the most important in German film history. It was made possible because a long version of Metropolis (1926) had been discovered in the film museum of Buenos Aires in 2008. And even 80 years after its creation, the figure of the Machine Man is protected under copyright law."
The science fiction silent film Fritz Lang was shooting from 1925 to 1926 is about two societies that live strictly separated and apart from each other. At the time, the sculptor W. S.-M. had created the sculpture for the figure of the Machine Man, an android with the name of Maria. With the death of the artist in 1976, the author's rights passed to his wife by inheritance. She then did claim her rights to the figure of the Machine Man – and rightly so, according to the decision by the OLG (Higher Regional Court) Hamburg, from the year 2002.
Machine Man as Fine Arts
Works of fine art are already protected under a copyright law when the aesthetic content has reached such a degree that in 'art-circles' the work can be referred to as art. Regarding details, and to differentiate between applied arts, compare the article Urheberrecht an Wohndesign: Kunst oder Kamin? The figure of the Machine Man bears partly humanly graceful, partly robot-like features and appears as a  homogenous creature sui generis. The artist did not stop at producing merely technical molds of the actress Brigitte Helm but rather formed parts of the figure freely and imaginatively. The sculptural work of the Machine Man as a work of fine arts is therefore protected under copyright law, as also stated by the judges. The provisions of the copyright law principally also apply to works that were created before the law came into effect, viz. before January 1st, 1966.
Inheritability and Duration of Copyright 
The copyright is in principle not transferable. This principle is however overridden by the inheritability of the copyright. Through the case of succession, the copyright passes to the heir; he attains to the same legal position as was held before by the author. With the death of Mr. W. S.-M. in 1976, his wife as his sole heir acquired the copyright. The right ceases seventy years after the author's death.  This also applies in principle to works that were created before the copyright law came into effect. The seventy-year period begins with the termination of the calendar year of the death. Therewith the copyright in this case ceases on January 1st, 2047."

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