The library has blocked entry for Germans.


From February 27, 2018, Internet users with German IP addresses wishing to read books in the library see the following message:

Error 403

Maybe you have just a wrong url. Go to first to see if the error persists.
If you get the error, check it out again: As of February 27 2018, addresses in Germany are blocked. For more information, see

If you follow the link, a more detailed explanation is found. A brief compilation of the information on the link above and beyond :

In December 2015, S. Fischer Verlag, with the support of the Munich law firm Waldorf Frommer (the German users of torrents, this company is well known ) filed a lawsuit against the Frankfurt-am-Main Regional Court against Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (PGLAF) and its CEO Dr. Gregory Newby with the requirement to remove or, at least, make inaccessible to German users, 18 e-books (authorship of Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann and Alfred Döblin). Penalties and compensation payments were also requested.

The publisher in its lawsuit claims that the rights to the books of these authors listed in the lawsuit (of the most famous ones are “Teacher Gnus” and “Buddenbrooks”), according to German copyright law (70 years since the death of the author) belong to him, the publisher before 2020 , 2025 and 2027 respectively. Project Gutenberg operates from the territory and is subject to US law, according to which all of these books are in the public domain for at least 40 years - after 56 years from the date of publication. The corresponding dates expired from 1953 to 1976.

The Frankfurt court declared its jurisdiction over the site, because (quote) "the site has content in German," and decided in favor of the plaintiff, satisfying, basically, all of his (publishing) requirements:

- remove or at least block access to the listed works from the territory of Germany. At the time of preparation of the appeal and in order to avoid creating a precedent (there is at least one more similar lawsuit), Project Gutenberg blocked access from the territory of Germany to the entire library;
- provide a list of all downloads of these works for the reclamation of license fees and / or fines from copyright violators. Project Gutenberg responded to this demand that since the entry into force of the Patriot Act in the United States, logs are stored solely for the purpose of tracking technical errors, for about 2 months;
- pay half the court costs. The amount is currently unknown. Let me remind you, Project Gutenberg is a non-profit organization that does not extract profits and exists solely on donations.

Details in the form of questions / answers - by reference (eng.)


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