General student committee of the BHT
Berlin, June 9th, 2020
Counter-notification to the ongoing publication on the necropolis project
Dear Mr. Arms,
ladies and gentlemen
We are alienated to note that once again, you did continue the contribution published on April 30, 2018, in a particularly prominent place on your newly designed website.
You stick to your pretense’s, although the General student committee in its respective occupations, was explained why these claims are false. The explanations were subject to a legal letter dated May 9, 2018, and most recently in our joint discussion with the University’s President, adviser, and legal adviser on December 16, 2019. The republication of the article can then no longer be declared negligent.
In its legal notice itself, your website appears as the subject of the press law. Regrettably, you refused to accept a counter-notification compromise and instead fueled the dispute by republishing the article again. Given the continuing false allegation, we, with this, notify you to post the attached counter-notification at the same location on your website.
The right for a counter-notification is based, if not directly derived from press law, at least from the now established principles of media law. The counter-notification obligation is also subject to journalistic-editorial statements on websites (see last Chamber Court Berlin, November 28, 2016 – 10 W 173/16).
We expect the counter-notification to be published continuously, at the latest by July 9, 2020. Otherwise, we will recommend that our client shall proceed with legal action.
Dr. Andre Sayatz
“Rights of utilization of students in danger” claims the General student committee in an article dated April 30, 2018, repeated by email on November 25, 2019. It is now again on its website as of June 11, 2020, concerning the research project “Necropolis Project.” The latter deals with visual remembrance culture, based on graves from the Second World War and the Holocaust. Many students, including students from cooperating foreign universities, have taken the opportunity to work on this research project with enthusiasm, voluntarily and entirely independently of grading. The grading of the students does not depend in any way on the participation in the project. The project is successful at home and abroad and enjoys excellent support from well-known sponsors.
The rights of utilization of the students involved in this project are not at risk. They were never at risk either.
Prof. Dr. Susanne Junker and Mr. Tim van Beveren developed the “Necropolis Project” as a research project. It was carried out and is scientifically managed by Prof. Dr. Susanne Junker and internationally coordinated by Mr. Tim van Beveren. Together they are responsible for the project, and they are the originators of the project idea. The project idea or the objectified execution has no legal personality; Neither one can, therefore, be regarded as a transferring entity. Therefore, a contract must and will ensure that photographic pictures, word contributions, or other performances of the participants in the project are presented following the copyright: The copyright remains with the creator, including the students involved. The project executing entities are only contractually granted a simple (not an exclusive) right of use. It is all like any other exhibition or publication with contributions from different creators or authors.
In his capacity as a photographer for the project, Mr. Tim van Beveren also took photos and moving pictures of those involved in the project. Following the customary regulations for professional photographers, he obtained the necessary consent from the depicted for this purpose.
Furthermore, the “Necropolis Project” is a non-profit project. The two initiators do not generate any income from this. On the contrary, Mr. Tim van Beveren supported and promoted the students’ work with personal funds in a high four-figure range in 2017. As far as for the presentation, such as in the Museum Seelower Höhen in spring 2018, entrance fees are collected, such fees only cover the expenses of the organizer. However, they do not end up either directly or indirectly with the two project executing entities. Commercial use is not planned and will not exist.
Nothing else applies to the large-format book publications “The Necropolis Project” Volume I and Volume II. Insofar as photographs, digital drawings, and texts by students are printed there, the authors are referred to by name.
The representation of the General student committee, which suggests several times with strong words such as “scandal,” “annexation,” and “scheming,” is out of place.
The project is instead managed correctly by Prof. Dr. Susanne Junker and Mr. Tim van Beveren. Its success cannot be undermined by the unfounded accusation of misuse under copyright law at university students’ expense.
Susanne Junker Tim van Beveren
On April 30, 2018, the General Student Committee (AStA) of the Beuth University published an article by the then AStA member Matthias Rataj under the heading “Rights of Use of Students at Risk” (https://asta.studis-bht.de/nutzungsrechte-von-studierenden-in-gefahr/).
Already on May 9, 2018, the AStA was informed by the copyright and media law attorney Dr. Andreas Behr about the incorrect claims in the article and asked to correct its presentation. The AStA did not comply.
On November 25, 2019, AStA Chairman Malte Arms sent the article attached to an email that was addressed (among others) to the Federal Ministry of Research, the Federal President’s Office, the President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble and the SPD-Neukölln. He reconfirmed his unsubstantiated allegations against the project manager, Professor Dr. Susanne Junker, and the international project coordinator Tim van Beveren.
Following the plea of the affected to end this hate-campaign, a discussion was held on December 16, 2019, with the President of the university, Professor Dr. Werner Ullmann, his adviser, the university’s lawyer, the AStA chairman Mr. Malte Arms and another AStA representative, Dr. Andre Sayatz and the affected parties.
In an almost two-hour conversation, AStA was explained why the allegations made in the article and the email of November 25, 2019, are without any basis and should be avoided.
To end the matter amicably for AStA without losing its face, it was agreed that the AStA would publish a counter-notification by those affected. The notification was received by the AStA on January 6, 2020, but was not released.
Instead, the AStA chairman Malte Arms tried to enforce its terms regarding the wording and content of the declaration.
As of June 11, 2020, the AStA published the two year old incriminated article on its new website under the heading “News from campus.”
It then received the above legal notification on July 9, 2020, containing the counter-notification and the request for publication.
Further steps are expressly reserved.