Sunday 31 December 2023

news from the FalkeEins Luftwaffe blog and a note on photo use..


2023 was a decent year for 'FalkeEins-the Luftwaffe Blog' - a good number of posts, some good feedback, plenty of contacts getting in touch, along with a week at the ECPA- D in Paris - one of the world's great photographic archives - and a long weekend in Belgium scanning negatives of Luftwaffe photos with friends! Some nice images and stories hopefully 'brought back to life'. Not too many 'new' Ebay posts either - everyone appears to be doing that nowadays. Reposting long lost photos is good - but I always prefer to present some text as well if possible and that takes time to 'research' and/or translate. 

I started this blog nearly thirteen years ago. It is a (basic)  'google' blog  - Blogger was bought by Google in 2003 while 'Blogspot' is the domain name. It uses minimal coding - I know enough HTML to keep things 'readable', while FB and youtube conveniently provide their own 'embed' codes. No 'CSS' style sheets here. One of the chief benefits of a Google blog - aside from the fact that it is free and is easy to use - is that Google will, perhaps not unnaturally, place 'blogspot' content towards the top of its 'search results'. For example, try searching for "new Luftwaffe books" - this blog comes up near the top of any google search. I do not 'monetise' any content on this blog, there are no placed ads. Total page count is around 1300 and page views are approaching 6 million with monthly visitors at roughly 35-40,000 give or take.

(below; stats page from late 2016..)   

  The 'Luftwaffe blog' is/was primarily a vehicle for writing and posting articles and translated excerpts that I find of interest or likely to interest. I once received a message from a (presumably irate) blog visitor who accused me of just posting translations - I don't or couldn't do the kind of research that, say, Nick Beale, puts into his blog while still posting at least several times per month. Especially as I have no particular expertise. This blog is simply somewhere to 'show off' my particular 'passion' in this field and somewhere to 'practise' and 'publish' my writing. If you want to write and be published, you need to 'practise'! Throughout the period this blog has been 'live' I have authored various pieces of writing that have appeared in around 30-40 different volumes by a host of different publishers - Kagero, Classic Pubs, Casemate, Mortons, Osprey, Red Kite/Wingleader, Lela Presse, Eagle Editions and, more recently, JaPo. A while ago I highlighted a selection of these here - note I haven't listed many of the larger Kagero monographs. The early Kagero volumes were unreadable - the fact that the later monographs read 'well' ( or, at least much 'better') is largely down to my own input - until Thomas Szlagor came along. Thomas is competent in both languages. I stopped helping out Kagero when they kept asking for manuscripts to be corrected with only one day's notice. 

Having now compiled several magazines and books (Mortons have published my 'Luftwaffe Fighters -Combat on all Fronts', Parts I & II and Casemate published my " Day fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe" in two parts), I feel less need to do quite so much writing for the blog, especially when there are other deadlines to meet. It's not easy filling an entire 130-page 'book-a-zine' with content - in fact you need a lot of help. This is where the following friends come in. I also like to 'promote' their work (books, articles, models) - so thank you all once again, friends of this blog; Del Davis, Jochen Prien, Ron Ferguson, Jean-Louis Roba, Paul Stipdonk, Michael Meyer,  Robert Forsyth, Eddie Creek, Dan Sharp, David E. Brown, Claes Sundin, IBG Models, Simon Schatz, Andreas Zapf, Alexander Steenbeck, John Vasco, Nick Beale, Theo Boiten, Peter K, Jan B, Jukka J, John M, Theo B,GRM, MAH, the guys at AWP, Kurt Braatz at 296 Verlag, Markus at Flugzeug Classic, Michel and Christophe at Avions magazine, Yann and YK at Aerojournal...

Photo Use

This blog is also though a place to post reference photos and artworks for model builds, planned or otherwise. Modellers make up a large proportion of this site's visitors - check out and put 'FalkeEins' in the search box - when I last checked they had reposted several hundred pages of this blog on their forum (!!) Getting the occasional 'credit' on an Eduard kit box probably helps here. 

I do endeavour to follow some basic 'rules' (and regulations) regarding the posting of photos. For the most part and in general terms, copyright does not apply to most WW II photos, especially when posted for 'research and discussion' purposes ('fair use'). I usually try and provide attribution for all other photos. Some contributors to this blog who share their images here prefer to do so with no particular fanfare. Some of these friends have huge archives at their disposal collected over many decades. I once asked a Belgian friend for some help with photos, expecting -if I was lucky- to receive the odd image or two. As it was I got a USB key with some 4500 images on it! Other friends have been equally as generous. Some friends of this blog sell their images on ebay and similar. But if you believe I have posted a photo in violation of your copyright, please let me know and I will (usually) remove the photo from this website. I try not to go around pinching photos from other sites. 

It would seem that even the major archives are starting to realise that 'copyright' on WWII photos more than 80 years after the event is going to be extremely hard to apply. Even where copyright does apply the “Fair Use” exception in general terms permits usage. There are obviously a couple of important “Fair Use” factors; eg non-profit/educational use is more likely to be judged as 'fair use'. As a general rule, photos are not posted here for profit or for commercial aims. I post specifically to 'educate' and on occasion promote. The  'amount' and 'substantiality' of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole is important. Fair use is more likely when only a small amount or insubstantial portion is used. Another factor taken into consideration is  the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. Unless I have received specific permissions ( eg from Michel at Lela Presse) I do not post photos from books etc in print.

Much Luftwaffe photo content comes from  'private' albums - especially on the German side. It is difficult to claim 'copyright' on these as the original photographer is no longer alive and in many instances a good number of copies will have circulated. In fact, you could argue that many of these images are already public domain, having been widely published in books, pamphlets and newspapers during the Third Reich era. Similarly with various government sources, whether it is the U.S. National Archives, the UK National Archives, the Bundesarchiv, or others, such as the ECPAD in Paris. Government documents, pamphlets, photos, film clips, etc. are in general terms exempt from copyright laws and are in the 'public domain'. This applies to the US as well as most other governments.  German PK images will have appeared in many instances in wartime publications and with the passing now of the original photographers are also thus effectively free of copyright! Many, especially those posted online by the Bundesarchiv are in the 'public domain'. Even the ECPA-D has put many pages of wartime Luftwaffe photos online that cannot be purchased and are public domain. 

Archives have been putting their holdings 'on-line' in searchable data bases for some time now. Of course most archives charge reproduction fees for works that appear in 'commercial  enterprises' but also make available images that can be posted on 'personal' sites through a 'Creative Commons' license. Both the IWM and Bundesarchiv's digital content is effectively 'free' for non-commercial use on blogs like this one under 'Creative Commons'. Even the ECPA-D is starting to digitise their (German) collection, although their site FAQ states "no reproduction", even on 'non-profit' sites - but then provides an embed code for various social media sites most notably FB and Twitter!  To quote one author/publisher, this organisation (the ECPA-D) really has to get real about the fees it charges for photo reproduction in books! Admittedly they have little or no need to display any 'commercial' nous, being a government-run department of the French military and the 'German collection' is only a small part of their huge archive. Most of  its 'jewels' appear to languish 'unused' and 'unseen' in its archives, although that seems to bother few people in the organisation as far as I can see. However they are very good about furnishing 'hard copies' for personal use, at only 2 euros per image. And, as reported elsewhere here, that makes a trip to the ECPA-D a very exciting visit - a 'must' for Luftwaffe enthusiasts!


  1. I have a note/letter from Otto Kittel that I think is to Frau Edith. I bought this for the autograph. I have as yet been unable to have the text translated. Would you like to have a go? I would be happy to send you a copy. Please reply.

    1. Sure, happy to take a look - always assuming the handwriting is 'legible' - email is falkeeins at aol dot com


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