The individual in Germany and the group he belongs to had translated and printed A.A.'s basic text into their native tongue. They printed first 164 pages of the original text, now in the public domain due to the lapse of the copyright. Their purpose was to carry the message of recovery in accordance with A.A.'s 5th Tradition: "Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose - that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers." (Long Form)
These little blue books were being distributed at no charge to A.A. members at no charge. They were given away to members as well as in treatment centers, jails and prisons. Now, due to personally punitive legal measures initiated by the General Service Office in Germany (AAeV) and Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. in New York City (AAWS) this carrying the message of recovery may have to cease.
The individual in Germany has been taken to court by AAeV and AAWS not only to stop both him and the A.A. Group he belongs to from printing and distributing literature in the public domain, but to, in effect, throw him out of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The legal action demands that this A.A. member in Germany no longer purchase, lend, own or give away ANY literature related to recovery. This includes all A.A. literature, and literature relating to recovery from alcoholism by any other publisher. He cannot give a newcomer a Big Book, go on Twelve Step calls with any literature, or have in his possession A.A.'s basic text."
The above is just a brief description. The full story is at :- http://alcoholism.about.com/library/blmitch12.htm
The interesting thing is that the person who wrote it was pro-AA.