The Anne Frank Fonds, a Switzerland-based foundation, has decided to name Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, as the legal co-author of his daughter’s famous diary. In the past, Otto was acknowledged as an editor, the writer behind the diary’s prologue, and the man who had the book published. This controversial change allows the organization to retain copyright to the Diary of a Young Girl until 2050.
Here’s more from The New York Times: “Six years ago, the foundation asked legal experts in various countries for advice on its copyright, according to Yves Kugelmann, a member of the foundation’s board. They concluded, he said, that Otto ‘created a new work’ because of his role of editing, merging and trimming entries from her diary and notebooks and reshaping them into ‘kind of a collage’ meriting its own copyright. Merely declaring Otto the ‘co-author’ on copyright filings extends the copyright, legal experts said, though such a stand could be tested in the courts. Readers would not see any changes on the books themselves, foundation officials said.”
Generally speaking, European laws dictate that copyright ends approximately 70 years following an author’s death. Anne passed away in a concentration camp back in 1945 while her father lived until 1980. Within the United States, the copyright for the diary will not end until 2047. The book was first published in this country back in 1952. (via The Seattle Times)