Did Anne Frank Have a Co-Author?
By admin on Nov 14, 2015 | In Literary
Nothing stirs up controversy like the prospect of a lucrative copyright coming to an end. In this case, I'm talking about the book, The Diary of Anne Frank.
The classic work is a Jewish teenage girl's recounting of the days when she and her family tried to evade from the Nazis by hiding in a secret annex of an Amsterdam factory. The family was eventually captured, and only Anne's father, Otto Frank, survived. He brought the diary to light for the world by having it published.
The copyright in Europe was set to expire as of January 1, 2016. However, according to a New York Times story, the Swiss foundation that currently holds the copyright is contending that Otto Frank was actually a co-author of the book, which would push the copyright expiration date in Europe to 70 years after his death in 1980.
This raises at least two issues: First, if Otto Frank was a co-author, then does that call into question previous assertions that the diary was in Anne's own words? Does that constitute a form of fraud on the buying public? (Just asking.) And, second, what does this new claim on the duration of the book's copyright do to those who've been planning various republications next year of what they had thought was about to become a public domain work?
If history is any indication, claims of copyright protection that go beyond what was originally thought to be the expiration date typically wind up in court. I wouldn't be the least surprised to see this one there.
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