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Anne Frank's Diary Copyright Set to End- Or Is It?

Written by Thomas Mould on 17 November 2015

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Her diary was one of the most important diaries of the 20th Century and offers a unique personal experience of the Nazi Holocaust during the 1940s. Due to her untimely death in early 1945, her diary is set to lose its copyright protection at the end of this year; officially, on the 1st January 2016. That would mean its ownership would pass into the public domain, but it seems that the current owner of its copyright, the Ann Frank Foundation, is making moves to stop that from happening.

The Foundation is attempting to maintain its copyright hold for a few years more. Just weeks out from its end as steward of Frank’s work, it’s claimed that Anne’s Father, Otto, was also a co-author of the diary, which would extend its ownership of the copyright until 2030.

It is reported that an editor of one edition of the diary is also claiming co-authorship, which would push the copyright back into the late 21st century before it entered the public domain.

This is, according to some analysts, fraudulent and perpetuates a copyright that while certainly useful under the Foundation’s control, could also allow for collaborative works based on Frank’s work if set free. As a part of history too, many argue that the diary should be owned by the public, much as other historically important documents and artefacts are.

Perhaps most damning though, is the accusation that by claiming others are co-authors of the diary, it suggests that it does not entirely represent Anne’s views on her time in that attic. 

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