The Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation that currently holds the copyright to The Diary of a Young Girl, has pulled off some interesting legal gymnastics to maintain their possession of said copyright: they added Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, as a co-author.
According to the New York Times, under European law, the copyright for Diary was set to expire 70 years after the death of its young writer—turns out that Frank died 70 years ago this year. By adding her father as a co-author, the lifespan of the copyright is extended, prohibiting people from publishing without permission and all those interesting benefits copyright gets you.
But the addition of her father as a co-author adds an interesting twist into the story of the book itself. For a while now, people have questioned whether Frank had actually written the entire thing. It’s long been suspected that her father had much more of a direct impact on content beyond the editor title the book gives him. By adding him as a co-author, it muddles the facts and undermines the Anne Frank Fonds’ ongoing struggle to get people to believe Frank wrote the book herself.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the origin debate evolves from here. Regardless of who wrote it, we can probably expect that this book is something we’re going to see on grade school curriculum for years to come.
What do you think of this move? Does it change the story for you at all if it’s true that Otto Frank wrote some of it himself?
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