Copyright Maneuver Could Preserve Anne Frank Diary Rights Until 2050

The Swiss foundation that owns the European rights is calling her father a co-author.

Anne Frank.
AP

On January 1, more than 70 years after Anne Frank’s death, the European copyright on her legendary diary is set to expire. But now the Swiss foundation that holds the right has found a way to extend it to 2050, The New York Times has reported.

About a year ago, the Anne Frank Fonds announced its intention to add Anne’s father Otto as a co-author, which would extend the right to 70 years after his death in 1980. The U.S. copyright lasts until 2047, 95 years after the book was originally published.

The foundation recently issued another statement reiterating its controversial claim that Otto Frank did more than just edit the diary.

The move has drawn threats of legal action by publishers planning to bring out the work next year. The book has sold tens of millions of copies, has been translated into dozens of languages and has been adapted for the theater and screen.

After nearly two years of hiding in Amsterdam, the Franks were deported by the Nazis in 1944. Anne and her sister died at Bergen-Belsen in early 1945, while their mother died at Auschwitz. Anne was 15.

AFP

Anne’s last living relative, actor Buddy Elias, died at 89 in March; Elias was president of the foundation. Born in 1925 in Frankfurt, Elias spent the first years of his life with his cousins Anne and Margot. In 1931, his family emigrated to Switzerland.

He noted that “many people want to make money from Anne Frank” and that he even blocked an attempt to sell Anne Frank-brand jeans.