The Anne Frank Fund holds the copyright to Anne’s diary. They use the funds they receive from the book sales to support charitable organizations around the world. But no one is talking about those efforts right now.
The copyright to her book is set to expire throughout most of Europe on January 1, 2016. Which means the book would be in the public domain and any organization or publisher could publish it. So the organization is saying that Otto Frank, her father, is actually a co-author. This move will extend the copyright many years.
I have two thoughts on this. First, I don’t think for one second that Otto Frank is the co-author of anything. Second, I have an issue with copyright law as it stands today.
What I don’t understand is why copyright law only extends a set number of years after the creator’s death. Why do great works need to eventually become part of the public domain? They’d still be widely available. And usually very cheap. I think my copy of Anne’s diary cost me like $4. Would we read Shakespeare significantly less if his works weren’t in the public domain? Would certain classics like Dracula or Frankenstein or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be less read and recognized if not in the public domain? I don’t think so.
So while everyone else wants to say it’s a money grab by the organization, I won’t. This is one of the most widely read books ever, and I have no issue with those who own the copyright trying to hang on to it as long as possible.
What do you think?