Some books should have a permanent copyright, and it seems like insanity to me that they don’t. As copyright laws go, a work is typically protected for 70 years after the creator’s death. That would mean that a book like Anne Frank’s diary, the copyrights would expire in 2015 because of her untimely death in a concentration camp, and the book would become public domain. It seems very wrong that her diary…her own private words…could become public domain. A diary is so private, but then I guess that when they published her diary, any semblance of privacy no longer existed.
Anne Frank’s diary, the story of which abruptly ended when the family that was secretly hiding them was betrayed, and the two families they were hiding, captured, was preserved after their capture, and given to Otto Frank after he survived the Holocaust. After much soul searching, Otto Frank decided to publish his younger daughter’s story, because people needed to know the truth. It was a selfless move that must have been heartbreaking for a man who had lost everything in the Holocaust…a man whose daughters would never grow to adulthood, never marry, never have children, never grow old. The book became the only way to extend Anne’s life, and through her words to also extend the lives of her mother, sister, and the others who were in hiding. As such, it seems only fitting that the work continue as a copyrighted work beyond 2015, but the law was the law…or was it?
The Swiss foundation, that holds the copyright, made a move to extend the protection of the book. It was a bold, yet simple move. They made Anne’s father, Otto Frank co-author of the book. Of course, a move like this must hold some merit as well. Otto could not be named co-author just because he was her father. While The Diary of Anne Frank was compiled of journal entries made by Anne, it was her father who read through her journal to put together the final product. Otto admitted to having censored some of the content, leaving out certain parts of her story that he decided were unsavory or too personal. It made sense. After all, this was his daughter, and she was becoming a woman, with the curiosities of that transition. His work in editing her story gave credence to naming him co-author. Otto survived World War II and didn’t pass away until 1980. That now means that the copyright could be pushed back to 2050, as he was officially deemed co-author.