A Fight Is Brewing Over Anne Frank’s Diary

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Anne Frank's iconic diary, written while she and her family were in hiding from the Nazis, is now available online, free of charge. Usually, releasing a copyrighted book is illegal, but a legal loophole has the Anne Frank Fund up in arms. In 1993, Europe passed a law that effectively removes a book's copyright 70 years after the author dies. Frank died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, so The Diary of a Young Girl is now considered public domain.
University of Nantes lecturer Olivier Ertzscheid and French parliament member Isabelle Attard both posted Frank's diary online. Ertzscheid said he uploaded the diary because of what it represents. "I bear the conviction that there is no greater combat than to fight for its freedom, no greater tribute than share it without restriction," he wrote, according to ABC.
However, the Anne Frank Fund contends that it still holds exclusive copyright for The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank's father, Otto, founded the Switzerland-based organization. Yves Kugelmann, a member of the Anne Frank Fund's board of trustees, claims that Otto "merged, or compiled, the two versions of the diary that Anne Frank left," so he's entitled to his own copyright. Since he died in 1980, that copyright is still in place.
Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic work, Mein Kampf, also has an expiring copyright. The manifesto can legally be purchased in Germany, but German officials fear it will cause anti-Jewish sentiment, according to the BBC. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that the Anne Frank Fund was targeting a lawsuit at all publishers of The Dairy of a Young Girl, including the Cambridge Press, rather than self-publishers who content the book is now in the public domain.

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