As Anne Frank died in 1945, this work would be elevated to the public domain in six weeks, on January 1, 2016 – 70 years after her death. However, the foundation that holds the copyright (and therefore collects a significant amount of money from this work) is now trying an obvious abuse of their monopoly, by suddenly naming her father Otto a co-author of her diary where he was previously just an editor. This move purportedly extends their own monopoly on the piece of heritage by decades – all the way through 2050 – out of the blue.
What’s really infuriating about this is how oldmedia doesn’t call it out as fraud at all, but takes a completely neutral stance. Most outlets seem to be rewrites of the New York Times story, which just neutrally reports “the book now has a co-author”, quotes a few people in the worst form of abdicative “he-said-she-said journalism”, and leaves it at that.
Let’s be clear on three points here: One, this is a fraud committed for the sole purpose of preventing the work from being elevated to the public domain; two, it is committed now as the book would otherwise be elevated to the public domain a mere six weeks from now — if Otto Frank was objectively a co-author, it would reasonably have said so from the beginning, and not when then monopoly was down to the wire; and three, oldmedia remains abysmally ignorant of how the copyright monopoly is used to punish and withhold, rather than the illusory encourage and reward.