More than 68 years after it was first published, Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” is getting a co-author: her father, Otto, who long maintained that the book was written solely by his daughter.
The decision to name Otto Frank the book’s co-author, the New York Times reports, would allow the Swiss foundation that owns the diary’s copyright to hold on to it for an additional 35 years in Europe. The book’s copyright in many European countries expires on Jan. 1, 2016.
Listing Otto Frank as a co-author would mean that the copyright would expire 70 years after his death. He died in 1980 of lung cancer. Anne Frank died in 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany and her diary, which chronicled her family’s years in hiding from the Nazis, remains an international bestseller.
The copyright move has already proved controversial. French intellectual property attorney Agnès Tricoire told the New York Times: “If you follow their arguments, it means that they have lied for years about the fact that it was only written by Anne Frank.”
Yves Kugelmann, a member of the board of the Anne Frank Fund, the foundation that owns the copyright, said that the move was necessary to “make sure that Anne Frank stays Anne.”
“When she died, she was a young girl who was not even 16,” Kugelmann said. “We are protecting her. That is our task. It is not about the money.”
The foundation’s decision won’t affect the book’s copyright in the United States, which is still set to expire in 2047. The most popular American edition of the book is published by Bantam, an imprint of Random House.