On 23 December 2015, a civil court in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, confirmed explicitly that the copying or publishing Anne Frank’s original manuscripts after 2015 constitutes an infringement of copyrights that belong to the Swiss Anne Frank Fonds. The court made clear that permission of the copyright owner remains necessary in order to publish the original writings of Anne Frank.
Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Under general copyright law, the rights to her works would expire on 1 January 2016, 70 years after her death. However, as the Anne Frank Fonds has explained before, exceptions to this law apply to Anne Frank’s diary (see http://www.annefrank.ch/qa-en.html).
Under Dutch copyright law, a work first published posthumously before 1995 remains protected for 50 years after the initial publication. The court confirmed that Anne Frank’s manuscripts were first published in 1986 in a scholarly critical edition, and that the manuscripts will therefore remain protected until 1 January 2037. Similar rules apply in many other countries, including France and Commonwealth countries. In the US, the diaries will also remain protected for several decades.
The Anne Frank Fonds says: “The court’s decision confirms that the Anne Frank Fonds is effectively the custodian of the work and memory of Anne and the family Frank. The Foundation aims to safeguard, together with its partners, that the diary is published authentically all over the world. As instructed by its founder, Otto Frank, the Fonds will keep supporting scholarly work, education and charity. This is another ruling that directly sustains and honours the legacy of the family Frank, and respects the wish of Otto Frank for the Anne Frank Fonds to decide on any publication of the diary.”