Anne Frank’s Diary Published Online To Protest Bullshit Copyright Claim

2015 was a year that saw Aussie pirates pack their dacks over legal threats from the makers of Dallas Buyers Club, and worldwide, films like Interstellar and Furious 7 were illegally shared over 40 million times apiece. Still, MMXVI might already have ’15 beat in terms of pirating: A French academic has published the entire text of Anne Frank’s Diary Of A Young Girl online as a protest against the text’s supposed copyright holders.

ICYMI, the Anne Frank Fonds’ exclusive hold on the text’s rights technically ended on January 1st, but the Fonds pulled a fast one last year by saying Anne’s dad, Otto, helped pen the text. If that claim held up, the book wouldn’t enter public domain: the law says copyright holds up for 70 years after the author’s death, so they’d be able to collect royalties on the Diary until 2050.

Olivier Ertzscheid, of the University of Nantes, thought that was some grade-A bullshit. Naturally, he put the entire text online in its original Dutch, which is basically a massive “fuck you” to what could be seen as a downright cynical attempt to cash in on a culturally ubiquitous text.
In an article for French publication Rue89, Ertzschied said he couldn’t wait another 50 years for the Diary to become public property. 

“Anne, dear Anne, I am writing this letter to you to ask you permission not to wait until 2050. At the end of this message, I will put your journal online. 

By doing this, I will perform an illegal act…it is likely that they send me their lawyers, summon me to remove this text, condemn me to pay a fine.

I do not care, Anne.”

His actions have already been praised, but whether the Fonds will challenge the publication is yet to be seen.

Sidenote: Hitler’s Mein Kampf is also technically up for the public domain treatment. How’s that for two vital but completely opposite pieces of mid-century history being doled out to the public for free? 

Story: ABC. 
Photo: Andrew Burton / Getty.