(credit: Anne Frank House)
Anne Frank was a teenager who is now known the world over for her diary of life in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.
She died in February or March 1945, at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where was she held, shortly before it was liberated.
Since the applicable term of copyright in the EU is 70 years after the death of a writer, this means that her famous diary should now be in the public domain.
That is the supposed deal of copyright: in return for a time-limited monopoly enforced by the state, a protected work passes into the public domain after the copyright term expires, after which it can be freely used by anyone for any purpose.
So why isn’t The Diary of a Young Girl free now? The answer to that question reveals the patchwork nature of copyright in the EU, and the absurdly long duration that makes it unsuited for a digital world where sharing and reuse is the norm.
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