Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recaught in the Rye

There's been a lot of talk lately around the so-called sequel to The Catcher in the Rye and J. D. Salinger's lawsuit against it. The whole issue of intellectual property is one of great interest to anyone in the media, and I think beyond. I mean, if I create a character, what right do you have to reuse that character? Copyright exists to protect my rights, but when something is in the popular imagination, i.e., when copyright expires, anyone can have it. Anyone can write a sequel to, say, David Copperfield. But Salinger is still alive, and his copyright is still in force. Then again, other writers have some derivative rights; it's usually legal to publish parodies, for instance. All in all, a fascinating issue. The NY TImes has a good summary of the case.

NYT: The author J. D. Salinger, known as much for his cloistered ways as for his skillful pen, has sued repeatedly over the years to protect his privacy and the sanctity of his work.

So when a book that describes itself on its copyright page as “An Unauthorized Fictional Examination of the Relationship Between J. D. Salinger and his Most Famous Character” was published in Britain and scheduled for release in the United States, a detour to court was a safe bet.


No comments: