JD Salinger Sues Author For Writing A Sequel To 'The Catcher In The Rye'

from the let's-look-at-copyright dept

Eric M writes in to let us know that JD Salinger is suing the author and publisher of a new book that claims to be the sequel to Salinger's famous The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger is claiming that the book infringes on his copyright -- which may be a big challenge. Now this is an area of copyright law where a lot of lawyers disagree, but in general an unauthorized sequel doesn't necessarily infringe copyright. Copyright covers the specific expression, not the idea -- and since a "fan" sequel isn't likely to decrease interest in the original (in fact the opposite is likely to be true), there's unlikely to be a finding of copyright infringement. Of course, the specific details may matter and cases have gone in all different directions on this. There is, for example, the famous lawsuit about the book The Wind Done Gone, which was a retelling of Gone With The Wind from a different perspective. A lower court issued an injunction to block the sale of a book, but eventually it was allowed. There are certainly other potential claims that Salinger could make -- but the article specifically says it's a copyright issue, which seems like a tough sell.


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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Huh?

    What "other potential claims" could Salinger make? Trademark?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:08am

    And this is what happens when people think copyright allows them full, unfettered dominion over every aspect of a creative work.

     

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  3.  
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    C.T., Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Mike --- Your analysis couldn't be more wrong in this case. Leaving normative issues aside, courts generally regard fan fiction to be infringing. It is true that only expression is copyrightable, but the line between idea and expression is a tenuous one. Expression extends beyond the literal text of the original work and includes things such as characters, assuming of course that the characters are well enough defined in the original.


    The Wind Done Gone Bad example is extremely misplaced, as the outcome of that case turned on the fact that the "sequel" was in fact a parody of the original.

    Without knowing more about the sequel, it is more than likely going to be considered an infringement of the exclusive right to prepare derivative works.

     

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  4.  
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    Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:30am

    Catcher in the Rye

    This is an interesting idea. To what extent do we own our creations? How can this line be drawn?

    It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

     

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  5.  
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    Freedom, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:34am

    IP/Copyright = Welfare

    The new American Disease - Entitlement.

    Heaven forbid that someone take your work and extend it - oh the horror. Heaven forbid that someone create interest in your original works and make you more money indirectly. Heaven forbid that someone give you the greatest compliment of all time by extending and honoring your prior work.

    Freedom

     

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    Mechwarrior, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Fan Fiction is completely legal. Have you not seen FanFiction.net?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    Mechwarrior -- clearly if it's on the internet it must be legal.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    So you're saying fan fiction is illegal?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:04am

    Couldn't the author at least pick a book worth having a sequel?

    Awful taste in literature aside, the cynic in me knows that the courts will find in Salinger's favor and the Streisand Effect will boost the other author's subsequent works while giving Salinger a black eye.

     

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  10.  
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    eh, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re:

    It doesn't seem like anyone is actually making money off of the fan-based literature. It's the service of the posting board that is generating (if any) profit.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:13am

    The copyright concepts of the characters, the places, the scenerio is key. It isn't a question of copying the words, but copying the idea idea.

    "fan fiction", especially when sold commercially, is sort of like a DJ remix - the underlying material belongs to someone else. Without the orignal, the extension is meaningless.

    Mike, this is another situation when you just don't see things right.

     

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  12.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:32am

    I think that the main problem here is that the goal of copyrights has been forgotten. The goal of copyrights is encouraging innovation. However, for some odd reason, the newly established goal is to help content creators to make money. So as a result, it's ok to use copyrights to stifle innovation as long as the original content creators make money...

     

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    Brooks, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:34am

    Yep

    I agree that Mike got this one wrong. It sucks, because his is a totally rational view and in line with what copyright is supposed to be -- a limited protection of authors such that they are incented to create.

    But look at this case. What's the social benefit of preventing a sequel? Is Salinger going to retroactively un-write the original? Has he not made enough money yet, and he's concerned people will buy the sequel instead of the original?

    It's idiotic on the face of it. But I'm afraid it's a fair accompli that copyright has become about ownership the broadest sense of the word rather than any kind of mutually beneficial social contract. Fix that, and rebalance society's interest in having new works against authors' interest in being able to make a living while creating works, and this stupid case become just a footnote.

    As things stand, though, my guess is that Salinger will prevail and we'll see creative opportunities further limited.

    God help us if/when whoever first penned "It was a dark and stormy night" decides to sue everyone who's used or riffed on it.

     

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  14.  
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    C. J., Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:35am

    I have seen a great deal of bogus copyright lawsuits. This is not one of them.

    "60 years later: Coming Through the Rye" and billed as being a sequel to Catcher in the Rye? Come on. This guy took a well known author, novel, and is trying to use them to sling his own crappy book.

     

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    JohnRaven,CHT,CSH (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Fan fiction legal?

    If fan fiction is legal, how is Rowling prevening the Harry Potter Compendium?

    I thought derivative works are covered by copyright.

     

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  16.  
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    CStrube (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Oh Noes!!11!

    The original was bad enough when we had to read it in high school. Now the travesty grows.

     

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    Mort, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:42am

    I'm not a copyright attorney nor do I claim to be one on the internet. I do however claim to be, like nearly everyone else, a writer...on the internet.
    So looking at it from a purely aesthetic perspective (and acknowledging I haven't read it) I find the work to be shit. Lazy. Disgusting.
    Who among us in our adolescence hasn't read 'The Catcher in the Rye' and then headed to our journal and attempted to emulate 'The Catcher in the Rye'?
    However, who among us didn't quite get it; never grew up; continued the narrative and produced a sequel? Apparently this 'author.'
    As the poet says, he gets the gas face.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: IP/Copyright = Welfare

    Sounds like you yourself are fairly entitled.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    Just because its crappy doesn't mean its illegal. Just because it seems low doesn't mean its illegal. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean its illegal.

    You offered absolutely no points to justify the lawsuit not being bogus. You just offered a biased opinion that the other guy should lose cause you don't like it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Fan fiction legal?

    She made the argument that she was going to release the same thing, plus it wasn't derivative in that its a new story, but it just reiterated "facts" established in the story.

    I'm not saying I agree with the outcome, I'm just saying its an entirely different scenario.

     

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  21.  
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    hax, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:55am

    just waiting for the right moment

    It seems that 55+ years is ample time to write one himself if Salinger so intended. The guy hasn't even written anything in 40+ years. Let it go already, you're not using it.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Yeah,

    Sounds like something that Salinger would do. What a weird man he is.

     

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  23.  
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    hegemon13, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    "It isn't a question of copying the words, but copying the idea idea."

    Actually, you could not be more wrong here. Ideas can't be copyrighted. It is a specific expression of an idea that is covered by copyright. Fictional characters, places, etc, can be trademarked, but that is not the same as copyright. In some instances, infringement has been found when someone copies a plot, but it has to be an extreme, character-for-character, plot-point-for-plot-point copy to be found infringing. That's not what this work is; rather, it is a sequel.

    Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with unofficial sequels. In the end, readers are going to migrate toward sequels from the original author, anyway. So, if Salinger thinks this guy botched the sequel, maybe he should write his own. Clearly, there is a market for a sequel. If he wants to, he can easily cash in on it with an official sequel and eclipse this guy's sales.

     

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  24.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    Re: just waiting for the right moment

    "It seems that 55+ years is ample time to write one himself if Salinger so intended. The guy hasn't even written anything in 40+ years. Let it go already, you're not using it."

    But if we do that, we won't encourage Salinger to get off his ass and create new works.

    Oh, wait... I see the problem here.

     

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    C.T., Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    "Fictional characters, places, etc, can be trademarked, but that is not the same as copyright. In some instances, infringement has been found when someone copies a plot, but it has to be an extreme, character-for-character, plot-point-for-plot-point copy to be found infringing. That's not what this work is; rather, it is a sequel."

    Hegemon:

    Your statement of the law is incorrect. While it is true that ideas themselves are not copyrightable, a character can rise to the level of expression... and infringement can occur even when the defendant does not utilize actual language/plot lines from the plaintiff's original work. See, for example, MGM v. Honda (900 F. Supp. 1287), holding that the use of a James Bond like character in a car commercial constituted infringement. Unauthorized sequels have also been found to constitute infringement in several famous cases: most notably Anderson v. Stallone (11 USPQ2d 1161) and Microstar v. FormGen (154 F3d 1107).

     

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  26.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Hmm?

    Alternative question: given how many psychos, assassins and serial killers were found to have carried/owned "Catcher In The Rye", how has Jerome NOT been sued as the cause of those violent acts?

    How is "Cather" not yesterdays Marilyn Manson or GTA3?

    Oh, Jerome, now that you're back in the news, they're going to come for you...

     

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  27.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re:


    Mike --- Your analysis couldn't be more wrong in this case.


    I said this was disputed, and there were strong arguments on both sides.

    For example, this legal analysis explains why copyright doesn't apply:

    http://www.btinternet.com/~akme/solomn05.html

    Others have explained why it should.

    I was explaining why it shouldn't, and noted (correctly) that this is disputed.

     

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  28.  
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    C.T., Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Frankly, that article is poorly reasoned and extremely outdated. The reality is that there is little dispute on the issue.

    You mentioned The Wind Done Gone Bad in your original post. Even that case found the sequel to constitute copyright infringement, albeit non-actionable infringement under the fair use doctrine.

     

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  29.  
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    Jason, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Non-actionable infringement? Sounds sorta like trespassing by staring too long at someone's property.

     

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  30.  
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    knifight, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    I think the sense of entitlement in this case is on the writer of the sequel. Just because he has read about some characters, doesn't mean he has the right to spin tales about them that leverage the created fictional substance of someone else. I don't want to get creative writing theory and craft technical here, but in short, a fictional character, or setting, or a specific fictional history from previous plot lines etc. is property. Intellectual property that exists in the public market/mindspace as virtual memories that can be tapped as a reference or used as a shorthand when conveying additive information to that pre-exsting property.

    The owner's for-profit use of of his own virtual-public-mindspace property is HIS right. Not the right of others because he hasn't done so yet, or becuase they have a great idea on how to use it, or because there is a market for it, or some other such nonsense.

    If the sequel writer wants to license the property he can work out a deal with the creator and in the case of hip-hop the market ensured that the average costs settled at an amount that is low enough that it rarely serves as a prohibitive barrier to innovation.. but it's outrageous to assume that anything you see or read is yours to use *for-profit* because you think you can or you just want to. If the artist so desires it, we *pay* them to make a remix of their songs. This is not just a free digital copy of catcher in the rye, (the whole "it's not theft due to infinite supply" theory) imho this is unauthorized pollution/dillution/enhancement of a resource.

    Unlike a reproduced song, an intellectual property can in fact be damaged (or enhanced) by misuse. If the sequel writer wants to write fan-fiction and not profit from it, then that is one thing. But to decide as a writer that you are too lazy to create your own characters, and references and/or your own original back story when you want to produce a *for-profit* creative work, to me that demonstrates a clear LACK of innovation, and creativity, and contribution to the public body or pool of what I guess we should call virtual value.

    Sometimes this site has the attitude that nobody should profit from anything they create beyond live performances. That's bullsh^% ok? The sequel writer is not being "stiffled" if he's not allowed to crib somebody else's homework; he is free to do it himself.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    Whatever happened to 'standing on top of the shoulders of giants'?

    Granted, it's rare that someone else other than the original author writes a sequel to a book. But does Salinger actually believe he has a point here?
    I believe most fiction is based on something else.
    Perhaps this author shouldn't have said 'sequel to' but rather 'based upon', but it would amount to the same thing, and is just semantics.

     

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    Jason, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Indeed not. The initial purpose of copyrights was an arrangement between the Stationers and the British crown whereby the Stationers would enforce censorship and in exchange they received all rights to publish. It was roughly a century later when the Statute of Anne shifted those rights to authors.

    As it always was, copyright remains an oppression of expression.

     

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    Courtney (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Legality of Fan Fiction

    To clarify, fan fiction is not, in and of itself, illegal. Authors have the power to stop someone from creating derivative works, but in general, they don't bother until someone tries to go make money off of it. To use the example of the Harry Potter Lexicon (not Compendium), J.K. Rowling has no problem with fan fiction at all. In fact, a few years back, she said on her website that while she herself did not read the fan fiction (for fear that she might accidentally put an idea in a book that someone else came up with), she was immensely flattered that people liked her books enough to expand upon them, and, if you actually go to fanfiction.net and look, there are more Harry Potter fan fiction stories on the site than any other book.

    This whole argument does distort the story some, however, since Rowling's argument against the Lexicon (which was to be a book format of the website) was that it offered far too little original content by the "author". She even went as far as to endorse another book, The Sorceror's Companion, in court. If you look at that book, you'll notice that there is quite a bit of original content.

    It really does depend on the holder of the copyright as to what fans can get away with.

    Courtney

     

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  34.  
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    Salt, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 1:30pm

    Sequel.

    Near the end of the novel, Caulfield writes, "That's all I'm going to tell about."

    Pretty damn intentional on Salinger's part. Holden's story ends when it ends. It is isolated within the pages. Furthering the story doesn't make any fucking sense. The writer of the "sequel" is obviously a dimshit hack who's going to slobber all over Salinger's creation.

    Let a fool be a fool.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re:

    virtual-public-mindspace property

    Making up new phrases doesn't make you right. Also, it's not property. It's a *limited* monolpoly. Limited not only in tenure, but also in scope. Pretending it is property is foolish, and only leads to people trying to staple on actual property rights to something that never was and is *not* property.

    Unlike a reproduced song, an intellectual property can in fact be damaged (or enhanced) by misuse. If the sequel writer wants to write fan-fiction and not profit from it, then that is one thing.

    The act of charging (or not) does not determine if the story is good or bad. Therefore, stating that it is somehow better if the artist does not charge for his work is misleading, and only shows that you are the type of person who views copyrights as a "right to get paid". It is *not* a right to get paid, but the *limited* monopoly over one's works. While trademark laws seem to often trump this, I can't see how copyright does.

    Also, you've gone and showed my eariler point, that using the word "property" where it does not belong only causes confusion: Your *limited* monopoly cannot be damaged. It can be taken away, or enforced.

    But to decide as a writer that you are too lazy to create your own characters, and references and/or your own original back story when you want to produce a *for-profit* creative work, to me that demonstrates a clear LACK of innovation, and creativity, and contribution to the public body or pool of what I guess we should call virtual value.

    You really think that works are created in a vacuum? That nothing inspires creation? You clearly have never created anything, then. How many times have musicians given interviews where they say that they were inspired by another artist? Just because something is *based* on something else does not mean it is not creative. If it wasn't creative, then anyone could do it. It would be commonplace-- we'd be tripping over all the CitR sequels there'd be so many.

    As for contribution to the public *domain*: (That's the word you're looking for, btw) Since CitR is clearly *not* there, then Salinger also hasn't contributed to public, right?

    Again, making up phrases like "virtual value" doesn't make you right. (or easier to understand)

    Sometimes this site has the attitude that nobody should profit from anything they create beyond live performances. That's bullsh^% ok?

    This site usually has the attitude that people should get paid for work they do, not work they did, and that using copyright to prevent the creation of new works, even remixes, is going against the purpose of the law, which is a gross misuse of the law, and needs to be safeguarded against to allow for more creative works to be created.

    Case in point: There is no sequel to CitR, but clearly there is a perceived demand for one, and as Salinger hasn't bothered to create anything new (ironically, using the system designed to spur creation as welfare) then someone else has decided to fill that need, and is now being prevented from doing so. (Ironically, using the system designed to spur creation as a way to stifle it.)

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    While he may not be right writing a sequel to someone else's work..


    and since a "fan" sequel isn't likely to decrease interest in the original (in fact the opposite is likely to be true),

    There's many tons of truth in that statement.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re:

    "but the article specifically says it's a copyright issue, which seems like a tough sell."

    Perhaps you should read the comments here Mike and understant that your article is poorly written. Your conclusion should be nearly the opening statement. You don't really touch on it until the end. You leave the impression (because of the way your blog tends to lean) that you are calling out another horrible assault on "innovation".

    Perhaps a re-write might be order?

     

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  38.  
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    Jason, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    Re:

    "Virtual-public-mindspace property"?

    Well if JD Salinger wants a piece of my mind, he is welcome to it and so are you!! You illegitimate children of feudalistic tyranny!!

     

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  39.  
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    Jason, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, Coward, the notion that his conclusion must parrot his opening statement is a common artifact of poor junior high writing instruction. Now, it IS important that his conclusion follow with his thesis statement, which in this case is the second sentence. (more than acceptable according to nearly any style guide)So let's see if it does:

    TS: "Salinger is claiming that the book infringes on his copyright -- which may be a big challenge."

    Conclusion:
    "There are certainly other potential claims that Salinger could make -- but the article specifically says it's a copyright issue, which seems like a tough sell."

    The basic, singular idea of both, as well as the rest of the article, is the tenuous nature of Salinger's copyright claim. Your condemnation is unjust.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 5:58pm

    The Zombie Catcher in the Rye

    After the success of Sense and Sensibility and Zombies the latest of the added undead classics is just inevitable.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 9:11pm

    met a man in a gyped land

    i met a man in egypt land
    starting for my major
    "come to me" he said to me; my dark horse and i,
    we followed

    him

    into battle
    inches away, no sooner than day
    parted night's blanket, his narcissism stable,
    our man lead the way through fog as thick as cable.

    tell a
    vision.
    television's the past, mrs. beasley's dolled down,
    soaps become lyes, tears there have dried.
    men again standing

    men again standing forward and aft
    men again standing for what they're able.

    "don't touch their wounds" our man repeats
    "always keep beats, ahead for their heads. Make
    keeps for your own
    hearts, pyramid their dead
    to the far side

    far side is victories" he said
    all
    probably mislabeled mislabled

    we took them down, indeedly
    initially

    entirely

     

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  42.  
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    knifight, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for your response Joe,

    I didn't say "public domain" because I didn't really mean.. "public domain"- as you point out, we wouldn't be having this discussion if JDS had put CiTR in the public domain - so we are in agreement there.

    I freely admit to not knowing exactly what to call a "shared perception of imaginary events/persons/places based on a common experience of a fictional work" in the context of legal protections. I didn't create the term in lieu of an argument to "make me right" I was struggling to name the phenomenon I described above - any help you can give me would be appreciated.

    And I didn't say creative works were created in a vacuum. The work of another that "inspires creation" is a wonderful thing. We are in violent agreement on that. "Inspired by" implies that the new work is significantly different from the original. What we're talking about in this article is the work of another that is plagerized wholesale (in that the new creator presumes his audience possesses that phenomenon I mentioned above - whatever you want to call it) and added to it, to make a sequel - even a great sequel - without the permission of the original creator *for profit*.

    I didn't relate charging for a product to the quality of that product either.

    I think the *for profit* aspect makes a big difference since I don't believe in legislating against or prohibiting peoples' free speech and creativity that allows them to draw on ALL of their experiences real or fictional. Fan fiction is awesome.

    What we're talking about is making money off of someone else's work. I just don't think that's cool. Again I understand the business model around sampling and I think that works, but to act (in the market place) like something is in the "public domain" when it isn't intended to be by it's creator, is imho artistically dishonest, and should be commercially illegal.

    I guess we fundamentally disagree in that I think someone should be able to get paid for work they did, as well as for work they are doing. I think creative works are an investment by the creator, and that investment creates capital of a sort (again I ask your help in naming it if the term "intellectual property" offends you) that the creator should be allowed to sell many, many times with the legal protection of a limited monopoly if the market desires that capital-of-a-sort. In fact, (as I go out on a techdirt limb here) I think that if the artist continues to produce, over time, I think the creator has a right to profit from all of the elements in that "body of work" he or she has invested in.

    Do I think that the creator's limited monopoly should be indefinite? no. Should it be so sweeping that it covers things that are similar? Probably not, but that is for the courts to decide depending on how close the new work is to the orignial. Do I think the owner of the original work should be able to invoke the law to prevent future works of that in that same type, style, subject, etc. etc.? Obviously I don't think so. The creation of a CiTR-type novel or a CiTR-type sequel is fine. (Apparently there's a market for it) But a direct leveraging or referencing of someone elses intellectual property (Sorry.. I really need that new descriptor term from you), to be sold in the market place without even so much as permission or a sampling-type agreement from the actual creator/owner of that "fictional experience guide" (maybe?) strikes me as unfair.

     

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  43.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You leave the impression (because of the way your blog tends to lean) that you are calling out another horrible assault on "innovation".

    He didn't say that at all, but he sure could have. This is clearly a case of copyright potentially stifling creative work - the exact opposite of its intent.

     

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  44.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re:

    The initial purpose of copyrights was an arrangement between the Stationers and the British crown...

    OK, to be more specific, the original goal of copyrights in the United States was "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" (from the US Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 8). Now of course the goal is to protect incumbent content creators from competition. Cynical? Me?

     

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  45.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I freely admit to not knowing exactly what to call a "shared perception of imaginary events/persons/places based on a common experience of a fictional work" in the context of legal protections.

    A limited monolpoly over the power to determine who may or may not copy your creation is quite often referred to as a "copyright". I'd suggest calling it that.

    "Inspired by" implies that the new work is significantly different from the original.

    Citation please, because I've always thought "inspired by" meant that it meant "thoughts, feelings or ideas were triggered by" in which case, while reading CitR, this guy came up with an idea for a sequel.

    I didn't relate charging for a product to the quality of that product either.

    You *did* say that works based on another author's works could possibly harm the reputation of the original work, and then you say it's all good if it's done for no profit. I just was pointing out that if it's crappy and it's free doesn't prevent this. So which is the concern? That the original author's works may be tarnished, or that someone has the audacity to make money from someone else's fantasy world?

    I guess we fundamentally disagree in that I think someone should be able to get paid for work they did, as well as for work they are doing.

    Salinger is doing *zero* work. This other guy did all the work. Making up characters is relatively easy compared to setting them up in a story that is desirable to readers. Regardless, the question I want to know is how does this sequel *hurt* Salinger? He isn't writing anything, and I'd bet a good deal of money that he just wants a cut from this book, not to stop it. So he wants more money for doing zero extra work. Explain this to me.

    again I ask your help in naming it if the term "intellectual property" offends you

    It doesn't offend me, it is a confusing term. Try using "copyrights" or "patents" or "trademarks" instead of lumping things with different rules into one category. It's NOT property. The very closest is a lease, but even that will lead to people believing it is actually a lease. It is a government granted monopoly to encourage creative people to create. Salinger is not creating, he is using the copyright system as a welfare system, which it is not. If he was using it properly, he'd still be writing, because I assume he likes to make money.

    Should it be so sweeping that it covers things that are similar? Probably not, but that is for the courts to decide depending on how close the new work is to the orignial.

    Why is everything "for the courts to decide"? We're all mostly adults here.. do we really need the government to tell us what we can and can't, should and shouldn't do? It's absolutely clear that Salinger believes he is entitled for money for work he did in the past, while doing no extra work. That's welfare, when you expect money for no work. The copyright system is not welfare. If it's not pushing writers to pump out book after book (or enabling them to write one good book and leech off it for the rest of their life, their children's life, and into their grandchildren's life!), then it is broken. End of story.

     

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  46.  
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    hegemon13, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    That is unfortunate and ridiculous. Copyright was never originally meant to cover ideas, and the fact that judges have made these kinds of bad calls over the years does not excuse it. I do believe Salinger will probably win this case, but he certainly shouldn't.

    In any case, the post I responded to DID suggest far broader coverage by copyright than what actually exists, even today. Go back and read what I responded to.

     

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  47.  
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    Vince, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    An Overlooked Point

    I think a lot of these comments are missing something crucial. If this case goes to trial, the question won't be whether a fan is allowed to write a sequel to a book he or she likes. The issue will be more particular: whether this particular sequel is entitled to protection under the doctrine of fair use.

    These are very fact specific inquiries, so without having a lot of details from the book it is hard to say how things will come out. But the court will look very closely at (among other things) what was copied and what effect it will have.

    Nevertheless, I have read the complaint, and it seems that "J.D. California's" book copied more than was necessary to make a sequel. The book shows very little imagination; the author essentially makes Holden C. old and takes him through most of the same scenarios in the book, which is a simplistic process.

    I support the idea of protecting fan fiction and parodies, but I think there has to be some point at which there is just too little creativity and too much copying.

    I have posted a legal argument in favor of Salinger on my site at http://tinyurl.com/qwrg8v.

    Admittedly, it's based mostly on the allegations of the complaint, but it is a starting point for looking at the issue.

     

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  48.  
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    Brix, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    fair use?

    It won't be infringing on the copyright if it comments on the original. And to build upon another's work — isn't that what all artists have done since the beginning of time? I for one am very interested in reading this new work. Bring it on.

     

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  49.  
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    Katie, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Understanding

    Fan fiction is one thing. But when you publish something, you make money from it. You don't make money off of fan fiction. If I was to write something, I'd want some compensation if someone decided to extend it, and profit from it.

    In this particular case, the author is using the Holden Caulfield character, which is hard to get around saying it's okay to use. That's an original idea by Salinger, and he has full copyright to it.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2009 @ 6:05pm

    Re: IP/Copyright = Welfare

    You my good sir are unoriginal and dont understand the time and effort that people put into things. your scum sucking bottom feeder who thinks that just because you dont have respect for quality and hardwork of others doesn't mean everyone is that way. Did george lucas let people make a star wars episode 12. no dumbass. hmm maybe because that would be simply stealing someone else's ideas. yeah sure some people have wrote star trek and star wars books but this is different. this is literature. dont get me wrong i think if a work is old enough it could really be cool but old means like over 60 years.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    He should've waited until Salinger was dead. Now he is.

     

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  52.  
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    Eddie M'aharg, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Re: IP/Copyright = Welfare

    Interesting reading your Post ! I'm on this site, as I'm trying to find out all I can about the Copyright Laws, before I set about writing a Sequel to the well known Jean Auel Series, " Earth's Children " . Any info. you may have , which you would be willing to pas on , would be much appreciated. Regards, E.M'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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