This Is America... Why Are We Banning Books?

from the good-questions dept

Last month we wrote about how a district court banned the publication of a so-called "sequel" (written by another author) to JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I had a lot of trouble with this ruling, which seemed to be a complete assault on the basics of free speech and a total misreading of copyright law. The book itself is not a copy, but something entirely new. Whether or not it's any good (and some of the reviews say it's not), it is a new creative work -- the exact type of thing that copyright was supposed to encourage. It's good to see a lot of other folks are quite concerned about this ruling as well, and the Fair Use Project at Stanford has teamed up with some other universities to file an amicus brief on behalf of the American Library Association and some other library associations, who are reasonably concerned about the free speech implications of banning the publication of a book such as this one.
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Filed Under: catcher in the rye, copyright, creativity, free speech, jd salinger, sequels

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  1. identicon
    Yohann, 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Making it sound close...

    What about writing the book to 'sort of' be a sequel, but not using any names or events from the previous book? It could be called "Catcher in the Wheat" or "Catcher in the Corn". It could be argued that the story is about a baseball player who lives on a farm in another location. Would interpretation rule out in this case over the letter of the story?

    How close does a story have to be in order for it to be considered 'close'?

    And suing is moronic anyway. Having a sequel to an old book would make me want to read the first one even more if the second one was good. I've never had to read 'Catcher in the Rye' and up until now the name was "out of sight, out of mind".

    Heck, didn't the LDS church make their own 'sequel' to the Holy Bible? And do we see churces suing them for doing it? No.... well... not yet anyway.

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