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
    Belle de Monarch, 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:58pm


    Being from Australia, I have always enjoyed & respected the passion with which Americans fight for and hold onto their freedom of speech - but to have a book banned simply because an author decided they loved the original so much they wanted to contribute to its existence, well what the hell is wrong with you! Have you banned books about serial murderers or pedophiles or rape which glorify these horrendous acts? Nooooo, you decide that banning a book that serves no other purpose other than to continue the story of Holden et al, is far more important than commercializing and desensitizing our brains with the rubbish produced by the likes of Stephen King. DISAPPOINTING. Live up to your 'freedom of speech' and let it be published, and then if you don't believe the book is one that you would read as it isn't written by the original author - exercise your freedom to NOT BUY IT OR READ IT! Aren't there more important things in the world that we should be worrying about than a few royalties going to someone else? What about starvation/poverty in the third world, sexual and physical abuse in the Church, racism, plagues in China, terrorism - I am sure you can find something that your money could be better spent on than court action against a harmless, probably entertaining piece of escapism that celebrates a piece of America's history! Shame on you!

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