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
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2009 @ 4:09pm

    "Having a sequel to an old book would make me want to read the first one even more if the second one was good."

    Yes, but what if it was bad? (as is the case here) It's quite convenient of you to ignore the other side of the coin -- that is, a possible negative association. Which of those two scenarios do you regard as more likely? or to simplify it further, what percentage of fan fiction do you think is worth reading? Or more bluntly, what percentage of fan fiction DOESN'T make you want to bludgeon yourself to death with a Kindle after reading the first few paragraphs?

    Freetopia proponents often point to handful of baroque composers hundreds of years since dead, Danger Mouse, and Girl Talk as examples. What they never seem to realize is that their examples are infinitesimal and is thus not sufficient to demand what they are demanding.

    But I digress, better to just leave logic out of it...lets do away with copyright altogether, throw the professionals to the wolves in favor worldwide cesspool of fan-fiction amateurism. I've got a great idea for a SCHINDLER'S LIST/SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS mashup!

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