Monday, July 06, 2009

Verdict Expected Soon in Salinger Lawsuit

On June 2, Publishers Lunch reported:
"J.D. Salinger filed suit in a NY Federal Court against the anonymous author of the forthcoming sequel 60 YEARS LATER: Coming Through the Rye, also naming UK company Windupbird Publishing, Sweden-based Nicotext, and SCB Distributors . . . in the action. The complaint declares, 'the sequel is not a parody and it does not comment upon or criticize the original. It is a rip-off pure and simple'."
The new novel has a 76-year-old protagonist who goes by the name of Mr. C and also features Mr. Salinger himself as a character. The anonymous author uses the pseudonym John David California.

The 90-year-old Salinger lives in Cornish, New Hampshire and continues to be both vigilant and litigious when it comes to his most famous work. According to the U.K.'s Guardian, he sued a man in 1982 for marketing a phony interview with him to national magazines.

Then in 1987, Salinger ended up in the Supreme Court, seeking to try to block publication of an unauthorized biography by well-known writer Ian Hamilton. To prevent Hamilton from quoting from his unpublished letters, Salinger copyrighted the letters. A legal defeat forced Hamilton to rewrite the biography without the letters.

Six years ago, Salinger blocked the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from producing a TV version of The Catcher in the Rye.

When Salinger filed his latest lawsuit, Courthouse News quoted Salinger's attorney, Marcia Paul:
"(T)he sequel begins, as does 'Catcher,' with Holden Caulfield('s) departure from an institution (prep school in 'Catcher;' a nursing home in the sequel) and ends with Holden and his sister Phoebe at the carousel in Central Park. In between, Holden hangs out aimlessly in New York for a few days, encountering many of the same people, visiting many of the same settings . . ."
Two weeks later, on June 17, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts temporarily blocked publication of the book, which was billed on its cover as a "sequel to one of our most beloved classics."

Judge Batts, who is expected to rule very shortly, made it clear that she was leaning toward Salinger's position. Publishers Lunch quoted her: "It would seem that Holden Caulfield is copyrighted."

1 comment:

Stephen Parrish said...

When he goes to Heaven the floodgates will open anyway. You can't slander a dead man.