Thursday, July 02, 2009

Who Owns Holden Caulfield? (Redux)

Last month I blogged about the legal battle between JD Salinger and the publisher of a book called 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, by Fredrik Colting. Salinger claims that the book is an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, while Colting calls it a literary critique or "metafiction" dressed up like fiction. A federal judge had issued a temporary order prohibiting the book from being published in the United States (it's already out in the UK).

This week, the judge made the order permanent, rejecting Colting's claims:

To the extent Defendants contend that 60 Years and the character of Mr. C direct parodic comment or criticism at Catcher or Holden Caulfield, as opposed to Salinger himself, the Court finds such contentions to be post-hoc rationalizations employed through vague generalizations about the alleged naivety of the original, rather than reasonably perceivable parody.
So, contrary to popular belief, you can ban a book in this country. You just need good IP lawyers.

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