Monday, June 12, 2006

Stanford prof sues Joyce estate over failure to give permission to use copyrighted material

In an odd variant in copyright, Carol Shloss, an acting English professor and Joycean scholar at Stanford, sued James Joyce's estate for refusing to give her permission to use copyrighted material about the "Ulysses" author.

Shloss wants the federal district court (ND Ca) to declare she's entitled to use information the estate controls under laws that allow authors to quote copyrighted works if they do it in "a scholarly transformative manner." [this is a declaratory judgment action]

"We think the estate of James Joyce has been particularly egregious in misusing its copyright," Olson said. "You shouldn't try to use copyright to try to take editorial control of someone's work." [IPBiz: recall the copyright cases involving L. Ron Hubbard.]

At stake is Schloss' right to post certain information on a website. Before her book ["Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake"] was published, publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux removed several supporting citations from Shloss' manuscript to avoid a lawsuit, according to lawyer David Olson. Shloss wants to post that information as an electronic appendix to answer several critics who charged that "To Dance in the Wake" was interesting, but thin on documentary evidence, Olson said.

"It's painful once you've written something ... that you think is complete and good, to have it hacked up," Olson said. "There is a desire to bring it forth in the way she originally intended."


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