J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, is once more battling to protect his work. This time his lawyers are trying to block U.S. publication of a novel that has already been touted as "the sequel" to his very famous book. Salinger's literary agent believes a sequel to her client's novel would be worth a $5 million advance. The defendent is claiming the work is effective criticism of Salinger and thus protected by the First Ammendment (although the judge seems to be having trouble finding the critical parts.) The original Catcher has sold over 35 million copies since its publication in 1951.
The reclusive Salinger, who according to the article is now 90 years old, completely deaf, and currently undergoing treatment for a broken hip, has not published any new works since the early sixties. Catcher is his only published novel.
In a similar case concerning copyright law, Alice Randall wrote The Wind Done Gone, a version of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind told from a slave's point of view. The book was published and was on the bestseller lists for weeks, but Houghton Mifflin, Randall's publisher, was obliged to make an undisclosed financial settlement agreement with lawyers for Mitchell's estate. I liked how Morehouse College ended up benefitting from that one.
It's interested to see how these cases play out. I kinda doubt Mr. Salinger is going to win, but you never know. Btw, I would have quoted from the original AP release, but then I'd have to pay them $25.00. Which I find beautifully ironic.
I think instead I'll take my money to the book store and buy a new copy of Catcher in the Rye -- the original.