/ June 19, 2009

Salinger Lawsuit Gets Underway

Infamous author and recluse, JD Salinger has received encouraging news regarding his lawsuit against fellow author, Fredrik Colting, for plagiarism. Colting, under the pen name John David (JD) California, wrote “Sixty Years Later”, a work that follows Holden Caulfield, the legendary character from Salinger’s most popular work “The Catcher in the Rye”, in his old age. While Colting initially claimed that the work was a simple piece of fiction that places Caulfield in an entirely different setting, Salinger has refused to consider it as anything more than a rip-off of his original masterpiece. Following the filing in early June, a Manhattan district court judge has granted Salinger’s request that publication of the new book be halted until a final decision is made. Judge Batt has also made it known that she believes the Caufield character is an inherent part of the copyright that Salinger holds on the novel.

Though Colting has recently changed his explanation of the book, declaring it a commentary on and examination of the relationship between the character and the author, Judge Batt will be faced with a decision as to whether it is exempt from standard copyright laws through the Fair Use Doctrine. Considering the purpose and nature of the work along with its purported effects on the original piece and amount taken from it, will be among the various areas she will need to consider. The intense popularity of “Catcher” for the past several decades, Salinger’s fierce determination to keep it from outside interpretation and infrequent appearances has made this a popular case to watch unfold. Despite these factors and the complicated nature of the questions before Judge Batt she has promised a timely decision for both authors.

Source: New York Times, CNN

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