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Professor Wins $240K In Fair Use Dispute 150 150

pickens writes "In a victory for Fair Use, Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project has announced that the estate of 20th century literary giant James Joyce, author of the landmark novel Ulysses, has agreed to pay $240,000 in attorneys' fees to Stanford University Consulting Professor Carol Shloss and her counsel in connection with Shloss's lawsuit to establish her right to use copyrighted material in her scholarship on the literary work of James Joyce. When Shloss used copyrighted materials in her biography of Joyce's daughter Lucia, titled Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake, she had to excise a substantial amount of source material from the book in response to threats from the Joyce Estate. However following publication of the book, Shloss sued the Estate to establish her right to publish the excised material. The parties reached a settlement regarding the issue in 2007, permitting the publication of the copyrighted material in the US. Following the settlement, Shloss asked the Court to order the Estate to pay attorneys' fees of more than $400,000. She has now agreed to accept an immediate payment of $240,000 in return for the dismissal of the Estate's appeal. 'This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team."
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Professor Wins $240K In Fair Use Dispute

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  • Proves my point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @03:47PM (#29584611)
    I've always insisted that copyright should end with the death of the original author. This pretty much proves my point. He's DEAD... at this point, no amount of protection of his work is going to encourage him to produce more! His heirs should go out and get a real job instead of trying to live off his reputation.
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @03:50PM (#29584659)
    As noted in a post below, the estate is really Joyce's grandson. Guessing, he may have used the copyright law to try to keep some embarrassing family "issues" out of the spot light.

    I don't know about you guys, but I'd be a bit hesitant to have my family's issues put in the spot light - even if the perpetrators are long dead: J. Joyce died 68 years ago. Yeah, Joyce is dead, but his grandson has got to live with these things now.

    Just a guess as to his motives.

  • Hang on a second... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by popo (107611) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @03:55PM (#29584719) Homepage

    The author spent $400k in attorney's fees defending her right to quote Joyce in a book about Joyce's daughter?

    Is there a bigger market than I'm aware of in scholarly (slash: arcane?) books about Lucia Joyce??

    Who the hell would spend this much on this issue??

  • Re:Proves my point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agrippa_cash (590103) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:03PM (#29584809) Homepage
    This case illustrates the value of having copyright extend beyond the life of the author, since it was his daughter who seemed to suffer for Joyce's art. A better example is US Grant, who was near penniless and diagnosed with cancer and wrote his well regarded memoir hoping to providing for his wife and daughter.
  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:03PM (#29584811)

    At the bottom of wikipedia's Portrait page is this link []...

    The reader's list makes me want to bash my skull against a wall.

  • Re:Proves my point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coldmist (154493) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:09PM (#29584867) Homepage

    And, what about murder? Oh, Tom Clancy wrote a great book, that I want to publish? Pay the mob to knock him off, and it's free game.

    14 years + a single 14 year renewal (if the original author is still alive and interested in it) is just fine, thank you.

    Imagine, the original Star Wars would be in the Public Domain. The early Star Trek. Battlestar Galactica. How much fun would that be to have the freedom to pit a cylon army against storm troopers in a full movie?

  • Re:Proves my point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meerling (1487879) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:22PM (#29585029)
    Copyright was originally for 14 years. That way the authors had plenty of time to make money on their creations, but not so much that they could sit on their laurels.
    The current length of copyright is utterly insane! How does 90 years in any way encourage someone to write more? Especially after death!

    Stupid Mickey Mouse laws... (Or should that be Disney lobbied laws...)
  • Re:Proves my point (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:29PM (#29585131)

    easy response there. Let Grant list his daughter and wife as authors...

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:47PM (#29585323)
    I'm amazed at the people who will read about fantasy or imaginary worlds and yet balk at Ulysses.
    For the ignorant, Ulysses is about a day in the life of Dublin as seen through the eyes of a Jewish advertising salesman (Leopold Bloom) and the young James Joyce (Stephen Dedalus). It covers everything from the red light area through to the literary and medical world around Trinity College. You have to learn a bit about Ireland in the early 20th Century to understand it. It helps to have a copy of Harry Blamires' Bloomsday Book if you aren't up on Irish history and the geography of Dublin. Ulysses is written in perfectly good English without made up words, in different literary styles (part of it is a play) loosely organised on the return of Ulysses from the Trojan War. Bloom is Ulysses, Dedalus is Telemachus, Molly Bloom is Penelope and the IRA doesn't get a very good Press. Real people walk in and out of the plot. And that's as much of a spoiler as I'm prepared to divulge.

    As I say, people will read Tolkien or fiction set in Ancient Rome and yet can't be bothered to spend the time - in bits, if necessary - to get to know Ulysses. But it's one of the greatest works in English of the 20th century, and if you don't try, it's your loss. Finnegans Wake (note no apostrophe) is another matter. Personally I believe the syphilis story, but also I suspect that Joyce was schizophrenic and as he got older it got more out of control. I think it's a failed experiment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:50PM (#29585363)

    Someone with the right to fair use--something you clearly don't have if you're willing to give it up because someone challenges you. The difference between her and you is she's established she has the right. You think you have it, but have demonstrated you will relinquish it in the face of a challenge.

    Good choice, bad choice--she did the right thing and should be celebrated for it.

    Sometimes you've got to take on the little fights with a big sword--just so people understand what it means to have a right.

  • Re:Proves my point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:57PM (#29585435)

    Better solution: Copyright shouldn't run the life of the author. They shouldn't last more than 10yrs and are NOT RENEWABLE.

    Yes, I'm a bit bitter over all the bullshit coming out of the MAFIAA's corner, however... Fuck that shit. I have to have a job and can't ride on one accomplishment forever. Get over yourselves you lazy, greedy dicks.

  • by gnupun (752725) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:49PM (#29585909)

    Copyright is the government-backed enforcement of "you're not allowed to say that, because I said it first."

    How does such retarded tripe get modded up? Did you RTFS? She copy/pasted a large portion of the book, and copycatting is very different from "saying it first/second".

    By definition, copyright is the antithesis of free speech. There is no either/or here - copyright *is* censorship.

    More blatantly false rubbish. Free speech does not give one a blanket right to abuse/use other people's property for personal benefit without permission or payment. These authors spend several years of their lives creating these novels and many decades mastering the art and craft of writing. And just like doctors or lawyers, they want a fair return on that investment. Copyright ensures that people who can write good books get paid so they don't have to find a real job working in a supermarket or other manual labor.

  • Re:Proves my point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:13PM (#29586115) Journal

    Replace "provide copyright protection" with "provide" as in some sort of stipend, and I could perhaps support that. I can't see any reason to lock up an author's works in any way whatever, for any reason, certainly not the thinking that copyright must be the only way to earn a living from writing.

    The US demonstrates why doctors shouldn't earn their living under a fee for services system. We have such outrageous medical bills, and much waste with unnecessary or even harmful tests and procedures. Move them to salary. It could be similar for authors. Relieve them of the burden of constantly trying to protect their copyrights. Very sad to see authors and musicians trotted out by the publishing industry to be the poor starving poster children for stronger copyright law that will help the publishers and not help them. Even sadder when the artists (Metallica for instance) have been brainwashed into believing the industry line. This particular insanity of an author's descendants exerting any control whatever, let alone the unreasonable control we see here, should be a bad memory from the past. If an author's descendants have an issue with libel, slander or privacy, then they should take it up under those laws, and not abuse copyright or have copyright available to abuse for such ends.

  • by Mathinker (909784) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:14PM (#29586131) Journal

    > How does such retarded tripe get modded up?

    Well, at least yours hasn't been, yet.

    > ... other people's property ...

    And since when does does other people's "property" rights expire after a certain time after they die? You play the "property" card badly. There is property, and then there is property [].

    You should read the entirety of that blog. Not just the post I linked to.

    > Copyright ensures that people who can write good books get paid so
    > they don't have to find a real job working in a supermarket or other
    > manual labor.

    In theory. But that doesn't mean that their work cannot be used within the boundaries of law; the case in question being one of them, it seems.

    And your use of the word "ensures" makes me think of another point made in that blog: just because something is under copyright doesn't magically imbue it with commercial value. The converse of that is true, also.

  • by FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @08:39PM (#29587527)
    Why should there be an Estate? James Joyce is dead, he's had his incentive to create literary works. His son doesn't need his father's incentive, the ability for him to create his own, copyrighted work is his incentive. Time to give James' works to the public, where they belong.
  • by Meski (774546) <> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:29AM (#29589599)

    Tis hard to understand how someone who wrote Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit also wrote The Silmarillion

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.