Friday, November 6, 2009

James Joyce Estate Agrees to Pay Plaintiff's Fees in Fair Use Dispute; National Law Journal, via, 9/30/09

Karen Sloan, National Law Journal, via; James Joyce Estate Agrees to Pay Plaintiff's Fees in Fair Use Dispute:

"The estate of author James Joyce has agreed to pay $240,000 in legal costs incurred by a Stanford University scholar following a fair use legal battle over a book about Joyce's daughter.

The settlement ends more than a decade of wrangling over Carol Shloss' book "Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake," which was to include copyrighted material from the celebrated author. Shloss was represented by attorneys from Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project; Keker & Van Nest; and Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin.

Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project, said the latest settlement brings to a close one of the more prominent academic fair use cases in recent years, which garnered interest in part because of the Joyce estate's aggressive approach to protecting copyrighted material. Other Joyce scholars for years have clashed with the estate -- controlled by the author's grandson Stephen James Joyce and trustee Sean Sweeney -- while attempting to excerpt his writing. Falzone said Shloss' legal success should give others the confidence to pursue their fair use rights.

"It really sends a message to people in Carol's position," Falzone said of the settlement. "Often what happens is that the mere threat of legal action is enough to scare [academics] off, and it leads to self-sensorship."

In a written statement, Shloss said that literary estates need to be cautious. "If they don't pay attention to the rights of scholars, authors and researchers, they may end up paying just as the Joyce estate did," she said.

Shloss' success won't create a legal precedent, however, since her ability to publish excepts of Joyce's letters and published works and her collection of legal fees from the Joyce estate were reached through settlements. "

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