Holden the phone: 'Catcher in the Rye' sequel lawsuit heats up

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Holden the phone: 'Catcher in the Rye' sequel lawsuit heats up

Thu Jun 11, 2009 @ 01:22PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

60yearslater When reclusive author J.D. Salinger filed a lawsuit last week against the people behind a planned sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye," we weren't sure how far this dispute would actually go.

But now the author of "60 Years Later — Coming Through the Rye" has hired a respectable law firm to mount a defense, and the U.S. distributor of the book is using the case as a marketing opportunity to tell us why we should care about "60 Years Later."

First things first. Author "J.D. California" is actually Swedish. In an interview with a newspaper in Sweden, Fredrik Cotling says the lawsuit wrecked his plans to keep his identity secret.

Meanwhile, the defendants in the case have hired Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz to represent them, and in a press release, they say they will appear on Monday in a New York federal court and oppose the requested injunction against the book's release. 

“Salinger’s copyright simply does not extend this far,” says Edward H. Rosenthal, a copyright and publishing lawyer. “A prior restraint on publication in this case would dramatically extend the reach of copyright protection and threaten an entire genre of protectable literary work."

The defense will try to show why "60 Years Later" deserves First Amendment protection as fair use. Fortunately for the publisher and distributor, the lawsuit has also raised awareness of the book and gives them room to puff it up as informative literature. 

“J.D. Salinger’s ham-fisted attempt to squash this thoughtful book must fail,” says Aaron Silverman of publisher SCB Distributors. "Readers will find 60 Years Later to be an imaginative commentary not only on Salinger and his relationship to the character that defined him – but also on their joint status as cultural icons."

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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