Sonia Sotomayor, J.D. Salinger and Jerry Seinfeld walk into

by Vault Law Editors | June 05, 2009

  • My Vault

Excellent post by Professor (and prominent First Amendment litigator and prolific blogger) Marc Randazza  on the copyright infringement lawsuit that J.D. Salinger (or, as he is invariably called, “the reclusive J.D. Salinger”) has filed against one “J.D. California.”  Mr. California is the author of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, which depicts Holden Caulfield as an old man in a nursing home.   Randazza analyzes the case by channeling the voice of Holden himself:

“If you really want to hear about the suit, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is what ‘fair use’ is, and what Section 107 of the Copyright Act says and all that Mel Nimmerkind of crap but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. I don’t really write this blog for people who don’t know that kind of stuff already.”

A spot-on impersonation as well as substantively interesting: according to Randazza, Salinger’s Davis Wright Tremaine lawyers chose to file in the Southern District of New York in the hope of taking advantage of a favorable 1997 precedentCastle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishingauthored by the now non-obscure Sonia Sotomayor, then a SDNY district judge.  The defendant in that case had written ‘The Seinfeld Aptitude Test,’ a trivia quiz based on the TV show. In her decision in favor of Castle Rock (the production company for Seinfeld), Sotomayor applied what Randazza terms a “quasi-trademark law view mixed with a bizarre and narrow view of the fair use doctrine” and concluded that, since Castle Rock might have one day expanded their works into the trivia book realm, the defendant was infringing on Castle Rock’s derivative use rights. (The Second Circuit upheld her opinion.)

                                                            -posted by brian

See also: The differencesbetween literary hermits Salinger and Thomas Pynchon.

Also see also: this blog’s previous encounter  with the Professor Randazza  here

Filed Under: Law

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