J.D. Salinger Fighting Publication of New Book

Well this case has nothing to do with the law of our fine state but I thought that I would write about J.D. Salinger’s lawsuit for a couple of reasons.  First, I remember reading the Catcher in the Rye with great fondness.  Second, because J.D. Salinger has been such a reclusive figure throughout his life.  And finally, because it raises a fascinating legal question – and here we get to the point of my post.  For those of you unfamiliar with the lawsuit, J.D. Salinger is trying to prevent the publication of a novel depicting Holden Caufield as an old man, some sixty years after the events in Catcher of the Rye.

The fascinating legal question is whether Holden Caufield, a young man who appeared in only one novel many years ago and never had a physical or illustrative depiction, is copyrightable.  The Wall Street Journal Blog has an interview with copyright lawyer, Marc Reiner, in which they discuss this issue among others.