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The history of literature is covered in famous lawsuits involving writers and books. A book lawsuit more often than not involves someone claiming someone else has stolen their idea for a published work. You will frequently see this occur with books that are massively successful. You can also see disputes between agents and writers, publishing...
The history of literature is covered in famous lawsuits involving writers and books. A book lawsuit more often than not involves someone claiming someone else has stolen their idea for a published work. You will frequently see this occur with books that are massively successful. You can also see disputes between agents and writers, publishing houses and writers, and much more. You can also see cases that played a vital role in determining whether or not a work of literature was fair game for parody, and to what extent you could reasonably tell the difference between parody and copyright infringement.
Gone With The Wind
There are tons of famous book lawsuits to research in greater detail. These lawsuits all seem to share the intriguing quality of introducing the law into the world of art, an unfortunate combination. Regardless of how the particulars of the case unfold, it is more often than not fascinating to watch how these entities exist within the same arena.
One recent case proved to be particularly fascinating, in terms of perhaps better understanding the point in which parody becomes infringement. A recent book entitled The Wind Done Gone aspired to be a cutting commentary, as well as a no-holds-barred parody of the iconic Margaret Mitchell book Gone with the Wind. However, the parody defense is more often than not applied to shorter works, such as short stories, TV sketch comedy, or a reference in a film. It is rare that a parody seeks to be so ambitious as to completely cover an epic from top to bottom. A similar example might be the works of Shakespeare, which are frequently parodied from beginning to end. Nonetheless, this is an interesting example of the arguments for and against parody, and at what point the parody infringes on the rights of the work that is being satirized.
In the end, the book was allowed to exist under the notions of free speech and parody.
Other Examples of Book Lawsuits
Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a towering masterpiece of both storytelling and commentary. It offers a perspective, beloved characters like Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, and Scout Finch, and a plot that takes us into the heart of racism in Depression-era Deep South of America. It is a story as vital today as it was back then. Harper Lee would not publish another novel for decades, releasing a deeply controversial sequel (many believe it was never meant to be published) before her death.
While still alive, the author and long-time friend of Truman Capote found herself embroiled in at least two significant legal battles. In Harper Lee v. Samuel Pinkus, Lee claimed that Pinkus used Lee’s 2007 stroke to compel her towards inadvertently signing over the copyright to Mockingbird. She would eventually regain the rights, going on to sue Pinkus further for the fact that Pinkus continued to collect royalties on the book. Lee also brought another, although less-publicized lawsuit against a Monroeville Alabama museum for exploiting her fame for their sole profit.
The list of examples can go on for quite some time. J.D. Salinger was another reclusive author with few publishing credits. Although his publishing output ceased in 1965, it was widely understood that he was still writing. Those books are likely to begin coming out in the wake of his passing, but it is difficult to imagine anything ever being more popular than Catcher in the Rye.
Catcher In The Rye Lawsuit
Salinger sought to protect what he apparently saw as an attack on his most famous creation with his famous 2009 lawsuit against Swedish author Fredrik Colting. Writing under the name of John David California, Colting published a book that was essentially designed to both parody and sequelize Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye. The lawsuit eventually settled with the decision that Colting would not be allowed to publish his book in Canada or the United States, until such time as Catcher in the Rye went into the public domain.
There are several other book lawsuits worth researching. Check out Darla Yoos/Edwin McCall/Kerry Levine v PublishAmerica. You should also check out Faulkner Literary Rights LLC v Sony, in addition to Charles Harris v Oprah. People can be enormously protective of creative properties, particularly the lucrative ones. But the real power is still in the underlying greatness of the art.
How does one define a classic book? There are several different theories that can be put forth on the matter. For some people, a book that remains in the public consciousness after a lengthy period of time would have to be a classic. Books with enduring, influential characters may qualify as well. Books whose themes...
How does one define a classic book? There are several different theories that can be put forth on the matter. For some people, a book that remains in the public consciousness after a lengthy period of time would have to be a classic. Books with enduring, influential characters may qualify as well. Books whose themes and values continue to find an audience after several generations might be good examples of classics.
How Does One Define a Classic?
At the end of the day, there is no singular criteria. It is also important to remember that since we are talking about art, we are talking about a subjective concept. One person’s art can be absolute garbage to someone else. Who is right?
To that end, if you want to really dig into some classics, you have to look for a consensus. Your list will need to consist of books that are regarded highly by significant figures, by a large portion of the population, or by a collective that combines both of those groups.
What Are Some of the Best Books Of All Time?
If you want to delve into some books that are roundly regarded as classics, then consider the following:
1. Lord of the Flies: This chilling 1954 novel from William Golding continues to offer a grim commentary on mob rule, the aftermath of a civilization that has crumbled, and much more.
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Many would argue that Mark Twain wrote this iconic 1884 novel as an attack on slavery. Regardless, critics continue to argue that the book reads as fresh now as it did a century and change ago.
3. The Color Purple: This 1982 Pulitzer Prize winner from Alice Walker paints a powerful image of a young black woman’s struggles to remove herself permanently from the abusive men in her life.
4. Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury set his 1953 science fiction classic in a bleak, hopeless dystopian future. Censorship is the norm, and some would argue that the society depicted by Bradbury has come to life in a number of forms in our world.
5. Anna Karenina: Originally published in installments from 1875 to 1877, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina tells one of the most devastating, powerful epics in the history of literature.
6. The Brothers Karamazov: The final novel from Fyodor Dostoyevsky is an extraordinary epic. This masterpiece tells the story of four brothers to a level of detail that is quite simply stunning. At the same time, the book has been celebrated for being intensely compulsory.
7. Oliver Twist: For many people, Dickens’ 1838 novel about a grim childhood in Victorian England is one of the finest books ever written. To be certain, many people consider this to be the definitive masterpiece of Dickens’ prolific career.
8. To Kill a Mocking Bird: As race continues to be a profound issue in America and elsewhere, Harper Lee’s career-defining 1960 novel about a white lawyer defending an innocent black man in Depression-era south continues to be relevant. Simultaneously, the characters continue to be vibrant favorites.
9. To the Lighthouse: This 1927 novel from the great Virginia Woolf depicts a family coming to the crossroads of their very existence. For many people, it is the definitive work of a feminist icon.
10. On the Road: American road culture had come into vogue in the early post-War years. Jack Kerouac writes one of the definitive works on that subject. At the same time, he speaks to the terminal restlessness that would give way to the chaos of the 60s and beyond.
The Greatest Novel Ever Written
What would you consider to be the greatest novel ever written? The above list can really just give you a rough idea of how many possibilities are truly out there. You could make up a list with room enough for one hundred picks. You still wouldn’t have enough room. You could focus on great 20th century novels, still give yourself 100 picks, and still find yourself making sacrifices.
Keep in mind that all of the above are works of fiction. What about poetry like Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, or Shakespeare? What about non-fiction like In Cold Blood or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? The list goes on, but keep the above in mind.
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