“Life being a game and all. And how you should play it according to the rules.” (- J.D. Salinger) However, Swedish writer Frederik Colting didn’t play by the rules when he wrote a sequel to the J.D. Salinger classic, “Catcher in the Rye.” about Holden Caulfield’s teenaged angst. This week a federal judge in Manhattan put an indefinite ban on the release of Colting’s book, “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” which narrates the story of a 76-year-old character only identified as “Mr. C.” in the book but which the court held was substantially similar to Caulfield. See: Salinger v. Colting, 09-cv-5095 (S.D.N.Y.)
Judge Deborah Batts, of the Southern District of New York, in a 37-page decision, issued a preliminary injunction against U.S. publication of the novel, which has already been released in Great Britain. She said the Colting novel reanimates Salinger’s Caulfield character and that the new 76-year-old Mr. C. displays “similar or identical thoughts, memories, and personality traits to Caulfield, often using precisely the same or only slightly modified language from that used by Caulfield in ‘Catcher, and has the same friends and family.”
The Copyright Act in this country reserves a so-called bundle of rights for the creator of any artistic work from the moment that work is expressed/published in a tangible form. Those rights include: the right to control reproduction of the work; preparation of derivative works; distribution of copies of the work; public performances of the work; and public display of the work.
Colting and his lawyer said he plans to appeal. The Swedish author, by email, said “the last thing I thought possible in the U.S. was that you banned books.” Well, maybe he forgot to read the rules. “All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” (- J.D. Salinger)