Professor Suit Against Joyce Estate Settled

The highly publicized suit by Stanford Professor Carol Loeb Schloss against the estate of James Joyce has been settled. The Yahoo!/Reuters story suggests that the settlement was reached on terms reasonably favorable to Schloss. However, although I congratulate her and those who helped her bring the suit, I’m a little disappointed that law wasn’t made. Professors need concrete guidance about the extent to which scholarly quotation constitutes infringement, and the lack of final judgment preserves the ambiguity that copyright holders sometimes exploit to stifle criticism they don’t like.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s not clear to me that law would have been made. From what I saw, the positions taken by the estate were so absurd that any “standard” fair use analysis would have gone Professor Schloss’s way.

    To me, the prime benefit of the fair use project is that even enforcing such settled rights is otherwise too expensive for most. If they make some new law in the process, then so much the better, but in the meantime they have clients to serve.