Many people in California and across the world believe that providing books to young children can have positive benefits. With that thought in mind, a company called KinderGuides created adaptations of several books deemed classics; their goal is to help children appreciate classic literature while still young. While some people question whether young children can fully appreciate the works of Ernest Hemingway, for example, others — including the estates and publishers of many of the authors — have pursued litigation against the company.
The lawsuit included the estates of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Arthur C. Clarke and Jack Kerouac in addition to publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Their lawsuits described the works as derivatives that were not authorized. The KinderGuides, the lawsuit claimed, used many elements of copyrighted books. They further argue that the defendants in the case could simply use books that are not copyrighted in their endeavors.
The creators of the books argue that they are allowed, as they are educational and fall under fair use. The judge in the case rejected that argument and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Although he has not issued a decision regarding damages, the defendants have already announced their intention to appeal the verdict, claiming that the case is an example of big businesses attempting to bully a smaller one; KinderGuides plans to publish 50 more adaptations of classic novels.
Unfortunately, authorities in California are often forced to protect their works either from other artists infringing their copyright or from accusations that they have infringed a copyright. Often, these allegations lead to litigation in order to resolve them. An attorney with experience in business law can help respond to instances or accusations of copyright infringement.
Source: The New York Times, “Picture Books Based on Famous Novels Violate Copyright, a Judge Rules,” Alexandra Alter, Aug. 1, 2017