Yesterday reclusive author J.D. Salinger sued John David California in federal court to stop the publication of his unauthorized sequel to Salinger’s classic novel, “The Catcher in the Rye.” According to the AP, the suit includes unspecified damages.
“60 Years Later Coming Through the Rye” was publicized as a sequel to the novel, generating hundreds of Twitter posts. As GalleyCat reported, Amazon lists a few titles co-written by the book’s publisher, including “The Macho Man’s (Bad) Joke Book.” Possibly, the company could mount a parody defense for the distinctively odd book.
As the Publishing Law Center explains, parody has been one defense against copyright infringement ever since an infamous hip-hop group went to the country’s highest court for sampling a Roy Orbison song in 1993: “The Supreme Court accepted 2 Live Crew‘s song as a parody because the rap song mimicked the original to achieve its message and because it ‘reasonably could be perceived as commenting on the original [Oh, Pretty Woman] or criticizing it, to some degree.’”