Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fair use for Joyce scholars

Fair use has prevailed in James Joyce scholarship.  From the Stanford Law School press release:

Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project announced today that Stanford University Acting Professor of English Carol Shloss won the right to publish her scholarship on the literary work of James Joyce online and in print....

Relying on many primary sources, Shloss’s work focuses on the life of Lucia Joyce: her unacknowledged artistic talent, her tragic life spent mostly in mental institutions, and the unrecognized influence she exerted over her father’s work. Upon learning of Shloss’s scholarship, the Joyce Estate —controlled by Joyce’s grandson Stephen James Joyce— denied her permission to quote from any of the materials the Joyce Estate controlled and repeatedly threatened Shloss with a copyright infringement suit.

The Fair Use Project and Cyberlaw Clinic filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shloss in June 2006, asking a federal court to find that she has the right to use quotations from published and unpublished material relating to James and Lucia Joyce on a scholarly website....

“The Joyce Estate has been extremely aggressive in enforcing copyrights and has threatened scholars with lawsuits even though their work qualifies under the ‘fair use’ doctrine of copyright law,” explained Anthony Falzone, who is the executive director of the Fair Use Project....“Our client got exactly what she asked for in her complaint, and more.”

“I am extraordinarily happy that Stanford's Fair Use Project has enabled an academic to do her work," said Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law professor and director of the Stanford Center for Information and Society (CIS). "But this is just the first of a series of cases that will be necessary to establish the reality of creative freedom that the ‘fair use’ doctrine is intended to protect in theory. We will continue to defend academics threatened by overly aggressive copyright holders, as well as other creators for whom the intended protections of ‘fair use’ do not work in practice...."

Carol Shloss is expected to make her website live in the coming days [here].