Re: [rumori] Re: pho: Judge Rules Against "Wind"


From: Bruce Tennant (btennantATcharm.net)
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 13:36:07 PDT


Don Joyce wrote:

> The law, the judge, and the Mitchell heirs are completely idiotic with
> absolute, dictatorial control over modern creativity and there's not a damn
> thing we can EVER do about this persistant, self-destructing cultural
> perversity. THANK YOU COPYRIGHT, we just LOVE what you're doing for us!

> >ATLANTA (AP) -- A federal judge on Friday blocked the
> >publication of a novel he said borrows too liberally from
> >''Gone With the Wind'' and infringes on the copyright of
> >Margaret Mitchell's classic novel.
> >
> >U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell ruled that Alice
> >Randall's novel ''The Wind Done Gone'' is essentially a
> >retelling of ''Gone With the Wind'' from a different point
> >of view using the same fictional characters and places.
> >
> >Randall's story, Pannell wrote, ''constitutes unabated
> >piracy of 'Gone With the Wind.'''

I almost posted this story but I figured Don's got first dibs on this
kind of stuff ;)

The Washington Post had a wonderful editorial about this decision:

'Frankly, My Dear . . .'

Saturday, April 21, 2001; Page A18

A WOMAN NAMED Alice Randall has written what she and her publisher call
a parody of "Gone With the Wind," the eternally popular Civil War-era
novel by the late Margaret Mitchell. Lawyers for Mrs. Mitchell's estate
have another word for the new work; they call it a "taking" of
intellectual property. The Mitchell estate sued on grounds of copyright
infringement to halt publication of Ms. Randall's novel, "The Wind Done
Gone," which is meant to retell the tale from the point of view of slaves
on an estate known as "Tata." Yesterday a federal judge in Atlanta did
block publication of the novel, upholding the argument of lawyers for
the estate that the Randall work is a "sequel," which the estate, and the
estate alone, has the right to control. The last authorized sequel to
"Gone With the Wind" was written more than 10 years ago under two ground
rules set by the estate: no explicit sex and no miscegenation. The
Randall work strays quite a bit from both these guidelines: The Post's
Ann Gerhart has summarized it as "full of blunt eroticism and ruminations
on freedom and love, loyalty and color."

Copyrights are allowed under the constitutional grant of power to Congress
to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for
limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their
respective Writings and Discoveries." Congress has over time been persuaded
to adopt quite a liberal view of "limited time": The Mitchell copyright
extends until 2036, although the author died more than 50 years ago.
Whatever artistic energy this lengthy term of protection may foster, it
is probably not coming from estate lawyers.

More than 400 years ago a writer named Raphael Holinshed published a
historical work of sorts that created some vivid characters, among them
a king of greatly exaggerated wickedness named Richard III and another
unfortunate ruler known as Macbeth. Not long afterward, William Shakespeare
was busily mining Holinshed and other sources for material to create
certain of his history plays. If only copyright law of the time had been
more advanced, Holinshed, or his publisher or estate, might have been able
to head off this infringement by choosing their own authors for the
authorized sequels (perhaps out-of-work editorial writers) and getting a
judge to block publication of the unauthorized works. Then schoolchildren
of today would not have to memorize passages from "Macbeth," "Richard III,"
"King Lear" or "Henry VI," which, as you recall, has that line about
killing all the lawyers.
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