PUBLISHER SUING THE ESTATE OF J D SALINGER
Memphis-based independent publisher The Devault-Graves Agency filed a lawsuit against the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust in a Tennessee court in March, claiming the estate has, without legal basis, thwarted the press’s attempts to publish and distribute international editions of its collection of early Salinger short stories, Three Early Stories.
Devault-Graves released the U.S. edition of the title, which includes three stories from early in Salinger’s literary career which had fallen into the public domain, in July 2014. A culmination of what the publisher’s Tom Graves described to PW in July as an “exhaustive” and expensive process that involved a team of copyright lawyers, the book is, he said, the first legitimate Salinger book to be published in more than 50 years. Upon its release, the Salinger estate, after a brief investigation, confirmed it would not halt Devault-Graves’s publication in the U.S. But now, as the publisher attempts to sell the work abroad, Devault-Graves asserts the estate is ” interfering with [its] contractual agreements with foreign publishers,” including those in the U.K. and Japan.
For its part, the Salinger estate contends that Devault-Graves is of the “erroneous view” that because the stories were in the public domain in the U.S., they would also exist in the public domain in countries where they were not previously published. The stories, published in the 1940s by Story magazine and the University of Kansas City Review, were in the public domain in the U.S. by 1972. According to Graves, it is “ridiculous” that the trust would claim rights globally.
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