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I think this is stupid on so many different levels. First, the whole idea of choosing someone to write an official sequel to Peter Pan is patently absurd. Let whoever wants to write write, and readers will decide if any of them are worth reading. Barrie's story may be copyrighted, but that can't apply to other works inspired by Peter Pan. Hell, just about every work of art is inspired by or is derivative of something else. You don't see the Baum estate suing Gregory Maguire for writing an Oz prequel, for instance. Should Gardner have been prevented from writing Grendel? (Okay, I know this is an absurd question, since Beowulf isn't copyrighted.)

Of course, I always found the entire idea of copyrights in arts and letters detrimental. Rather then allowing ideas to germinate, it stifles them. Artists should be encouraged to share ideas and borrow liberally from each other. They shouldn't have to worry about pecuniary repercussions from doing so.

And, an official sequel? Hell, just the mere idea of a sequel seems ridiculous, official or not. It seems like a transparent ploy to make money, to capitalize on Barrie's legacy. The chances that McCaughrean will capture the same magic or the original Peter Pan seems unlikely. <sigh>


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
The Peter Pan owners are incredibly possesive. I remember years ago a friend of mine who ran Boston Youth Theater which used high school kids as actors wanted to do a Peter Pan like original and she had to change the characters names and other stuff since they wouldn't let her potentially interfere with a Peter Pan production coming to Boston 1 year later.

BTW, it wouldn't be patently absurd since with patents if you inovate and add elements that are not in something that has been patented you can just cite it as prior art and claim your new invention that incorporates all the patented elements. Copyright law is much more restrictive.
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think copyright laws need to be changed and be made less restrictive. I understand the need to protect intellectual property, but we seem to have gone past reasonable extremes.
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC)
Patently Absurd
The whole reason for having an official version is that it allows the Peter Pan owners to extend the copyright on everything associated with the book. The original patent is due to expire and a new authorized sequel will allow them to keep milking the cow for decades or centuries to come. It won't matter how crappy the sequel is if it protects the original.

A couple of days ago I came across a quote from Mark Twain to the effect that the only thing it is impossible for God to do is to understand our patent / copyright laws.
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Patently Absurd
By "ours" do you mean the United States' or the United Kingdom's. J.M. Barrie was a Brit, and he gave the copyright to a children's hospital in England. The laws may be equally complicated and restrictive, but are they the same?
Mar. 13th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Patently Absurd
I believe he was addressing the Western nations as a whole, all of the countries signing international copyright / patent treaties. All I have to go on, though, is the quote itself, which doesn't address the specifics.
Mar. 13th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
I love how the article says "what happened to Peter Pan as he advanced in years." If they release a book in which Peter Pan grows up, I hope Barrie really does come back to haunt them.

On the bright side, copyright is a deterrent to the official publication of "fanfic."
Mar. 14th, 2005 07:20 am (UTC)
Ew... fanfic

Mar. 14th, 2005 07:54 am (UTC)
I have a vague recollection that there was some legal-action-type noise made by Margarate Mitchell's estate a few years back over a novel based on Gone With the Wind from a different perspective. I suppose I could search the web for this, but perhaps somebody here already remembers more about than I do.
Mar. 14th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC)
That was The Wind Done Gone and it was kind of a parody (told from a slave perspective) rather than a sequel. Mitchell's estate did authorize a sequel to Gone With the Wind in the early 90s. It was dreadful. Actually, it would have been fine if they had renamed the characters and not told you it was a sequel to anything.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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