Speaking of Joyce …

My brother John points me to a BoingBoing post – a post via a post about a post about an article in the Irish Times, actually (don’t visit the newspaper site unless you’re ready to pay) — about the Joyce estate and its swinish stand on copyright: It’s threatening to sue for infringement if anyone dares stage a public reading of ”Ulysses” this coming June 16, the 100th anniversary of Leopold’s, Stephen’s, Molly’s and Dublin’s ficitonal day as recorded in the novel. The lead of an Irish Times story from February 9 (copyright The Irish Times):

Joyce estate warns festival over copyright issuesThe Joyce estate has warned the organisers of the Bloomsday centenary festival, “ReJoyce Dublin 2004,” and the Government that it will sue for any breach of the estate’s copyright.

“The warnings, which have also been given to the director of the National Library, RTE and the Joyce Centre, will prevent certain events from being held during the festival. These include public readings from Ulysses and a proposal by the Abbey to stage Joyce’s play Exiles. …”

Yes, that’s pig-headed. But, before I start gnashing my teeth — already worn down from other gnashings — it’s kind of hard to blame them if you look at the way copyright is being handled in this country. Whatever income  the Joyce estate protects by doing this, or creative ferment it stifles, it ain’t in the same league with the greed expressed in U.S. copyright law, which has been changed and changed again to grant nearly perpetual rights to creators or (more important) the owners of creations.

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