Sunday, 16 March 2008

'Gone with the Wind' and copyright

April will see the publication in Australia of an "unauthorised" sequel to 'Gone with the Wind'. It's called 'The Winds of Tara' and it was written by Katherine Pinotti. It was published in the U.S. a few years back, but because the copyright for 'Gone with the Wind' is still held by the estate of Margaret Mitchell, and they didn't agree to it's publication, the book was banned. They did agree to the publication of 'Rhett Butler's People' by Donald McCraig.

Apparently, it can be published in Australia because we have a different time limit on when copyright expires than they do in the U.S., which keeps extending the time books and other creative works are subject to copyright - something Lawrence Lessig and others have been highly critical of. In 'Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity' Lessig argues that this is stifling creativity and innovation. Nobody wants to go back to the way publishing operated in the 18th century, when booksellers like Edmund Curll showed a total disregard for the rights of authors to earn a living from their work, but Lessig mounts a pretty persuasive argument that the law as it stands in the U.S. has gone too far the other way.

Unfortunately, booksellers in Australia aren't allowed to sell this book to people who live in the U.S., so I guess the biggest winners in this exercise will be the people who buy copies from us and sell them on eBay to Americans... Dave

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I disagree that it is unfortunate that this book isn't available in the U. S. - while both of the authorized sequels disappointed, "The Winds of Tara" is a poorly crafted, poorly written, mistake-ridden attempt to make money off of "Gone With the Wind." The Mitchell estate is correct in keeping this book off of the shelves. If Pinotti is so desperate to write a worthy sequel, she would have to 1) take writing classes, 2) take instruction in ACCURATE American and European history (not her fantasy of what history should have been) and 3) learn the difference between honoring a writer one respects by copying her style and plagiarism, which is what Pinotti engages in throughout this mess. Oh, and also illegal. America - don't waste your time, money or effort trying to buy this book - on eBay or otherwise. A worthy sequel to GWTW has yet to be written - this ain't it - not by a long shot.