Wednesday, 8 May 2013

To kill a mockingbird - I wish someone had killed me

Anything would have been better than reading that thing!

You’d have had to been holed up somewhere for your entire life to not be familiar with the award winning novel by Harper Lee. It’s often cited as being a must-read novel for aspiring lawyers and listed amongst the top 10 legal reads of all time.

to kill a mockingbirdI read it at school years ago as part of a GCSE English assessment. And I absolutely hated it. Every last word.

I’m not going to hold back here; I simply cannot recall a book I liked less. I found it utterly depressing, entirely un-compelling and am thankful I had no interest in a career in law at that point. It might have put me off for life. Even the copy I was dished up with at school stunk to high heaven of the wretched fish glue that bound it. That kind of literary experience takes some bouncing back from, believe me.  The fact our English teacher raved about, served only to heighten my disinterest. 

Adolescence and GCSEs is a tough combination at the best of times, but having to wade through a novel like that nearly finished me. Just over a third of the way through I gave up with that sucker and never looked back. Thank God for York Notes – that’s all I can say.

Anyhow, that’s enough of the schoolboy reverie. This post was intended to have some bearing on copyright (honest).

From the 1709 blog 05/05/13:

[The author of to Kill a Mockingbird,] Harper Lee, now aged 87, does not own the copyright to her book. That is owned by Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee's former literary agent, and a company he allegedly created. The author has now filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan, to re-secure the copyright and claiming unspecified damages[.]

The 87-year-old author alleges that in 2007, in a "scheme to dupe”, Pinkus took advantage of her declining hearing and eyesight to get her to assign the book's copyright to him and a company he controlled.

The lawsuit bids the court to assign any rights in the book owned by Mr Pinkus to Lee and asks that she be returned any commission he took from 2007 onwards saying

"The transfer of ownership of an author's copyright to her agent is incompatible with her agent's duty of loyalty; it is a gross example of self-dealing".

For all those interested in copyright law, this might be one to keep an eye on. To all students studying to kill a mockingbird, you have my profound sympathy.

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