Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003500, Wed, 18 Nov 1998 14:23:00 -0800

Lo's Diary: What's the Law? (fwd)
From: Jay Livingston (livingston@montclair.edu)

Most of the discussion here seems to have been over what's right and
wrong. But I'm curious about the legal issues.

The potential American publisher of "Lo's Diary" backed down, so we
never got to see the case argued in court. But does anyone know what the law is
on these matters--in the U.S. at least (presumably it's looser in Italy and
perhaps other European countries)? Do authors own their characters--does the
Nabokov estate own Lolita--in the same way that Disney owns Mickey Mouse?

If Shakespeare's heirs still had copyright protection, would
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" be gathering dust in Stoppard's trunk?

Or could I, without fear of a successful lawsuit, publish a book with
the title "P is for Plagiarism" featuring a detective named Kinsey
EDITOR's NOTE. Oddly, there is a book that traces Kinsey M.'s life thru
her alphabetic adventures. Whether Sue Grafton or her publisher
"authorized" it, I don't know. I wonder if the author of the
"meta-Millhone" book meditates on that first name? Why "Kinsey"?x