Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by John Steinbeck’s relatives over a copyright case, sparking bitter remarks about publishing.
According to the NY Times, a district court judge ruled in 2006 that Steinbeck’s son, Thomas Steinbeck and granddaughter, Blake Smyle, could reclaim the rights to ten novels by Steinbeck–ending a 1994 contract with Penguin. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, and the son and granddaughter had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would reconsider.
Here’s a response from Steinbeck’s son posted at PR Newswire: “At stake is far more than our own situation–the Supreme Court could have protected all the authors and artists in America from a future of intellectual bondage to big corporate publishers. The publishers, like slave-owners characterized by Abraham Lincoln, want to command writers, ‘You grow the grain, you make the bread, and we’ll eat it.'” (Via Publishers Lunch)