Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Travesty of justice

After reading Scott Edelman's post about Andre Norton a couple of days ago, I have been in outraged shock. If you want the story, check out The Tennessean and their article about the current status.

What it boils down to is money and Dr. Horadam is not satisfied with his share of the pie, but what is truly dangerous with far reaching repercussions is the claim that his "greater appreciation" of Andre Norton's work gives him a greater claim to control of the copyrights of more than 300 works created during Andre's life.

To break it down to the nitty gritty, that means that should this judgment stand lawyers and fans with "greater appreciation" of an author's works could be entitled to wrest control of an author's life's work from the heirs. As far as I am concerned, I would rather have control of my work than a fan with greater appreciation. It's not about appreciation because if that was the case there would be a Donnybrook over which fan has greater appreciation. How do you measure appreciation? Do you measure appreciation by the quantity of letters exchanged over a period of time (there are more letters documented by many of Andre's co-authors and friends and fans than Dr. Horadam's) or how many visits to an author's home or how long one stayed in an author's home or some other means? Or do you take the letter and spirit of the author's wishes and last will and testament as sufficient proof of who they wanted to hand their life's work?

Sue Stewart, named in the article as Andre's caregiver, was more than a caregiver. Sue was a friend who rescued Andre from the abusive control of a woman who was disappointed that Andre would not give her the fame and literary boost she craved. Sue made Andre's last years and days the most pleasant in many decades. Sue also gave Andre back control of her life and for that Sue should be commended and not vilified and forced to give up what Andre bequeathed her for the base and fortune-hunting concerns of the likes of Dr. Horadam.

Think about it, authors. How long will you stand by and believe that your last will and testament is the last word when precedents like the one enacted in this case in defiance of the facts and the law are allowed to stand?

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