Who owns Holden Caulfield?

Who owns Holden Caulfield?

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Just to Clarify today moves a little away from the immediate news of the week, towards an issue that has been developing over the last few months. Here’s the back story.

In June, a Swedish author calling himself J. D. California, intending to publish a book called Coming Through The Rye, found himself at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by J. D. Salinger.

Coming Through The Rye depicts Holden Caulfield, the teenaged hero of Salinger’s classic Catcher in the Rye, as a 76-year-old man in today’s world.

Now, Salinger has always been fiercely possessive of the Caulfield character and story, but this presents an interesting question.

If California’s intent was commentary on the character and on Salinger’s fictional world, does that place Holden Caulfield beyond the realm of copyright? To parody Caulfield, does a writer need Salinger’s permission? How does the judiciary decide where homage or parody stops and copyright infringement begins?

To answer these questions we have Saikrishna Rajagopal, an Intellectual Property Rights Specialist and a partner at the Lawfirm Sai Krishna and Associates.

As always if you have any issues you would like addressed on the show, write to us at samanth.s@livemint.com