18.06.09 - The Bookseller
The restraining order will last 10 days until the judge has decided whether or not the title should be published or if the case should go to trial. The author 60 Days, Fredrik Colting, who writes under the pen name J D California, and his representatives, including lawyer Edward Rosenthal, argued in court that there was not enough substantial similarity between the two novels to halt its publication. Rosenthal said: "There are instances that draw from the original . . . But the plaintiff has seriously overreached here [in finding similarities], and to my view there is no substantial similarity."
However, US district judge Deborah Batts said: "There is a great deal of substantial similarity in terms of format, [specific phrases], expressions, the way he talks, in the ways the books are crafted, the short period of time in each, the fact that there are visits to Central Park, to the Museum of Natural history, the characters, the settings," she argued. "And every time there is a throwaway reference it's obviously meant to connect to the events in the [original] book."The debate focused on whether or not the main character from Catcher, Holden Caulfield, who is also used as the main character in 60 years under a different name, was in fact copyrightable."He is iconic, he's important to us because he has been studied in high schools for 60 years," said Rosenthal. "That does not mean that Holden Caulfield has been elevated to protected status. I do not believe Holden Caulfield can stand on his own as a copyrightable character."
Salinger's lawyer, Marcia Paul, was most concerned with the fact that this book had been advertised on several occasions as a sequel to Catcher. She said in court, "This is a case where a sequel has been created without the author's permissions."
The defendants, however, claimed it to be a commentary. Rosenthal said: "It gets you to think about what happened in the original. It comments on Catcher and Salinger, and it adds significantly to one's understanding of Catcher."
Although the judge agreed that there was substantial similarity and that Holden Caulfield was in fact a copyrightable character, she reserved her decision as she was uncertain whether there was a fair use defense. Rosenthal commented afterwards: "The fact that she's thinking about these complicated facts is a victory for us."
— Nielsen Business Media