Fredrik Colting, a Swedish author who was sued by J.D. Salinger’s estate several years ago for publishing an unauthorized sequel to “The Catcher in the Rye,” has once again been sued for repurposing an iconic work by a dead writer.This time, he is facing a legal complaint from four literary estates, representing a pantheon of influential 20th-century novelists.The estates of Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway, with the publishing houses Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, have filed a copyright lawsuit against Colting and his wife, Melissa Medina, for releasing illustrated children’s books based on those authors’ works.
In an email Thursday, Colting argued that KinderGuides were intended as educational guides, similar to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, and as such bring added value to the works and do not violate copyright.
“We are doing nothing different than what the many other educational publishers providing study guides have been doing for many years,” he wrote. “We strongly believe that this case is without merit since we feel that we are protected by law to provide a literary commentary on these classic novels.”
But the two publishers and the authors’ estates took a dim view of that reasoning.
“The KinderGuides are clearly derivative and plainly infringe on some of the most treasured and valued works of our time,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement. “Anyone with even basic experience in publishing would understand these works are in violation of copyright.”