Judge halts "Catcher in the Rye" spin-off for now

Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:40pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday temporarily halted publication of a novel using characters from J.D. Salinger's classic "The Catcher in the Rye" written without the original author's permission.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts issued a temporary restraining order against publication for 10 days at which time she would rule on whether to grant Salinger's legal request to ban its publication in the United States.

The case involves a book entitled "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye" by a Swedish author, Fredrik Colting, written under the nom de plume John David California that was due to come out later this year.

The new work features a character named "Mr. C" based on Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the 1951 classic.

Salinger, 90, who has lived for decades out of the public eye, sued this month to block its publication.

"This is a case where a sequel has been created without the author's permission," his lawyer, Marcia Paul, told the judge.

Paul said the case was about the right to keep Holden Caulfield "frozen" under Salinger's copyright.

But a lawyer for Colting argued the book came under a fair use exception because it was literary commentary or parody.   Continued...