Saturday, November 03, 2007

Authorization and integrity

Postmortem moral rights have always puzzled me, more so than moral rights exercised by an author. Copyright owners are often willing to do things with their property that seem to others (fans) appalling betrayals of the originals -- the many incarnations of Batman offer my favorite example. Today, the NYT carries Stephen Carter's review of an authorized sequel to Gone with the Wind. Carter suggests that the revisions worked by the sequel retroactively weaken the original's Rhett Butler. Of course, I don't think this is a problem that should be solved by giving anyone rights against disruptive retellings, but even if we did want to address the problem, it wouldn't be sufficient to ban unauthorized sequels -- the authorized ones would have to be vetted too.

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