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James Joyce Estate Agrees To Pay Plaintiff's Fees In Fair Use Dispute

Publication Date: 
September 30, 2009
Karen Sloan

Lecturer Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project, is quoted in the National Law Journal on the settlement between scholar Carol Shloss and the Estate of James Joyce:

Karen Sloan filed this story on the final chapter in the Fair Use Project Shloss v. Joyce case:

The estate of author James Joyce has agreed to pay $240,000 in legal costs incurred by a Stanford University scholar following a fair use legal battle over a book about Joyce's daughter.

The settlement ends more than a decade of wrangling over Carol Shloss' book "Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake," which was to include copyrighted material from the celebrated author. Shloss was represented by attorneys from Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project; Keker & Van Nest; and Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin.

Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project, said the latest settlement brings to a close one of the more prominent academic fair use cases in recent years, which garnered interest in part because of the Joyce estate's aggressive approach to protecting copyrighted material. Other Joyce scholars for years have clashed with the estate -- controlled by the author's grandson Stephen James Joyce and trustee Sean Sweeney -- while attempting to excerpt his writing. Falzone said Shloss' legal success should give others the confidence to pursue their fair use rights.

"It really sends a message to people in Carol's position," Falzone said of the settlement. "Often what happens is that the mere threat of legal action is enough to scare [academics] off, and it leads to self-sensorship."


Shloss, a consulting professor of English at Stanford University, began researching her book on Lucia Joyce in 1988. In 1994, according to her lawsuit, Stephen James Joyce became aware of her research and in 1996 began to interfere. He denied permission to include a James Joyce poem, among other materials. The lawsuit also claimed the estate threatened to sue Shloss and her publisher if the copyrighted material was included in her book.

"It was a tense relationship," Falzone said. "Stephen James Joyce made it clear that he didn't want the book to happen."