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Shloss Wins James Joyce Settlement

Publication Date: 
October 08, 2009
The Stanford Daily
Caroline Chen

Former Stanford professor and founder of the Center for Internet and Society, Larry Lessig, is mentioned in this article about the settlement between scholar Carol Shloss and the Estate of James Joyce:

A Stanford scholar has settled her claims against the James Joyce Estate for $240,000, winning publishing rights for her biography and breaking through corporate copyright laws.

Carol Shloss, a consulting English professor, published her biography Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake in 2003. In it, she argues that Lucia Joyce, often written off as the schizophrenic daughter of Irish author James Joyce, was in fact an extraordinary dancer and artist whose talent was stifled by her family. She also asserts that Lucia was a muse to Joyce and central to the creation of Joyce’s famous Finnegans Wake.

However, her work met objections from the James Joyce Estate. Joyce’s grandson, Stephen Joyce, threatened a lawsuit should Shloss quote from anything that James or Lucia Joyce ever wrote.


In response to these accusations, Shloss created an electronic supplement in 2005 containing the edited material, protected under the U.S. “Fair Use” doctrine. However, the electronic supplement was not made publicly available, and the Joyce Estate continued to threaten her with legal action unless she kept the Web site private.

In response, Shloss filed a suit for declaratory relief in 2006, aided by the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society’s “Fair Use Project.” Larry Lessig, then a Stanford Law professor, served as her attorney.