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Injunction for Estate of J.D. Salinger in Copyright Infringement Action Vacated

By FindLaw Staff on April 30, 2010 11:05 AM

Salinger v. Colting, No. 09-2878, concerned an action by the estate of J.D. Salinger claiming copyright infringement and unfair competition based on the publication of a novel derivative of The Catcher in the Rye.  The court of appeals vacated a preliminary injunction in favor of plaintiff, holding that the Supreme Court's decision in eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006), which articulated a four-factor test as to when an injunction may issue, applied with equal force to preliminary injunctions issued on the basis of alleged copyright infringement.

As the court wrote:  "Salinger published The Catcher in the Rye (hereinafter "Catcher") in 1951. Catcher is a coming-of-age story about a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, Holden Caulfield, who after being expelled from prep school wanders around New York City for several days before returning home. The story is told from Holden's perspective and in his "own strange, wonderful, language." Nash Burger, Books of the Times, N.Y. Times, July 16, 1951. Holden's adventures highlight the contrast between his cynical portrait of a world full of "phonies" and "crooks" and his love of family, particularly his younger sister Phoebe and his deceased younger brother Allie, along with his developing romantic interest in a childhood friend, Jane Gallagher. While his affection for these individuals pushes him throughout the novel toward human contact, his disillusionment with humanity inclines him toward removing himself from society and living out his days as a recluse. He ultimately abandons his decision to live as recluse when Phoebe insists on accompanying him on his self-imposed exile."

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