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AnneMarble
05-27-2008, 04:06 PM
Len Deighton (yes, the writer) is fighting Ian Fleming's family in a plagiarism scandal. But it goes further than plagiarism, with accusations of censorship:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/len-deighton-launches-attack-on-ian-flemings-heirs-834026.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/len-deighton-launches-attack-on-ian-flemings-heirs-834026.html)

Last year, a small press was coming out with a book called "The Battle for Bond" about a plagiarism trial involving the novel "Thunderball." (Did you know there had been a plagiarism trial? I sure didn't.) But the Fleming estate got the book stopped and forced the publisher to pulp the book. According to the article, the book contained court documents, so the family ordered the editions pulped by claiming those court documents infringes on their copyright. (That's a new one on me!) The author pointed out that they were public documents -- but was still forced to destroy the book. Deighton says "How Ian Fleming would have hated to know that this book had been censored ... As a gentleman he would have felt that harassing a fellow author to be the ultimate demonstration of bad taste."

The plagiarism trial came about like this. Fleming and two screenwriters worked together on a James Bond screenplay. He ended up using their ideas in "Thunderball." As a result, they sued and won the film rights to the novel. Because of that, the Bond films have been treated as a separate legal entity than the films, and Fleming's family has no copyright control over the films.

So what do you think? Did the family go too far in stopping the publication of the book? Can publishing a legal document be copyright infringment, and if so, how and in what cases?

Also, am I the only one who never knew about this case? :o

dpaterso
05-27-2008, 04:33 PM
Very interesting. I'd no idea.

-Derek

Momento Mori
05-27-2008, 05:22 PM
There was a report on the original plagiarism trial in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago, which was a complete eye-opener for me. From what was said in that article, I found this amusing:


Deighton says "How Ian Fleming would have hated to know that this book had been censored ... As a gentleman he would have felt that harassing a fellow author to be the ultimate demonstration of bad taste."

According to the writer, Fleming was most definitely not a gentleman when it came to allegedly taking someone else's work without crediting it - in fact, he viewed the action as a gross impertinence because he bought into his own legend!

MM

AnneMarble
05-27-2008, 07:59 PM
According to the writer, Fleming was most definitely not a gentleman when it came to allegedly taking someone else's work without crediting it - in fact, he viewed the action as a gross impertinence because he bought into his own legend!
Hmm, that sounds very different from what Deighton said -- although it also sounds more logical. If he was such a gentleman, they wouldn't have had to take him to trial. Maybe Deighton was trying to be gentlemanly about it. (Maybe one part of being a "gentleman" sometimes means making the other guy sound much nicer than he really was. :rolleyes:)

Momento Mori
05-27-2008, 08:26 PM
AnneMarble:
If he was such a gentleman, they wouldn't have had to take him to trial.

True - although I suppose it's possible for Fleming to have been a gentleman where free speech was concerned and a total SOB when it came to plagiarism ;).

I can't remember all the details of the article now, but I know that there were allegations of evidence being falsified on the Fleming side and I believe he had a lot of health troubles at the time, which led to him being pressured to settle.

There's a plethora of Fleming/Bond stuff in the press right now because of the Sebastian Faulkes book coming out (they had an extract in the Times and even to a non-Bond fan, it looked rather good), so I'm expecting to see the newspapers go nuts for everything and anything even remotely connected to the subject.

MM