Court Reverses Steinbeck Copyright Ruling

Posted on August 18, 2008

A federal appeals court has reversed a prior ruling in favor of John Steinbeck's son and granddaughter which gave them publishing rights to ten of Steinbeck's works, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men
The appeals court said a lower court judge misapplied copyright law in awarding the rights in 2006 to the son, Thomas Steinbeck, and granddaughter Blake Smyle. Both already receive a portion of the proceeds of sales.
The rights are worth quite a bit of money, as they include power of how the works are use in every media from books to movies. Steinbeck left the rights to his widow in his will, and gave each of his sons about $50,000 in trust. When the widow died, she left the rights to her children from another marriage, thereby cutting out Steinbeck's own sons.
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