Joyce aggression finally halted

Hooray! Stephen Joyce, the maniacal enforcer of the James Joyce estate, has finally met his match. His nemesis: one Lawrence Lessig. Here’s the report from Stanford Law.

Last June we sued the Estate of James Joyce to establish the right of Stanford Professor Carol Shloss to use copyrighted materials in connection with her scholarly biography of Lucia Joyce. Shloss suffered more than ten years of threats and intimidation by Stephen James Joyce, who purported to prohibit her from quoting from anything that James or Lucia Joyce ever wrote for any purpose. As a result of these threats, significant portions of source material were deleted from Shloss’s book, Lucia Joyce: To Dance In The Wake.

In the lawsuits we filed against the Estate and against Stephen Joyce individually, we asked the Court to remove the threat of liability by declaring Shloss’s right to publish those deleted materials on a website designed to supplement the book. After the trying to have the case dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the Estate gave up the fight. Joyce and the Estate have now entered into a settlement agreement enforceable by the Court that prohibits them from enforcing any of their copyrights against Shloss in connection with the publication of the supplement, whether in electronic or printed form. (The Settlement Agreement is posted here.)

This is a remarkable victory given the Estate’s past aggression. But more are needed in order to make clear and concrete the protections that Fair Use is intended to protect in theory. We hope this is the first in a string of many cases that vindicate the rights of not only scholars and academics, but creators of all manner.

Official press release here.