Why perpetual copyright sucks, volume 6,235

Via BoingBoing, we find the tale of Stephen Joyce, sole heir and executor of the James Joyce estate. If he doesn’t like what you might say in your paper, he’ll deny you permission to quote from Joyce’s work. He’s prevented all manner of projects from taking place, and is doing his best to stifle anything said about his grandfather that he doesn’t like. Stephen’s ire extends even to public readings of Ulysses on Bloomsday; his threat to sue the Irish government put the kibosh on any such readings during the 100th anniversary celebrations two years ago. The situation is such that a Stanford prof is suing the estate preemptively to establish that his research doesn’t violate copyright.

The sucky part? There was a time, briefly, when Stephen Joyce was irrelevant. Joyce’s work passed into public domain in the 90s, only to be sucked back in thanks to copyright extensions.

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