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James Joyce set free

January 1, 2012

image64The James Joyce estate, whose primary trustee is the writer’s grandson Stephen Joyce, has notoriously been protective of Joyce’s work, and have brought numerous lawsuits against those who quote from Joyce, perform Joyce’s play, adapt Joyce, or try to put on public festivals celebrating Joyce.  In fact, it made headline news when a rare exception occurred and the singer Kate Bush used portions of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses in her Sensual World CD.

In the past, the Joyce estate tried to shut down the 2004 Ulysses centenary Bloomsday festival in Dublin, and threatened the Government with a major suit (forcing the Irish Seanad [parliament] to pass emergency legislation) over a museum exhibit at the Irish National Library (after the Government paid €12.6 million for 500 sheets by Joyce.)

But today, copyright expired on Joyce’s works expired today in the EU, and this promises to open a whole new era of creative works and homages to Joyce.  Here is the news from the Irish Times:

Copyright on James Joyce’s works in the European Union expired at midnight. From today, writings published during Joyce’s lifetime – Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses  and Finnegans Wake  – are available for publication and quotation without reference or payment to the Irish author’s estate….

The end of copyright protection will enable creative artists and theatre companies to stage adaptations and re-enactments. Public broadcast will also be possible. Joyce’s solitary play, Exiles,  can also be freely staged, and productions are likely. The Pan-Pan theatre company is interested in an Exiles- related project around next Bloomsday, while the play Gibraltar by Patrick Fitzgerald, which opens in the New Theatre, Dublin, tonight, draws heavily on the text of Ulysses. Another project well in train is publication of a special edition of Joyce’s short story “The Dead”  by the James Joyce Centre in Dublin….

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  1. Happy Bloomsday! « BLT

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