Venter vs Joyce


Apparently US geneticist Craig Venter is being slapped down (legally) by the estate of James Joyce!!!

To clarify, thats the very dead James Joyce, the Irish Writer. So what the heck did Venter do to offend the dead? Easy, he created new life, and then stamped the DNA with a quote from Joyce’s semi-autobiographical 1916 novel, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. It reads …

“To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life”

Oh heck, will the notoriously litigious Joyce estate now sue me for literary copyright infringement? Hang on a moment,  I lifted the quote from a public news article,  that must now be fair use. So if its Ok for me, then what about Mr Venter, does fair use only apply to me quoting the news article, and not him quoting the actual book. So can he now change his position and instead quote the news article and not the book? (I think you are perhaps by now beginning to see why I did not get into law).

Anyway, for some this is not at all a surprise, the Joyce estate are quite frankly complete loons. Apparently they also threatened to sue the Irish government if there were any public readings of Joyce’s work at the centenary Bloomsday celebration of the author in 2004. If Joyce knew, he would be mortified, but then I guess being dead allows others to make decisions for you, even crazy ones.

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