Friday, 6 December 2013

Re-Writes

I see someone has re-written The Sheik.
The Sheik RetoldThe original story, written by Edith Maude Hull in 1919, was her most popular book and became a famous film starring Rudolph Valentino. The book is still in print today, but out of copyright in the USA and Europe.

Victoria Vane has written a steamy version using the original characters and the same storyline. She has simply added the word "retold" to the title and placed the original author's name on the cover below her own. I find it amazing that this is legal.

I know that there are some well known authors  in this country preparing or actually engaged on re-writing Jane Austen's stories. Are we so devoid of imagination that we can think of nothing new, but have to plunder works that have been in print for decades? Does it not make a nonsense of copyright? Is it any better than plagiarism?

I feel sure that publishers have consulted lawyers and, like accountants slipping between the legalities, a loophole has been found that allows this to take place. Perhaps the fact that both authors are dead has something to do with it. Perhaps the person or company who holds the estate of the author has given permission and that is all that matters. But is it right? I don't think so. I hope no one buys the wretched things, but I suspect they'll sell in shiploads. And to some people, that's all that matters. Look out for re-writes of every other classic novel in the next few years.

 




1 comment:

Jen Black said...

Margaret Scott Chrisawn It's not only these sorts of re-writes that are so annoying but the reams of pale, usually silly, and almost always pointless--and unreadable--clones of Jane Austen, using the Pride and Prejudice characters over and over again. Talk about a lack of imagination! I know I'm in the minority on that topic...