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Appeals Court Reassigns |Sci-Fi Writer’s Copyrights

NASHVILLE (CN) - A probate court improperly interpreted the will of science-fiction writer Andre Alice Norton by awarding both copyrights and royalties to the late author's beneficiary, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee ruled.

At issue were the copyrights and royalties of Norton's work. The trial court ruled that Norton used those terms interchangeably, so both are due to her beneficiary and longtime fan, Dr. Victor W. Horadam.

Judge Stewart ruled that the lower court should have included the extrinsic evidence of Norton's intent offered by the executrix of the estate, Sue Stewart. The ambiguity was latent, not patent, the judge ruled.

Stewart used that information to determine that the copyrights belong to Stewart, while the royalties belong to her beneficiaries.

"The evidence showed Ms. Norton entrusted Ms. Stewart with her literary works, long before and in contemplation of her death," Judge Stewart wrote.

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