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Copyright Claim in 400-Year-Old Novel

MARSHALL, Texas (CN) - A Spanish professor sued the University of Chicago Press, claiming it violated copyright on his edition of the 1637 book, "Novelas amorosas y ejemplares."

Julián Olivares claims in his federal lawsuit that his 2000 critical edition is "a transformation and interpretation" of the book written in 1637 by Spanish novelist María de Zayas y Sotomayor. (However, Olivares says in the complaint that the date of the pending copyright registration of his book is Oct. 14, 2014.)

Sotomayor wrote the collection of short novels during Spain's Golden Age of literature and is celebrated as a powerful force in modern literary feminism.

Her works were influenced by "Don Quixote" author Miguel de Cervantes' "Novelas ejemplares," which were written in a similar style.

Olivares claims he is the sole proprietor of his book, which "contains a large amount of material wholly original with plaintiff, and is copyrightable."

He claims that the university's translators used "at least nine translated narratives" from his book, that they never asked his permission to use his work, that he never gave them permission, but that nonetheless the translators had the brass to thank him in the book for his assistance.

Defendants include the University of Chicago, the University of Chicago Press, and translators Margaret R. Greer and Elizabeth Rhodes.

The university published the book under the title, "María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Exemplary Tales of Love and Tales of Disillusion."

"In defendants' book, Greer and Rhodes affirmed that they translated narratives of plaintiff's book," Olivares claims, adding that the university's book specifically states: "we use Julián Olivares's edition of the book's second publication."

Olivares seeks up to $100,000 per infringement and "a worldwide accounting of all revenue received by defendants for defendants' book" because "the infringement was intentional."

He also seeks damages for unjust enrichment.

He is represented by William P. Ramey III with Ramey & Browning, of Houston.

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