(CN) – Author J.D. Salinger won a ruling Wednesday that prohibits the U.S. sale of a new book by a Swedish author called “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.” U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts said the character Mr. C. copies the character Holden Caulfield in Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel “Catcher in the Rye.”
The derivative work was written by Fredrick Colting, under the pen name John David California. It imagines the resurrection of Salinger’s Caulfield 60 years after “Catcher in the Rye.” On its Web site, the publisher calls “60 Years” a “speculative psychological mystery” in which “J.D. Salinger confronts his most famous character.”
Colting and Windupbird Publishing argued that “60 Years” was protected by the fair-use doctrine, because it “comments directly on (and criticizes) ‘Catcher’ and its author.”
But Judge Batts said the book “contains no reasonably discernable rejoinder or specific criticism of any character or theme of ‘Catcher.'”
Batts also rejected their claim that the character of Mr. C is a parody of “Catcher” or Holden Caulfield.
“[T]he court finds such contentions to be post-hoc rationalizations employed through vague generalizations about the alleged naivety of the original, rather than reasonably perceivable parody,” she wrote.
Nor did Batts accept the claim that “60 Years” is a transformative work.
“Defendants have taken well more from ‘Catcher,’ in both substance and style, than is necessary for the alleged transformative purpose of criticizing Salinger and his attitudes and behavior,” the judge concluded.