Joyce and the Law

by panamericanas

Joyce and the Law

The ongoing Clowes v. LaBeouf copyright scandal has reminded me how much I enjoy the intersection of art and law. Despite the disturbing nature of LaBeouf’s transgressions, this combination of intellectual property law and the work of a cartoonist I admire is fascinating. (I say this with apologies to Mr. Clowes, and with my sympathies for his having to endure this nonsense.) If the case goes to court it will doubtlessly be open-and-shut, and it’s barely worthy of commentary from a legal perspective. The gossip blogs have already exhausted the story. Although the ordeal might not be setting precedent, it nevertheless reminded me of Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd. and the Ulysses censorship debacle. These cases are the kind that keep students of intellectual property excited about their studies, the kind that exhibit the intricacies of art and law when the disciplines come together. Some case studies are devoured as great literature, and in reading them as superb literary non-fiction I have long felt that Joyce would understand this perspective. For that reason I was especially excited to find the above-pictured copy of James Joyce Quarterly vol. 37,Joyce and the Law‘, at a University of Toronto used-book sale-table. The pieces contained vary from readings of Joyce’s actual and fictional legal issues to contemporary copyright disputes being dealt with by the Joyce estate. Both legal and literary, the entire volume is an exciting read, an entertaining reminder that to read the law through a lens Joycean is to read it in a gleaming new light. 

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