Once upon a more na´ve time, I would have taken a federal judge's word about a controversial decision, especially if I could see both sides of the question but didn't have enough information to make a judgment myself. That was before. That was when I believed the courts were free from politics and prejudice.
Now I wonder why an Atlanta judge would side with the Margaret Mitchell trust over an author and publishing house with plans to publish a novel based on Gone With the Wind, from a perspective not presented in the original. I wonder if there isn't a sinister reason behind the decision, having nothing to do with the merits.
Instead of putting the matter to rest, the judge's ruling makes me want to read this book and decide for myself. It makes me feel that my rights are being violated, and I'm being deprived of words I want to hear. The judge is telling me I shouldn't be allowed to hear these words, and that seems wrong somehow, contrary to principles of freedom.
On the other hand, how do I know? The author and publisher call their work a parody, but the judge calls it piracy. He says that scenes are lifted from the original, and that the book constitutes an unauthorized appropriation of characters rightfully belonging to the Mitchell estate. And I can certainly agree that authors have rights to their own creations, and others should be prevented from stealing them.
I think I'm leaning toward the author, Alice Randall, because Houghton Mifflin thought enough of her novel to publish it. I guess I'm saying I trust their judgment on a matter of literary merit and law. They believe Randall has expressed a point of view that not only is ignored in the original, but offended by it.
And as I mentioned in an earlier entry, I really want to read The Wind Done Gone. Right or wrong, that's the selfish root of my philosophical conclusion.