World's First Synthetic Microbe Accused of Copyright Infringement by James Joyce's Estate

When Craig Venter created a synthetic microbe, he inserted a passage from James Joyce. Guess who's upset? Joyce's estate, claiming copyright infringement:

In order to distinguish their synthetic DNA from that naturally present in the bacterium, Venter’s team coded several famous quotes into their DNA, including one from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”

After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce’s estate, saying that he’d used the Irish writer’s work without permission. ”We thought it fell under fair use,” said Venter.

Link - via The Loom

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Roll on the day that copyright on Joyce's work expires and the, em, "difficult" grandson, Stephen Joyce, no longer has a say in how his grandfather's work is used. Normally in these cases I'd be on the side of the copyright holders but Stephen Joyce has been so intransigent over the years that it's very difficult to have an iota of sympathy for him.
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"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is in the public domain in the United States, so the Joyce estate (i.e. Stephen Joyce, the barmy grandson of the author) has no claim.
On 1 January 2012, all of Joyce's works will come into the public domain in the EU. Hopefully this will put a permanent end to the greedy short-sighted idiocy of Stephen Joyce and his lawyers.
Most of Joyce's oeuvre is available on Project Gutenberg:
(Obviously, don't download these books unless it is legal to do so where you live.)
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