Do you remember my screed last year about those horrid Kinderguides? I couldn’t believe they could get away with the concept — reworking classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and On the Road for teeny tots. Well, I’m relieved to see they can’t (at least not in US — see more about the international situation below). From Picture Books Based on Famous Novels Violate Copyright, a Judge Rules:
Last week, a judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that several KinderGuides books infringed on the copyright protections granted to authors and their estates. The judge, Jed S. Rakoff, ruled in favor of the estates of Capote, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway, which united to file suit in January, with Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House. In the complaint, the estates and publishers called KinderGuides “unauthorized derivative” works that take the characters, plots and settings from copyrighted books.
I love that the Times snarkily links to a PW piece complete with a photo of the owners that looks like something from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop rather than their own article (in which I’m quoted). Checking their website I see that On the Road, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Old Man and the Sea are now gone (though you can still see the covers on the PW piece) leaving Jane Eyre, The Odyssey, and Pride & Prejudice. Frankly, those have been far better abridged elsewhere.
But hold the presses! They seem to be still available in other countries where, I guess, our copyright laws don’t reach. Here’s a recent instagram post of theirs: