The poets' cases


The case concerning private letters of James Joyce

Stanford scholar Carol Loeb Shloss has written a controversial biography of James Joyce's daughter. While gathering the materials she got acquainted with the private letters of James Joyce and was eager to include certain citations therefrom into the book. She was restricted by the Stephen James Joyce, James Joyce's grandson and executor of his estate.

The case was settled, allowing the publication in electronic format restricting access to the U.S. readers only.

Carol Loeb Shloss has also settled her claims for attorneys' fees against the Joyce Estate for $240,000.


The case concerning privately owned portfolio of manuscripts written by Franz Kafka

In August 2016 Israel’s Supreme Court ended the lengthy lawsuit by ruling that Franz Kafka’s manuscripts are the property of the National Library of Israel.

According to the historic data, Franz Kafka instructed his friend Max Brod to burn the manuscripts after his death in 1924. However, his friend did not honour that request and took the manuscripts with him when leaving Czechoslovania due to Nazi invasion in 1939. Later, Max Brod left the papers to his secretary Esther Hoffe and instructed her to give them to the "Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the municipal library in Tel Aviv or another organization in Israel or abroad” after his death in 1968.

As Max Brod earlier, also Esther Hoffe did not honour the request of the deceased and shared the manuscripts between her two daugthers.

The claim was brought by the state of Israel, stating that the papers should be handed over according to the last will of Max Brod. The case, inter alia, covers the issue of physical access to the copyrighted material.


(video taken during the summer school “Introduction to Art Law in the Baltic and Nordic countries”, held in Riga Graduate School of Law, 11-15 July 2016)