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Ian McEwan's redemption

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The 1710 Statute of Anne was a major milestone in the protection of an author’s copyright in Britain. Copyright protection, which has recently become a heated issue due to rampant infringement in countries such as China, has seen a smaller storm brewing in Britain. At issue is whether Ian McEwan unfairly or unlawfully borrowed details from Lucilla Andrews’s book No Time for Romance, about a nurse during World War II, for use in his novel Atonement.

Writing today in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal, Eugene Volokh, law professor at UCLA, and well-known blogger, concludes,

Mr. McEwan borrowed facts, and those words that accurately described the facts. He is not guilty of copyright infringement, or of taking another’s original expression without specific notation. And while he did rely on Andrews’s autobiography, his acknowledgments page noted being “indebted” to Andrews and her book.

We are happy to hear this. Our latest file features Ian McEwan.

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