On September 7, Judge Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York released his opinion in the KinderGuides case, filed by Penguin Random House and others. The defendants, Fredrik Coltin and Melissa Medina, published unauthorized children’s versions of well-known literary works, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s and On the Road. The so-called KinderGuides were abridged, illustrated and contained a few pages of analysis and questions for the young readers. While the defendants argued that the works did not copy any protectable elements – only “fictional facts” – and that the use was protected by fair use, the court held that the children’s books were derivative works and the fact that the copyright holders had refused to produce such derivative works before did not mean others could do so under the fair use doctrine. Consequently, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on all nine counts.
Following Judge Rakoff’s opinion in the case, several organizations released statements: