US media giants press court to allow J.D. Salinger spin-off


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 7, 2009 at 7:11 PM EDT

The New York Times and other leading US media outlets joined forces Friday in urging a court to overturn a US ban on an unauthorized sequel to J.D. Salinger's classic novel "Catcher in the Rye."

The New York Times Company, the Associated Press, the Gannett Company and the Tribune Company, filed an amicus brief challenging the decision by a federal judge in July to prevent publication in the United States of the book.

The companies cite protection of free speech in the US constitution and common sense in urging the appeals court for the Second Circuit to overturn the order.

On July 1, Judge Deborah Batts ruled in New York that Swedish author Fredrik Colting's book "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye" borrowed too heavily from the earlier work by the reclusive Salinger.

The media companies argue in their brief that "the only harm appears to be to the pride of a reclusive author in not having his desires fulfilled barring commentary about his iconic book and character, without any actual financial harm."

"Such a result defies common sense, and is not -- and cannot be -- the law."

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