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Is Spotify Killing Music?

August 7, 2014Article
TakePart

Many experts thought that this decision stripped copyright law of one of its most basic principles—an author’s or a musician’s copyright benefits should pass to the biological family. In 2009, Ted Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general who in 2012 successfully argued a same-sex marriage case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, before the U.S. Supreme Court, agreed to take the Steinbeck case. But his plea to the high court was denied.

Though the Steinbeck case has since been cited in other court decisions, there remains “some debate within copyright circles about whether it was correctly decided,” said Aaron J. Moss, an attorney with the entertainment law firm Greenberg Glusker who specializes in copyright law.

Gail says she crunched the numbers in royalty statements acquired over the course of the long court battle and found that since Elaine’s death, Thom and his family have lost about $50 million in book royalties and fees from In Dubious Battle,Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and most of Steinbeck’s other iconic works. (Penguin declined to comment.) The couple has spent about $3 million on lawyers fighting for the Steinbeck biological family, with little to show for it.

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