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Copyright History: The Strange Case Of A Book Authored By Mark Twain Via A Ouija Board | Techdirt

Mark Twain can be the subject of fascinating discussion for any number of reasons, but around these parts we talk intellectual property. Some years back, Mike wrote about Twain’s support for copyright extensions, including when he even went so far as to advocate for infinite copyright. Well, it turns out that Twain’s concept of infinite copyright might have been particularly germane to his legacy, as EFF’s Parker Higgins takes us on a delightful stroll, over at Fusion, through the historical copyright case concerning the novel Twain might or might not have writtenfrom beyond the grave.

The year 1917 was apparently a time in some ways even stranger than our own, in which the public was wrapped up in its interest in the occult. It was during that time that an author by the name of Emily Grant Hutchings attempted to publish the latest work of Twain’s, entitled Jap Herron. Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens, had died in 1910, seven years earlier. So, how did Hutchings get Twain to write this book even as his body decomposed below ground? Why, through a Ouija board, of course!

 

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