After the Estate of James Joyce refused to allow a scholar to quote Joyce in her book, we successfully defended her right under the fair use doctrine to use the quotes she needed to illustrate her scholarship. After we prevailed in the case, the Estate paid $240,000 of our client’s legal fees.
In Shloss v. Estate of Joyce, the Fair Use Project scored a comprehensive victory for fair use against an estate that had doggedly refused to allow scholars to quote from the works of James Joyce. The lawsuit represented the culmination of more than ten years of threats and intimidation by Stephen James Joyce, who purported to prohibit our client, Professor Carol Shloss, from quoting from anything that James or Lucia Joyce ever wrote for any purpose. As a result of these threats, significant portions of source material were deleted from Shloss's book, Lucia Joyce: To Dance In The Wake. We sued the Estate of Joyce asking the district court to declare that Shloss’s quotations fall within the fair use doctrine. Roughly a year into the lawsuit, the Estate agreed to settle the case on terms that permit the publication of the material that was deleted. Shloss then demanded the Estate pay attorneys' fees to compensate her counsel for the many hours they put in vindicating her rights in the face of the Estate's assertions of infringement. Ultimately, the Estate was required to pay $240,000 of Shloss’s legal fees.