Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kenneth Schneyer's "Life of the Author Plus Seventy" (short story, humor): Legal implications of human hibernation

Three major themes here, often told in a hilarious way:
  1. Customer service dysfunction.
  2. A parody of US copyright law, particularly w.r.t. Disney case.
  3. Legal implications of human hibernation.

Story summary.

A not very successful author has a novel published but it's not selling much. He bugs local library enough to make them buy a copy, but no one is borrowing it. So he himself borrows it, but forgets to return it.

He'll later get a job with a company in a creative role, & is made to sign a curiously twisted copyright clause in the employment contract that gives the company the copyright over his creations for hundreds of years rather than "just" 120 years: when he's about to die, the company will have a right to hibernate him for up to 500 years, so copyright rule of author's life + 70 years applies!

A decade after borrowing the book, library has handed over the overdue & fines collection to a debt collection agency, & he receives his first overdue & fines bill - a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Hilarity ensues as he gets into negotiations with the debt collector, & later tries evading it...

Fact sheet.

First publishedAnalog, September 2013.
Rating: A.
Added to my "best of 2013" list.