The fourth item in the little bundle of photocopied articles on IP history which this Kat researched and wrote back in the 1980s, when he was still a full-time academic, addresses a curious episode in early twentieth-century copyright history -- the attempt of British novelist Elinor Glyn to enforce copyright in a short novel, Three Weeks, against the makers of a film, unauthorised by her, which savagely caricatured it.
The background to this litigation is as fascinating as the case itself: the trial was conducted in the middle of the First World War, at a time when the old order and Victorian social mores were beginning to disintegrate but sexual emancipation had not yet found a firm footing.
There is no doubt, as this article explains, that Elinor Glyn was capable of shocking and scandalising contemporary British society. This is reflected in a rhyme which, occasionally cited even today, is more often read than any of her novels:
Would you like to sinBut would the author's notoriety, and the theme of Three Weeks itself, bar Glyn from enforcing her copyright on grounds of public policy?
with Elinor Glyn on a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
to err with her
on some other fur?
This article was published as "Elinor Glyn and the 'Three Weeks' Litigation"  12 European Intellectual Property Review 336-340. You can read it in full here.