October 17, 2014

Hollywood Reporter quotes William Briggs on rights complaint over late author’s works

1 min

Venable partner William Briggs was quoted in an October 10, 2014 Hollywood Reporter article on the rights to the works of the late author John Steinbeck. The son and granddaughter of Steinbeck filed a complaint with the California Labor Commission against RWSG Literary Agency and agent Geoffrey Sanford alleging they do not meet state requirements necessary for them to sell or license Steinbeck's works.

Speaking on behalf of RWSG and Sanford, Briggs said “this is only the latest attempt to circumvent the real rights holders, who are the heirs of Elaine Scott, John Steinbeck's third wife.” Briggs acknowledged that the Steinbeck family has rights to a portion of the money generated through sales or licenses, but they do not have consultation rights which belong to the Scott family. Briggs also said the complaint misunderstands California law and that the Steinbeck family “[has] no say in how the properties are exploited.”