By Kent Larsen
Lawsuit Over 'Children of the Promise' Dismissed
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The memoir of an LDS soldier who survived a
Japanese POW camp during World War II is historical fact, and can't
be copyrighted, ruled US District Judge Dale A. Kimball last week.
Kimball's ruling threw out the lawsuit filed by the former soldier,
Gene Jacobsen, against LDS author Dean Hughes and his publisher, LDS
Church-owned Deseret Book.
Hughes used Jacobsen's story as the basis for one of the characters
in his "Children of the Promise" series, Wally Thomas, but, according
to Judge Kimball, the account in Hughes' novels "expanded over time
and geography" more than Jacobsen's story. "It is clear to this court
that Wally Thomas is not Gene Jacobsen."
Jacobsen filed his copyright claim a year ago, after Deseret Book had
published the third novel in the series. But Judge Kimball pointed
out that it took Jacobsen three years to raise any objection to the
inclusion of his story in the novels. "Had Jacobsen voiced his
disapproval in 1996, Hughes would have had the opportunity to take
the offending material out of the books," he wrote in his decision.
In fact, Hughes claimed that he sent a copy of an early draft of his
first novel to Jacobsen, suggesting that he let him know if the
treatment in the novel bothered him, and got a note back saying that
Jacobsen, "looked forward to the finished product."
Jacobsen's attorney, Brent O. Hatch said his client intends to appeal
because the Judge dismissed the case on a "technical" legal point.
"One of the things that's troubling is that the judge completely
ignored all of the evidence that Mr. Hughes had copied from Dr.
Jacobsen's work," Hatch said.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against publisher, author
Deseret News 16Jan01 A2
By Maria Titze: Deseret News staff writer