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and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 20Jan01

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

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