21st jan, 2011

Who owns the story of my life?

I can´t claim to lead a life worthy of a bestselling novel. However others apparently do. In these days a bizarre story unfolds in a Danish Courtroom.  In the case one artist – Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech – claim that his life has been portrayed in the book “Suveræn” by author Claus Beck-Nielsen.  The two combatants made a journey across the US together in 2004. In his book Beck-Nielsen portrays two characters (Rasmussen and Nielsen) making the same journey. In Politiken the case is portrayed as “How much can we borrow (without consent) from real life when writing fiction?”. The point is that Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech feels that the novel exposes his personal life and even has used his texts in the novel. 

The case is being prosecuted (as far as I know) as a copyright case, but the question is whether it in fact is about copyright. The question is how much you can blend reality and fiction. The author did make the journey with Rasmussen and can be said to be relating his own experiences. The twist is that he adds some fiction thus distorting reality. In my point of view it is more of a disclosure of personal information and defamation case.  In any case it is a colorful case. Danish newspaper Information has more on the case here.

A funny thing happened. After I uploaded this story I heard a Danish radioprogramme about the case. You can hear it and read more here. The programme includes interviews with the “victim” who has all kinds of very abstract ideas about why it is bad to write about him. One idea includes the idea that the book defines him and captures his personality…very strange indeed. However one interesting point made is the point about moving from a litterary and artistic venue into the legal venue and how the discussion translates.

Leave a response

Your response: