A kind of Cliff Notes for kids, KinderGuides feature illustrations, plot summaries and historical tidbits about famous works and their authors.

Andrew AlbaneseFrederik Colting and Melissa Medina, founders of publishing start-up Moppet Books, created KinderGuides as a kind of Cliff Notes for kids, with illustrations, plot summaries and historical tidbits about famous works and their authors. While most focused around public domain titles, several covered classics still under copyright, including Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Those efforts drew unwanted attention from publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster as well as the authors’ estates, who sued, alleging the works are “unauthorized derivatives.” This week, a federal judge in NY sided with the publishers, and issued a summary judgment that the works were infringing.

“In a highly unusual move, Judge Jed Rakoff issued his finding of infringement without an accompanying memorandum explaining why he did so. So, as of this moment, we don’t know precisely why,” reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

“The more troubling part of this case is that, according to Moppet co-founder Fredrik Colting, the books in question in the suit had not been available for sale for months,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“It seems the plaintiffs had sent takedown notices to Amazon and to the Moppet Books web host. And without a court order, or any finding of infringement, those takedowns effectively blocked publication. Now, I hope to learn more details here, but the mere filing of suit caused these books to be blocked for sale, could be a violation of the law and an abuse of the takedown process.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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