Feeds

Wooster sues Jeeves

What, ho!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The estate of author PG Wodehouse, creator of the character Jeeves the gentleman whose lesser-known gentleman employer was Bertie Wooster, is unhappy the use of the Jeeves' name by Ask Jeeves, an apparently unrelated American imposter who has become frightfully rich. London-based AP Watt, the oldest-established literary agency in the world which also looks after the literary estates of Robert Graves and Somerset Maugham, has "begun legal proceedings against the American company for breach of copyright", according to the Sunday Telegraph. However, that's not what a spokeswoman tells The Register: the parties are just engaged in "amicable discussions" and are confident of a mutually agreeable outcome, she said. This is just as well, as the legal ice looks decidedly thin. Wodehouse died in 1975, so his work has copyright protection until 2045, but there is no copyright in ideas or names. Trademarks would give some protection, but only an illustration could be trademarked, as there is no US or British trademark protection for the names of characters. Since the Wodehouse estate appears to have no registered trademarks, imposters like Jeeves the London drycleaner and Ask Jeeves the search engine and a host of other imitators can probably co-exist legally. The secretive Wodehouse trust is keeping tight-lipped, but the odds must be that it hopes to get a settlement lest Jeeves has to remove his gloves and seek satisfaction. The odds of a passing-off action for an unregistered trademark must be pretty minimal. However, Ask Jeeves needs to be aware that in 1919, in My Man Jeeves, Wodehouse wrote about "excellent browsing" so there may be some hitherto precedents that Ask Jeeves needs to consider. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.