Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Faubourg Fairy Tale--The Thirteenth

I panicked. Had anything happened last night? I tried to go back through my memory to detect anything stupid or untoward, but I had only had a beer or two and didn't remember anything of the sort happening. And she was moving around the apartment going thru what appeared to be her normal morning routine, so I decided to take that as a good sign. I looked at the clock. Not much time to get to work. Quick shower, probably no time for me to eat. Maybe a granola bar in the car.

So would it be weird if we go to work together?” I asked.

Nah, just tell them you picked me up on the way.” This seemed like it might be a regular occurrence for her. I felt a little sick to my stomach.

I wished good morning, briefly, to the receptionist and Ms. Devereaux and Mr. Robbins. Two of the three of them seemed glad to see me. I arrived in my office to find paperwork and a new stack of cases on my desk. I worked straight through the morning on a prenup and a name change. Since I was a summer associate, they were really good about giving me the whole hour for lunch, and I decided to run downstairs to a sandwich shop and pick up a po'boy to eat at my desk while I researched copyright law. And this was the result:

Some form of copyright has been recognized (in Britain) since 1694, and in France since 1777, but originally only written works were protected. In the US, the first Copyright Act was passed in 1790. But Louisiana was not acquired until 1803, I thought. The Berne Convention, an international copyright treaty, was established in 1886 and revised in 1896, 1908, 1928, 1948, 1967, and 1971. So I need to know where Mara's works were painted, and when. The term of protection is generally the life of the author plus 50 or 70 years. Great, I thought. Now we get into that pesky life/unlife distinction. I hate trying to explain that one. And this time my “client” is a vampire. She will not be pleased.

I scanned through the rest of the nutshell, and it appeared that none of the exceptions would apply, but I would need to interview Mara in more detail, which would mean another meeting. I'd probably have to contact her through Dani. It seemed to me that the only sticking point was whether or not Mara was alive. Clearly she was walking around like the rest of us, behaving more or less like a live person, and... if no death certificate had ever been issued, we might have a case! Although proving her birth date might be a bit tricky.

I wondered: do you issue a cease-and-desist letter before you know you have a case? Maybe Mara wants to pursue legal remedies to avoid starting a clan war. That would be prudent. But I didn't know exactly how vampire society worked or where Mara ranked in it. It did seem as if an interview would be the best option. I supposed it would have to wait till the next weekend, since I could not afford to do late nights during the week.