In June 2009, J.D. Salinger has went to court once again, this time attempting to prevent the publication of an unauthorized sequel (60 Years Later - Coming Through the Rye by John David California) to The Catcher in the Rye; but the case soon took on far-reaching implications concerning the First Amendment and the ownership of art and captivated many because it involved the character of Holden Caulfield. At the center of Salinger's argument was his claim that he owned Holden Caulfield and that Holden - as a character of fiction as well as a portrayable concept - was inalienable from his legal copyright of The Catcher in the Rye. Any redepiction of Holden's character would indeed be a redefinition - not only of a literary character but perhaps too of a familiar connection with our own adolescence. For many then, the greatest fear was not that Holden Caulfield would be stolen from J.D. Salinger, but that Holden would be stolen from us.
So, who owns Holden Caulfield?
The Appeals decision delivered in April, 2010, handed the case back to District Court for reconsideration, therefore avoiding many of the questions posed.
The case, once seemingly destined for the Supreme Court, came to a quiet end on December 14, 2010 when Fredrik Colting and the Salinger estate arrived at a "confidential settlement agrreement". As a result, the author and backers of 60 Years Later agreed to a permanent injunction of their book in the United States, while at the same time forfeiting any recourse of appeal.