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Judge Allows Sale of “Schindler’s List” to Proceed
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The 1993 film Schindler’s List told the real life story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved the lives of some 1,100 Jews during World War 2.  The film’s title is based on a list of names drawn up by Schindler that were employed in his factory.  In March of this year, an anonymous seller put one of three known original copies of the list up for sale for $2.2 million.  Originaly thought to be the only copy of the list in private hands, the sale was blocked when the owner of another copy brought a copyright infringement suit.

There are three known copies of the list.  One copy was found in Schindler’s attic in 1999 and is currently housed at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum.  The list being offered for sale is owned by Nathan Stern, the nephew of Itzhak Stern.  Itzhak Stern, played by Ben Kingsley in the movie, was Oskar Schindler’s accountant.  The third list is owned by Erika Rosenberg, an author.  Rosenberg met Emilie Schindler, Oskar’s widow, in 1990 and wrote a biography of the couple.  Through the many interviews, the two women became close friends and upon her death, Mrs. Schindlers left Rosenberg a copy of the list.  Rosenberg sued to block the sale of Stern’s copy on the grounds that she held the copyright.

A temporary restraining order was issued while the case made its way through the New York court system.  That restraining order has now been vacated and the sale of the list has been allowed to proceed.  Justice Louis York of the New York Supreme Court rejected the argument that the sale of the list violated any copyright that Rosenberg might hold because it is being sold as a piece of memorabilia and not for publication.




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