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Kickstarter isn't some fly-by-night website that nobody's heard of. Just the opposite, Kickstarter has successfully funded several high profile projects (Ouya's $99 Android console, for example) and breathed new life into certain franchises (hello, Leisure Suit Larry, nice to make your true acquaintance again!), and you better believe copyright holders are paying attention. That includes HarperCollins, which pressured Kickstarter to pull an unauthorized sequel to Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are."
U.K. illustrators Geoffrey O. Todd and Rich Berner set out to raise £25,000 (around $37,000) to fund "Back to the Wild," an illustrated poem that would reveal what happened next to Max and the creatures he encountered on his journey. They chose now to pursue the project because it's been 50 years since the original was published, and a year since Mr. Sendak passed away.
"We have also been very careful not to impinge on Mr. Sendak's copyright and have taken the necessary legal advice around this whole project," the illustrators stated in their campaign.
We're not sure what legal advice they're referring to, but it didn't fly with HarperCollins, which objected to the unauthorized sequel.
"The infringing material is a proposal to create a 'sequel' to Where the Wild Things Are, entitled 'Back to the Wild,' using the characters, scenes and copyrightable elements of the original work. Any such unauthorized 'sequel' would clearly violate the Estate's right to create derivative works," HarperCollins stated in an online form sent to Kickstarter.
Kickstarter sided with HarperCollins, or at least erred on the side of caution, and removed the listing. While fans of the original may be bummed about this, it's the way Sendak, who was "not a whore," would have wanted it. Credit to The Hollywood Reporter for bringing this interview to attention: