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Steinbeck heirs awarded publishing rights

NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) -- A New York judge has awarded publishing rights to many of John Steinbeck's books to the writer's son and a granddaughter.

Judge Richard awarded the rights to numerous Steinbeck classics to Owen Thomas Steinbeck and Blake Smyle, ruling that copyright law allows heirs to renegotiate any rights to works if their value has increased since the original deal was created, PublishersWeekly.com reported.

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The 10 works awarded to the heirs include classics such as "Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath." An appeal from longtime Steinbeck publisher Penguin was expected.

Penguin's Maureen Donnelly issued a statement calling the decision "the first round" in what will be a long and complicated process.

"Some of Steinbeck's classics published by Penguin are affected by this decision," said Donnelly. "The purported terminations will not take effect for most of them for many years in the future."

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