- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A group that preserves and promotes the work of a deaf, self-taught Idaho artist whose creations appear in museums around the world agreed Wednesday to dismiss its copyright infringement lawsuit against an Oregon children’s book author.

In documents filed in U.S. District Court, the Boise, Idaho-based James Castle Collection and Archive agreed to dismiss the lawsuit against publisher Scholastic Inc. and author Allen Say.

Scholastic and the Castle Collection believe Castle’s legacy as expressed in his work, his remarkable personal story, and Say’s book, will serve as a source of inspiration for young artists and readers everywhere,” the two sides said in a joint statement announcing the agreement.

About 28 of the 150 illustrations in “Silent Days, Silent Dreams,” described in its opening pages as a work of fiction about Castle, are Say’s copies of the artist’s work.

The lawsuit filed in October sought $150,000 for each allegation of copyright infringement and also aimed to block sales of the book.

However, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled then that Say’s book was not likely to infringe on James Castle’s work because it falls within fair legal use for purposes such as teaching or scholarship, allowing the book to be offered for sale.

“Say created a version of Castle as a self-taught artist who was isolated by his disabilities and driven by his artistic passion, ultimately finding salvation in his art from a harsh world,” the judge wrote.

Scholastic and Say asked in December that the lawsuit be dismissed and with Wednesday’s court filings have agreed to settle the dispute with each side paying their own court costs.

Castle, born two months premature in 1899 in Idaho, was deaf from birth. At 10, he lived for five years at the Gooding School for the Deaf and Blind but was never able to speak or write. He returned home, where he created thousands of artworks using various materials, including soot and his own spit. He died in 1977.

The 80-year-old Say, who lives in Portland, Oregon, won the Caldecott Medal in 1994 for what judges said was the best American picture book for children.

A request for an interview from The Associated Press sent through a bookstore where Say does readings didn’t get a response on Wednesday.

In an author’s note in his book, he wrote that his first encounter with Castle’s work gave him the same feeling as initial viewings of work by Vincent van Gogh, the famed Dutch painter.

Say’s book on Castle is written from the perspective of a fictional nephew of Castle. In the author’s note, Say said he used soot and spit and other at-hand materials available to Castle to “emulate his unschooled style.”

The fictional biography includes Castle being bullied by classmates for being deaf and mute.

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