As many people are aware, Peter Beagle, beloved author of “The Last Unicorn”, “A Fine And Private Place”, and “Summerlong”, is suing his former manager and business partner, Connor Cochran. Now Cochran is publicly claiming co-authorship of most, if not all, of Peter’s titles, from the point at which Peter and Cochran first worked together.
Here is Peter’s statement, in his own words, slapping down Cochran’s claims. As usual, Peter says it better than anyone else could. Please read and share.
I am 78 years old. I have been publishing professionally for almost sixty years. Telling stories, in one way or another, one medium or another, is what I do, and all I ever wanted to do. From the beginning, starting with my first book, A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, I have worked with various publishers and editors, most of them helpful, and a few truly excellent. Connor Cochran, at his best, was for many years one of this latter group. I have said this many times in public, particularly commending his sense of structure; he even suggested titles for several of my stories. I have been grateful over our long acquaintance for such things.
But he did not write my stories, as he is now claiming publicly. They are my work, and no one else’s – as are all my other books, all the way back to that first one, published in 1960, when I was twenty-one. They are my legacy.
To quote a remembered line from the classic movie All About Eve, “It is about time that the piano realized that it has not written the symphony.”
And to quote partially from the words of my lawyer, Kathleen Hunt, addressed to Connor Cochran’s former lawyer, Richard Mooney:
“Your claims are plainly false and inconsistent with the letter and application of U.S. copyright law. The statements may also constitute libel or other injurious action towards Beagle…. You surely knew that there is no evidence of a joint authorship relationship between Cochran and Beagle, that there was no objective manifestation to create a work of joint authorship, that the parties’ conduct at the time the works were created suggests a clear intent not to create a work of joint authorship, and that the statute of limitations had long expired. Under these circumstances, there can be little doubt that the sole purpose of your Correspondence was to fraudulently obtain authorship credit in the 27 Works in order to acquire leverage over my client in pending litigation.”
For fifteen years, over the counsel of true and knowledgeable friends, I trusted Connor Cochran implicitly with all that I believed to be of any real value: my work, and the future of my legacy. I was certain beyond any question that he was a man of honor and creativity. I will forever regret that I was wrong.
Peter S. Beagle