French court OKs "Les Miserables" sequels

PARIS (AP) -- A French appeals court has ruled that two modern-day sequels to Victor Hugo's classic "Les Miserables" do not constitute a threat to the integrity of the novel or the moral rights of its 19th century author.

Hugo's heirs had filed a suit in 2001 demanding euro685,000 ($955,000) in damages from author Francois Ceresa, who wrote the novels using the characters and style of "Les Miserables." They also sought to ban the two books -- "Cosette or The Time of Illusions" and "Marius or The Fugitive."

The family had since reduced its claim to a symbolic one euro in damages and dropped the idea of outlawing the books.

The court said Friday that Hugo's novel was in the public domain, and Ceresa was therefore free to invent a sequel.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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