It all started in 2009 when the writer Pablo Katchadjian published his short story The fattened aleph. What is an experiment: The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges, but with 5600 words more than the original. For this literary experiment -explained by the author-, María Kodama brought him to trial. And he lost.

In 2015, they dictated lack of merit to Katchadjian and later they re-processed (and deprocessed) it. Now, Civil Court Number 1 resolved how much the heir of Jorge Luis Borges has to pay for that trial: 688,000 pesos plus 200,000 in execution expenses.

Fragments of the resolution against María Kodama for the trial that she initiated against Pablo Katchadjian.

In their networks Ricardo Strafacce, Katchadjian’s lawyer, posted the record establishing this amount. And explained to Clarion that it is about “paying the costs. My fees, those of your lawyer and the court fee.” That is the 688,000 and to that is added the 200,000 of the execution.

The sentence also establishes: “There is an executive embargo on the copyright of the work of Jorge Luis Borges and that could correspond to the executed María Kodama.

“We are happy,” acknowledges the lawyer, in dialogue with Clarion-. It was a very long process, which took ten years. Kodama at the time charged my client with fraud of the copyright on the story The Aleph by Borges, following the publication of the book The fattened Aleph. Katchadjian was prosecuted but the National Chamber of Criminal Appeals reversed the prosecution and issued the dismissal. María Kodama’s lawyer went to the Cassation Chamber, where the appeal was declared void: the dismissal of Katchadjian, then, was final, and now the execution of the costs of the process has been ordered. Namely, the costs of the lawyers and the Justice fee “, reconstructs Strafacce in dialogue with this newspaper.

Katchadjian always explained that the story, published in just 200 copies, it was a literary experiment. There were also no economic motivations: Katchadjian did not get rich from what was published, by virtue of the aforementioned circulation. But the accusation Kodama aimed at was cheating and adulteration.

In the middle there was controversy over the case and writers of the stature of Ricardo Piglia and César Aira even signed a manifesto in defense of Katchadjian, who is also a university professor.

In the middle there was controversy over the case and writers of the stature of Ricardo Piglia and César Aira even signed a manifesto in defense of Katchadjian, who is also a university professor.

Now, the rights to Borges’s work have a request for seizure. The publishers Random House and Planeta are notified of the court decision.

The professional also judges that “the most important thing is that from now on it will not be free to prosecute writers when they propose a literary game, as in this case.”

What is the limit of this type of narrative procedures? Strafface explains: “From the literary point of view, the difference is clear that it passes through the intention of deception: if the author wants to profit from a work that pretends to pass as the original, he deserves condemnation, but in this case it is something totally different: he explained from the first moment that it was an exercise in literature. This ruling allows greater freedom for authors when making interventions of this kind. At this point, María Kodama has no more to pay the coasts “, it defines.

The defense argument was categorical: Pablo Katchadjian did not defraud the intellectual property rights recognized by current legislation for María Kodama -widow of Jorge Luis Borges- in relation to the literary work The Aleph.

Meanwhile, consulted by Clarin, Fernando Soto, Kodama’s attorney, explained that the rights to Borges’s work “are not seized”, that Kodama was never intimidated to pay, that it will pay (“Because it is not insolvent to be seized”) and that they are now evaluating initiating a lawsuit for damages against Katchadjian for an amount greater than the cost of this lawsuit.

Soto added: “The national chamber said that there is no crime, because for there to be a criminal offense to the Intellectual Property Law there must also be a criminal fraud. Something that is not the criterion of jurisprudence, they have practically repealed the law criminal of the intellectual property law and with that they said ‘it is true, the work of Borges was used without authorization, it was altered, he went to an expert opinion and it was verified, but there is no crime.’ ‘Then the lawyer asked for the fees, because his defendant was dismissed. I asked, and did not activate, the regulation of fees for the incidence that I won, when he was dismissed and then processed in the federal chamber. But I did not activate it, now, probably, I am going to activate it, and I am also going to activate with Mrs. Kodama to initiate a lawsuit for damages for having used Borges’s work without authorization and for having altered it. At the time, we had initiated a mediation for $ 1 (one peso), it was something symbolic, and he not what iso conciliar. Well, now we are going to put an amount according to the damage it has caused. “