Some time after the publication of Passion, I received a letter from the lawyer of Leonard Peikoff, the heir to Rand’s estate. The lawyer stated that I was to turn over my tapes to Peikoff and relinquish my copyright, or he would sue me for ownership. The interviews, he said, rightfully were the possession of the Estate of Ayn Rand, and hence Peikoff’s property as the heir to that estate. This was utter nonsense; I refused, and hired a copyright lawyer. Over the next months, as briefs and discussions mounted in number, my bills also mounted, although my lawyer charged me less than his usual fee. When I had spent $25,000, I asked him what it would cost me during the next period before we presented our case to the court. “About $100,000,” he answered. This was impossible for me. I had no alternative but to agree to Peikoff’s demands.I really don't understand this answer. The American legal system seems to support Barbara's rights completely. Ayn Rand must have given hundreds of recorded interviews in her time. Does Peikoff lay claim to all of them? Or any of them? Or is it just Barbara's? As far as I can tell, Peikoff has no legal right to any. Considering what an unregenerate lowlife he is, he certainly has no moral right.
Isn't it universally understood that when someone gives an interview to someone else that this is an act of generosity or property-transfer in which a type of gift is given to the interviewer i.e. the rights to the answers, discussion, and general material? Can Peikoff somehow sue the estate of Johnny Carson to get the copies and rights to those three 1967 Tonight Show interviews? This seems bizarre to me.
It's also my understanding that when it comes to establishing rightful ownership, possession is 90% of the case. Those tapes were in the possession of Barbara for decades and thus are evidently not the property of Rand, Peikoff, Monty Python, or anyone else. (In addition, Barbara could have easily said she lost or destroyed the tapes. Would've served him right. I would've done it -- bet on it. ;-))
In the end, I don't understand how Barbara couldn't have won this case with no lawyer and no legal expense. It seems to be an open-and-shut case. On what basis -- other than personal malevolence and moral depravity -- does Peikoff even dare to file such a legal claim?