If best-selling action thriller author Tom Clancy had written a book about a copyright battle over novels and characters he created, including his most well-known creation Jack Ryan, the cover blurb could have read: “Although Clancy witnessed Jack Ryan leaping from the pages of his books to the big screen, Clancy probably never imagined a non-fictional chapter featuring Jack Ryan in a bitter familial dispute with respect to Clancy’s estate.”

That’s exactly how the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland describes current copyright litigation involving Clancy’s widow Alexandra and his former wife Wanda King. Clancy v. Jack Ryan Enterprises Ltd. (JREL), 17-3371. The case is complex, but involves fundamental issues of copyright ownership.