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Copyright Battle Over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has sued her agent over the loss of her copyright.

The agent named in the lawsuit is Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee’s former agent, Eugene Winick, who took over some of Winick’s clients when he fell ill.

Lee, 87, alleges that Pinkus “engaged in a scheme to dupe” the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, convincing her to sign over the copyright of her modern classic novel for no compensation. The lawsuit maintains that Lee, who was 80 years old at the time, doesn’t remember agreeing to give up her rights or signing the agreement that transferred them.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan and requests that the court give Lee any rights that Pinkus or his companies have in the book and that Pinkus turn over any commissions made on the work since the 2007 transfer.

Neither party has commented publicly on it since its filing.

Copyrights protect books, songs, photographs, and other original works of authorship. With a federal copyright registration, the owner can do the following:

  • control who may copy, use and distribute your work
  • enforce your copyright in federal court

What do you think of the Harper Lee lawsuit?

For information on protecting your work through copyright, trademark, or patent application, check out this comparison chart.

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May 22nd, 2013 at 9:40 am

Posted in Intellectual Property

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