Faulkner estate full of fury over copyrights, sues Midnight in Paris
Be careful if you write your next paper on The Sound and the Fury or A Light in August, kids: the William Faulkner estate might sue you. Sony Pictures Classics has found themselves under some heavy legal pressure from Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC -- the protectorate and executor of all things Faulkner -- and the unauthorized use of a Faulkner quote in Woody Allen's (and Sony's) Midnight in Paris, claiming copyright infringement.
The line in question -- spoken by actor Owen Wilson in the movie -- is from one of Faulkner's lesser-known novels, A Requiem for a Nun, and touches upon the themes of past, present, and time, all of which occur throughout Midnight in Paris. "The past is not dead! Actually, it's not even past," says Wilson's character, "You know who said that? Faulkner."
In actuality, the line is misquoted in the script; directly, it reads, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Perhaps this casual slight in particular fuels the Faulkner estate's suit, which proclaims, "The use of the infringing quote and of William Faulkner's name in the infringing film is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and/or to deceive the infringing film's viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection, or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand."
In lieu of infringement, Faulkner's estate demands money to cover attorney fees and "digorgement of profits". Sony has declined to issue a statement at present.
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