Midnight In Paris Makers Sued By William Faulkner's Estate
Last year's surprise Woody Allen hit Midnight in Paris paid tribute to all kinds of great authors and artists from the 20th century, with many of them-- like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald-- making hilarious appearances in the flesh. William Faulkner, another contemporary of those times, didn't appear in person but was quoted by Owen Wilson's lead character Gil Pender, who says at one point "The past is not dead. Actually, it's not the past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party."
Maybe they're just mad that Faulkner didn't actually appear onscreen, as the Faulkner estate is now filing suit against Sony Pictures Classics, which distributed Midnight in Paris. According to Deadline the estate filed suit for "copyright infringement, commercial appropriation and violation of the Lanham Act, claiming that the quote-- which is really just a paraphrase-- could "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." They are asking for an injunction against Sony Classics, damages, legal fees, and a portion of the film's profits, which totaled $148.4 million worldwide.
It's hard to know what to say about this beyond "hey, the estates of literary icons can get in on the frivolous lawsuits too." Though Sony Classics is a specialty offshoot of the major studio, they're still perfectly well-equipped to lawyer up and take this lawsuit head-on. After all, they've got Ernest Hemingway in their camp, and he knows a thing or two about fights.
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