Mockingbird Suit Settled
ACCLAIMED novelist Harper Lee has settled a suit filed in a Manhattan federal court aimed at protecting the copyright to her Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
In the film version of the novel, Gregory Peck stars as Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer in the American South who defends a black man accused of rape. The 1962 film To Kill A Mockingbird won three Oscars.
Lee had been represented by her agent Eugene Winick since 1960. When Winick fell ill a decade ago, his son-in law Samuel Pinkus took over administering to his clients. The suit charged that Pinkus took advantage of Lee’s failing eyesight and hearing and assigned the Mockingbird copyright to himself and a firm he operated.
A federal judge in New York City approved the settlement and dismissed the suit against Pinkus and his companies. Gloria Phares, Lee’s lawyer, said the case had ended to Lee’s satisfaction. The defense had insisted that Lee’s royalties were never in danger.
Last year, President Obama introduced the digitally remastered and restored film at a 50th anniversary screening of To Kill A Mockingbird at the White House. At that time Lee praised the film as the best translation of a book to film ever made, adding Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch “lives on in a world that needs him more than ever.”