Harper Lee Files Mockingbird Copyright Suit

TO Kill A Mockingbird novelist Harper Lee has filed suit in a Manhattan federal court against her former literary agent’s son-in-law Samuel Pinkus to regain the copyright to the novel which won her a Pulitzer Prize. 

The suit charges Pinkus and companies he allegedly started with failing to protect the copyright of the novel whose 1962 movie adaptation ended in multiple Academy Award nominations and won three Oscars. Among them, Gregory Peck picked up Best Actor for what has now become a  legendary role as Atticus Finch.

Lee had been represented by Pincus’s father-in-law Eugene Winick since the book’s publication in 1960. Winick fell ill a decade ago. The  award-winning novelist is charging that Pinkus took advantage of her failing eyesight and hearing and assigned the copyright to himself and a firm he operated.  The author, who lives in rural Mississippi, is seeking return of the copyright and unspecified damages, Deadline reports. 

The role of the small town lawyer in the South who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman has been acclaimed by the American Film Institute as the greatest super hero role of all time. Last year President Obama introduced the digitally remastered and restored film before a 50th anniversary screening at the White House.  Lee, at that time, told Deadline she believed the iconic film about racial intolerance "was the best translation of a book to film ever made," adding, "I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on--in a world that needs him more than ever."