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William Faulkner Estate Sues Woody Allen

Owen Wilson quoted a famous Faulkner poem in Allen's film 'Midnight in Paris'

By: Sarah Bauder
Published: November 1st, 2012 in Culture » Film » News
Midnight in Paris

The estate of Nobel Prize laureate, William Faulkner, is suing Woody Allen and Sony Pictures Classics for copyright infringement in 2011’s Midnight in Paris. According to the suit filed, Allen is guilty of unauthorized use of a line from Faulkner’s 1950 book, Requiem for a Nun.

In Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson’s character utters the line: "The past is not dead. Actually, it's not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party."

The Faulkner line, as it thus appears in Requiem for a Nun is: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Based upon that, it is debatable whether the Faulkner estate has grounds for a suit at all.

“This is a frivolous lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail in defending it. There is no question this brief reference (10 words) to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit,” Sony Pictures said in a statement on Friday.

Midnight in Paris, won Allen an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and is his highest grossing film to date.

Related articles: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris, Nobel Prize, William Faulkner, Sony
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