The Business Litigation Blog

“To Kill a Mocking Bird” Author Harper Lee Sues Literary Agent

A lawsuit was filed last Friday against Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Eugene Winick, long time agent to Harper Lee, author of the class novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird". Pinkus moved several of Winick’s clients, including Lee, to his own company when his father-in-law became sick in 2002.

According to the lawsuit, in 2007 Pinkus devised a plan intended to trick Lee into relinquishing copyright of the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” without receiving any form of payment. Lee, now 87, suffers from declining hearing and eyesight and denies any memory or knowledge of an agreement.

The lawsuit stated that Pinkus secured the transaction in order to obtain an “irrevocable” interest on the book as well as to avoid payment of misappropriated royalties owed to Winick’s company.

In addition to claims of being misled into relinquishing control of the copyright, Lee accuses Pinkus of being unresponsive to publisher HarperCollins regarding the licensing of e-book rights as well as assistance with the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication.

Lee is asking for copyrights to be reassigned to her and for any commissions Pinkus received since 2007 (when Pinkus supposedly made the agreement with Lee) to be paid.

The Patterson Law Firm is experienced in handling issues related to intellectual property rights. If you would like to learn more about intellectual property or one of the many other areas in which we practice, please visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call us at 312.223.1699 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

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