Lawsuit ‘research’ evokes emotion from ruling federal judge

By Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal

OXFORD – The region’s top federal judge doesn’t think too much of a Woody Allen movie including a William Faulkner paraphrase.
Thursday, he also didn’t think too much of a Faulkner estate lawsuit claiming that movie wrongfully used words from the Nobel laureate’s book, Requiem for a Nun.
“The court has viewed Woody Allen’s movie, Midnight in Paris, read the book, Requiem for a Nun, and is thankful that the parties did not ask the court to compare The Sound and the Fury with Sharknado,” writes Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills as he dismisses the lawsuit.
At issue in the lawsuit was whether a single line from the Faulkner novel Requiem, “singly paraphrased” and attributed to the Oxford icon in the film, constituted copyright infringement.
“In this case, it cannot,” adjudged Mills, himself an author.
In 2012, Faulkner Literary Rights LLC sued Sony Pictures Classics Inc. and unnamed persons or entities over the issue.
Sony did not contest the facts, and Mills said he uses the fair-use factor in tossing the lawsuit.
“It is difficult to fathom that Sony somehow sought some substantial commercial benefit by infringing on copyrighted material for no more than eight seconds in a 90 minute film,” he adds.
• Read more in Friday’s Daily Journal.