Oct 29, 2012

By Michael Kramer

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William Faulkner wrote that ” the past is never dead.”

Now his heirs say their copyright to that phrase is very much alive.

The author’s literary estate is suing Sony Pictures Classics for using a paraphrase of that line in Woody Allen’s 2011 film, “Midnight in Paris.”

The suit argues Owen Wilson’s character slightly misquoted a line from Faulkner’s “Requiem for a Nun” saying “The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past.”

 Allen won the Academy Award for original screenplay last year for “Midnight In Paris.”

Sony says in a statement in part: “This is a frivolous lawsuit. There is no question this brief reference  to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit.”

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