Is Faulkner quote a misdemeanour?
We’ve covered much news concerning pernickety US litigation in the past, but this snippet takes the biscuit. It seems that the estate of William Faulkner is suing Sony Pictures over the use of one (acknowledged) quote by the author in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
At one stage, Owen Wilson’s character quips: “The past is not dead! Actually, its 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.”
Faulkner Literary Rights LLC argues that Sony did not seek permission to use the mildly misquoted line from the great man’s Requiem for a Nun. The suit says: “The use of the infringing quote and of William Faulkners name in the infringing film is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and/or to deceive the infringing films viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand.” What on earth does this mean? David Olson, an expert on copyright, seemed to confirm that the Faulkner people were getting ahead of themselves. “Commercial use isnt presumptively unfair,” he said, before going on to point out that nobody watches Midnight in Paris as a substitute for buying Requiem for a Nun.