Harper Lee Sues Literary Agent Samuel Pinkus Over To Kill A Mockingbird Rights
The author of the classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, has filed a lawsuit against her former literary agent, Samuel Pinkus, accusing him of tricking her into signing away the copyright to her book.
According to the lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan court on Friday, Pinkus is the son-in-law of Lee's long-time agent, Eugene Winick, who represented her for more than 40 years. When Winick became ill in 2002, Pinkus allegedly took over his business and transferred the rights to To Kill A Mockingbird to his own company without Lee's consent.
The lawsuit claims that Pinkus took advantage of Lee's age and failing health to dupe her into signing a document that assigned the royalties from her book to him. Lee, who is now 87 and lives in a nursing home in Alabama, says she has no memory of agreeing to such a deal.
To Kill A Mockingbird, published in 1960, is one of the most beloved and acclaimed novels in American literature. It won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck. The book, which deals with racial injustice and childhood innocence in the South, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and is still widely taught in schools.
The lawsuit seeks to restore Lee's ownership of the rights to her book and to recover any damages from Pinkus. It also accuses him of failing to properly account for and pay royalties to Lee, and of neglecting to promote and market her book.
Pinkus has not yet commented on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was settled in September 2013, when Lee and Pinkus reached an agreement to dismiss the case. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Lee's attorney said that she was \\\"happy\\\" with the outcome and that she had regained the rights to her book[^1^].
Lee's lawsuit was one of several legal battles she faced in her later years. In 2014, she sued a museum in her hometown of Monroeville for using her name and the title of her book without permission. She also sued a journalist who had published an unauthorized biography of her, claiming that he had lifted passages from her letters. Both cases were settled out of court.
Lee died in February 2016 at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy of one of the most influential novels in American history. A year before her death, she had surprised the literary world by publishing a second novel, Go Set a Watchman, which was written before To Kill A Mockingbird but featured some of the same characters. The book received mixed reviews and sparked controversy over whether Lee had consented to its publication. aa16f39245