Faulkner Estate Sues Over Midnight in Paris Quote
Incredibly common quote said with attribution
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 26, 2012 1:50 PM CDT
In this image released by Sony Pictures Classics, Owen Wilson, left, and Rachel McAdams are shown in a scene from "Midnight in Paris."   (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Classics, Roger Arpajou)

(Newser) – Maybe you've heard William Faulkner's famous quote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Well, don't you dare repeat it. Because Faulkner Literary Rights, a company that owns the rights to many of the literary giant's works, is suing Sony Pictures Classic and others because the quote was uttered once, more or less, with attribution, in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

In the movie, Owen Wilson's character says, "The past is not dead! Actually, it's 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." The lawsuit alleges that the use of the quote and Faulkner's name is likely "to deceive the infringing film's viewers as to a perceived affiliation" between Faulkner and Sony. Because, clearly, everyone now believes William Faulkner helped write Midnight in Paris. The company wants "damages, disgorgement of profits, costs, and attorney fees."

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
May 19, 2014 12:50 PM CDT
Now everybody who published a thesis, dissertation, or a journal paper can get sued by the authors listed in the bibliography. Perhaps we all need to declare preemptive bankruptcy.
Oct 29, 2012 10:25 AM CDT
Prior to his presidency, Obama used that phrase in a speech on "Race in America" back in 2008. Will President Obama be sued as well?
Oct 29, 2012 5:23 AM CDT
Really? A quote by a character with attribution is somehow going to mislead people into believing that Faulkner wrote the script? Oh come on people! Like people don't quote authors all the time, with or without attribution. Are they going to sue everyone who posts that quote on say Twitter or Facebook? Misuse of the courts I say.