Harper Lee Sues Agent Over To Kill a Mockingbird
Author says he tricked her into signing over copyright
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2013 6:50 AM CDT
Watching the filming of a scene for the 1962 movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" are producer Alan Pakula and author Harper Lee.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Atticus! Harper Lee has sued her former literary agent, claiming that he tricked her into signing over the rights and royalties of To Kill a Mockingbird, reports Reuters. The 87-year-old author alleges that Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of her late longtime agent, pulled a fast one on her while she was recovering from a stroke in 2007. “Pinkus knew that Harper Lee was an elderly woman with physical infirmities that made it difficult for her to read and see,” says the complaint filed in federal court yesterday. “Harper Lee had no idea she had assigned her copyright."

The story gets a little convoluted from there. The AP says Lee is suing to "re-secure" the copyright to the 1960 novel, but Bloomberg reports that she actually got the copyright back last year in a separate legal action. It adds, however, that Pinkus was still receiving royalties through the legal arrangement he set up in 2007. The new suit demands that he forfeit all of his Mockingbird commissions since the deal. Pinkus himself has not responded publicly.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
toryd
May 5, 2013 3:08 AM CDT
I don't know if it qualifies as a "scam," but it seems the current way to try to get elderly people's assets is by reverse mortgages. I know someone who is constantly being besieged by companies trying to get her to apply for a reverse mortgage--they have even come to her door, along with another elderly person who I guess is there to say how wonderful it is to do! She wants to leave her home free and clear to her grandchildren, and always says no, but they tell her things like, "think of everything you could do with the money--you could get a new washing machine!" She said, "I just bought one and a dryer too, and don't want to turn my home over to you!" Be on the watch, oldsters.
123Och32
May 4, 2013 6:05 PM CDT
In Tax-us, it's illegal to kill a mockingbird, except for Gubernor Big Hair and republicon cronies, who think they can do anything they damn well puh-leeze.
toryd
May 4, 2013 4:21 PM CDT
Such an incredibly great book and movie. As a junior in high school two years ago, my boy played the nasty guy, Bob Ewell, in his high school production, and he totally killed it! He was the talk of the school and the audience, because he was so believably mean in it, when in fact he is a sweet, kind and popular kid. Everyone showed up to watch it. All the students in the production did an excellent job and learned a lot from this wonderful book. I sincerely hope Harper Lee prevails in this lawsuit.