Sony Picture Classics has been sued by Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC, the group that owns the rights to William Faulkner’s work, EW has confirmed.
The suit, for copyright infringement, points to the 2011 film Midnight in Paris, where Owen Wilson’s character said, “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 says that the quote is from Faulkner’s book Requiem for a Nun, where a passage read, “The past is never dead! It’s not even past.” The suit claims that Sony did not ask or receive permission to use the quote.
The lawsuit asks for “damages, disgorgement of profits, costs and attorney fees.”
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Sony gave EW the following statement: “This is a frivolous lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail in defending it. There is no question this brief reference (10 words) to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit.”