Plus, the latest in literary copyright decisions

By Matthew Flamm
Updated May 02, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Courtney Thorne-Smith
Credit: Courtney Thorne-Smith illustration by John Cuneo

COURTNEY’S COMPLAINT Everyone knows the camera adds 10 pounds. But apparently if you stand next to Calista Flockhart it adds something like 50. Now actress — and former ”Ally McBeal” costar — Courtney Thorne-Smith is following up a Self magazine story she wrote last fall about the pressures of being photographed next to, as she put it, ”extraordinarily petite female leads.” Her as yet untitled book will be ”about finding the plan that works for you,” says Hyperion editor Jennifer Lang.

‘GONE’ TO WAR And the battle rages on. A federal judge in Atlanta has granted an injunction that will keep the ”Gone With the Wind” parody ”The Wind Done Gone” out of bookstores. Judge Charles Pannell Jr. ruled that Alice Randall’s novel borrowed more from Margaret Mitchell’s epic than was allowable under copyright law. Houghton Mifflin, Randall’s publisher, will appeal.

Meanwhile, HarperCollins has decided on punishment by press release for accused plagiarist Melany Neilson. Her recently published first novel, ”The Persia Café,” ”contains eight passages copied from ‘The Bean Trees,”’ Barbara Kingsolver’s first novel, according to a memo from the publisher. (”Bean Trees”: ”Her head shook all the time, just slightly, like she was trying to signal ‘No’ to somebody behind my back.” ”Persia Café”: ”Her head shook all the time, very slightly, as though trying to signal ‘No’ to someone behind my back.”) ”Barbara was outraged and felt the book should not be on the stands, and there should be a public apology,” says her agent, Frances Goldin.

Neilson wrote to Kingsolver and ”sincerely apologized for the unintentional inclusion of the language in question,” says her publisher, Thomas Dunne of St. Martin’s. Neilson has also ”offered to travel to Arizona to apologize in person,” Dunne says, adding that St. Martin’s has ”reset the passages for future reprints.”

Gone With the Wind

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