Well that’s no surprise – Sony Pictures Classics has moved to have a lawsuit over a William Faulkner quote used in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris dismissed. “Plaintiff’s purported copyright infringement claim does not survive a motion to dismiss because: (a) the use of a nine-word quotation from a full-length novel is a de minimis use and is not actionable under the Copyright Act; and (b) the Film’s use is a fair use expressly allowed by Section 107 of the Copyright Act,” the studio’s short five-page motion (read it here) filed earlier this week states. Faulkner Literary Rights filed suit on October 25 against Sony Pictures Classic in U.S. District Court in Mississippi for the infringement plus commercial appropriation and violation of the Lanham Act. The paraphrased quote comes from Faulkner’s Requiem For A Nun. At the time, Sony called the lawsuit over few words uttered by Owen Wilson in the 2011 film “frivolous.” Their court move earlier this week only reinforces that view. What is interesting though is that at the same time as seeking the dismissal, the studio is also seeking to have the case moved from the south up to New York. Besides stating the case “could have and should have” been filed in New York in the first place, Sony says in a separate filing Tuesday that such a move would benefit “the convenience of parties and witnesses, and the interest of justice.” Even though he’s not named as a defendant in the initial suit, maybe that’ll make it easier for Woody to make an appearance.
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