William Faulkner wrote that the past is never dead. His heirs say their copyright to that phrase is very much alive.
The author’s literary estate is suing Sony Pictures Classics for using a paraphrase of that line in Woody Allen’s 2011 film, “Midnight in Paris.” It’s also suing Northrop Grumman Corp. and The Washington Post Co. for using a Faulkner quote in a newspaper ad by the defense contractor.
The first lawsuit says Sony infringed on the copyright when actor Owen Wilson slightly misquoted the line from Faulkner’s “Requiem for a Nun.” He said, “The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past.” The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Oxford, Miss.
The second lawsuit, filed Friday in Jackson, Miss., makes similar claims about the ad.