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Sony Picture Classics executives win copyright case over Woody Allen film quote

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Jul 18, 2013 | 5:22pm EDT

Sony Pictures Classics bosses are celebrating after winning a copyright infringement case filed against them by the owners of author William Faulkner's novel Requiem For A Nun. Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC officials filed suit against the movie studio, claiming that a nine-word quote from the novel which featured in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris film equated to copyright infringement. But, on Thursday (18Jul13), a federal judge in Mississippi declared victory for the defendants, who argued that the Faulkner quote, uttered by Owen Wilson's character in the movie, was a "fair use", according to The Hollywood Reporter. In summing up the case, U.S. District Judge Michael Mills noted, "The copyrighted work is a serious piece of literature lifted for use in a speaking part in a movie comedy, as opposed to a printed portion of a novel printed in a newspaper, or a song's melody sampled in another song. This transmogrification in medium tips this factor in favour of transformative, and thus, fair use." He added, "No substantial similarity exists between the copyrighted work and the allegedly infringing work, and Sony's use in this matter was de minimis (of minimum importance). The use is not actionable, and this claim is dismissed."

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