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Author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” Sues Literary Agent
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Harper Lee, 87, the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” has sued her literary agent Samuel Pinkus, alleging that he tricked her into assigning him the copyright of her book. Published in 1960, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” is known as a classic, and is the only book published by the author.

Harper-Lee, who lives in Monroeville, Alabama, has alleged that Samuel Pinkus took advantage of her old age and transferred the rights to the book to secure “irrevocable” interest in the income from Lee’s book. To date, the novel has sold more than 30 million copies.

According to the lawsuit, Lee’s original literary agent, Eugene Winick, fell ill in 2002 and Samuel Pinkus, who is Winnick’s son-in-law, switched several of Winick’s clients to his own company. Winick had worked for the author for more than 40 years.

  
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However, Pinkus abused his authority, and as according to the lawsuit, “engaged in a scheme to dupe” Harper-Lee, who by then had reached 80 years of age, and was suffering from failing eyesight and listening problems.

The lawsuit alleges that Pinkus made Lee assign copyrights to her book to him without any payment.

Apparently, Lee believes that Pinkus engineered the scheme to avoid paying his legal obligations to Winick’s company, and for misappropriating the royalties.

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The lawsuit also mentions that Pinkus has failed to respond to requests for discussing the licensing of e-book rights by Harper Collins and also did not respond to requests made by Harper Collins for help to celebrate the 50th year of publication of the book.

Lee’s lawsuit alleges “The transfer of ownership of an author’s copyright to her agent is incompatible with her agent’s duty of loyalty; it is a gross example of self-dealing.” The complaint also mentions that “Pinkus knew that Harper Lee was an elderly woman with physical infirmities that made it difficult for her to read and see.”





 

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