Our blog has covered the unique legal issues that have surrounded Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and her legacy in the past here and here.

Harper Lee died in 2016.  Prior to her death, Ms. Lee published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman“, and there was much litigation with respect to whether Ms. Lee was coerced into publishing this new work while she was vulnerable and elderly.

According to the New York Times, Ms. Lee also signed an agreement prior to her death which gave Rudinplay the right to adapt “To Kill a Mocking Bird” into a live stage play.  The Estate Trustee of Ms. Lee’s Estate has sued the producers of the play for breach of contract by failing to remain true to the novel.  Even though the Estate Trustee sued in Alabama, the producers have, in turn, counter-sued in New York for damages to the production.

Interestingly enough, there were discussions regarding whether the evidence at trial may include a live performance before the jury in New York.  If this request is granted, the jury will be privy to the first performance (and perhaps also the last performance) of the anticipated Broadway play.  This could be a unique precedent for copyright matters.

The play produced by Aaron Sorkin, which stars Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch, is scheduled to open in December and tickets may go on sale here.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

Doreen So