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Harper Lee sues agent over copyright

“To Kill a Mockingbird” author says she was tricked into signing over rights

She may not enjoy the public eye, but that’s not stopping Harper Lee from coming out and filing a suit against an agent she said has essentially stolen her famous copyright.

The “To Kill a Mockingbird” author filed suit last week against Samuel Pinkus, who is the son-in-law of Eugene Winick, Lee’s agent of more than 40 years. Lee claims in her suit that Pinkus tricked her into signing over her copyright to the classic novel to him.

According to the suit, Winick became ill in 2002, at which point Pinkus began diverting his father-in-law’s clients to his own literary agency business. In 2007, Lee said Pinkus “engaged in a scheme to dupe” her into signing over the rights to her only ever published novel without payment. The novel, published in 1960, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Lee, who is 87, said at the time Pinkus transferred her “To Kill a Mockingbird” rights to himself, she was losing her hearing and eyesight. She also claims she has no memory of agreeing to the transfer.

The suit asks the court to return the rights to the novel to Lee and to award her all profits Pinkus made on the book since the 2007 transfer.

Read more about this suit on Thomson Reuters.

See more stories about celebrities in the news on InsideCounsel.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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