(CN) – Faulkner Literary Rights sued Northrop Grumman and The Washington Post for a full-page ad the defense contractor ran that quoted 14 words of William Faulkner, and attributed them to him.
It’s the second such lawsuit from Faulkner Literary Rights in a week. Last week, the agency sued Sony Corp. for a 9-word misquotation from Faulkner in the Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris,” which also attributed the (mis)quote to Faulkner.
In its new federal complaint, in Jackson, Miss., Federal Court, Faulkner’s literary guardian objects to a July 4, 2011 ad Northrop Grumman placed in the Post, which included the statement: “We must be free, not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. William Faulkner.”
“The bulk of the rest of the advertisement consists of a large photograph of an American flag,” the complaint states.
The bottom of the ad thanks the members of the Continental Congress for adopting the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Under this, Northrop Grumman’s corporate logo appears.
“In smaller text along the right side of the advertisement, the following notation appears: ‘© 2011 Northrop Grumman Corporation,'” according to the complaint.
Faulkner wrote the 14-word quote in a 1956 essay for Harper’s Magazine, “On Fear: The South in Labor,” after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the complaint states.
Faulkner Literary Rights says it owns the quote, and that “Neither Northrop nor the Post sought or received Faulkner’s permission before creating and publishing the infringing advertisement in The Washing Post.”
And it claims the defense contractor continues to feature the infringing ad on its corporate website.
It seeks compensatory and punitive damages, disgorgement of profits and costs for copyright and trademark violations. It is represented by J. Cal Mayo Jr., of Oxford, Miss.
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