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Information About Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company

May 16, 2001

Contact: Patti Embry-Tautenhan
BSMG Worldwide

Microsoft joins authors, media companies, First Amendment advocates, and others, in filing a Friend of the Court brief supporting Houghton Mifflin

BOSTON - Citing its strong belief in the principle of fair use to advance political commentary and debate, Microsoft Corporation filed a Friend of the Court brief yesterday in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in support of Houghton Mifflin's appeal to reverse an earlier District Court injunction preventing the publication of The Wind Done Gone.

"The record shows that Alice Randall's work is transformative in a way that goes to the heart of fairness of her use," states the brief filed by Microsoft.

By filing the brief, Microsoft joins a number of prominent media companies and First Amendment advocates that have filed similar Friend of the Court briefs. The following media companies signed on to a brief yesterday: The New York Times Company (The New York Times and Boston Globe), Dow Jones & Company (The Wall Street Journal), The Tribune Company (Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times), Media General (The Tampa Tribune), Cable News Network (CNN), and Cox Enterprises (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

In addition, six First Amendment advocates filed a Friend of the Court brief last week. Those advocates, led by First Amendment lawyer and professor Leon Friedman, are PEN American Center (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Editors, and Novelists), The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, The Freedom to Read Foundation, The Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, The First Amendment Project, and The National Coalition Against Censorship.

"We are pleased that Microsoft, a company with such a strong interest in the value of intellectual property, recognizes that The Wind Done Gone's political commentary is fully consistent with copyright law," said Wendy Strothman, Executive Vice President, Trade and Reference Division Houghton Mifflin.

In March, attorneys for the Mitchell Trusts filed a lawsuit in Atlanta to stop the publication of The Wind Done Gone, claiming it violates their copyright of Gone with the Wind. On April 20, a federal judge granted the Mitchell Trusts a preliminary injunction. Houghton Mifflin's emergency motion for an expedited appeal was granted, and the 11th Circuit will hear arguments on May 25th.

Court documents pertaining to this lawsuit can be read in their entirety at www.thewinddonegone.com.

Houghton Mifflin is a leading publisher of textbooks, instructional technology, assessments and other educational materials for elementary and secondary schools and colleges. The Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. The Company's Internet site can be found at www.hmco.com.

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Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company Court Papers

Houghton Mifflin Company's Press Statements

Questions and Answers about this dispute
Letter of Support
List of Authors
Biography of Alice Randall

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