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Judge suppresses The Wind Done Gone novel

By The Associated Press

04.21.01

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ATLANTA — A federal judge yesterday blocked the publication of a novel that he says borrows too liberally from Gone With the Wind and infringes on the copyright of Margaret Mitchell's classic novel.

U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell ruled that Alice Randall's novel, The Wind Done Gone, is essentially a retelling of Gone With the Wind from a different point of view using the same fictional characters and places.

Randall's story, Pannell wrote, "constitutes unabated piracy of 'Gone With the Wind."'

Randall, whose book was scheduled for publication by Houghton Mifflin in June, had argued that her story, told from the point of view of Scarlett O'Hara's mulatto half-sister on the plantation Tata, was a political parody and had a right to be published.

Pannell disagreed, writing that Randall's "recitation of so much of the earlier work is overwhelming" and constitutes an unauthorized sequel.

"When the reader of 'Gone With the Wind' turns over the last page, he may well wonder what becomes of Ms. Mitchell's beloved characters and their romantic, but tragic, world," Pannell wrote. "Ms. Randall has offered her vision of how to answer those unanswered questions. ... The right to answer those questions and to write a sequel or other derivative work, however, legally belongs to Ms. Mitchell's heirs, not Ms. Randall."

Attorneys for Mitchell's estate had sued for an injunction to stop publication of Randall's book. The attorneys argued in a hearing on April 18 that the issue was not free speech as Randall has claimed, but about providing protection to authors and other creative artists.

Other writers, including Pat Conroy, Harper Lee and Toni Morrison, have publicly supported Randall in the dispute.

"I can't believe the book will be suppressed," said historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, one of 20 artists and intellectuals who signed a petition in support of Randall's novel. "The Mitchell estate is doing a wonderful job of advertising for Houghton Mifflin."

Houghton Mifflin later said it would appeal the decision.

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Frankly, my dear, they all give a damn
Federal judge to decide whether Gone With the Wind satire is fair comment or foul play.  04.05.01

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