Harper Lee sues literary agent over 'To Kill A Mockingbird' copyright and royalties
Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "To Kill A Mockingbird," is suing her former literary agent Samuel Pinkus for the royalties he has been collecting on her beloved novel. According to the lawsuit she filed, Pinkus schemed to take the copyright for "Mockingbird" away from Lee. Though those rights has since been returned to her control, Pinkus has still been receiving royalties for the book as of 2013.
The 87-year-old author suffered a stroke in 2007 and was placed in an assisted living facility. While Lee was there coping with her failing hearing and eyesight, Pinkus came and had Lee sign a document that assigned the copyright of "To Kill A Mockingbird" to his company.
"Pinkus knew that Harper Lee was an elderly woman with physical infirmities that made it difficult for her to read and see," Lee's lawyer says in the lawsuit. "Harper Lee had no idea she had assigned her copyright [to him]." The complaint filed says that Lee has no recollection of signing the document or talking about the copyright with Pinkus.
Lee pressed legal action and had the copyright returned to her in 2012. She also discharged Pinkus as her agent. This latest suit is over the fact Pinkus has improperly been collecting royalties and that he "engaged in a scheme to dupe Harper Lee, then 80 years old with declining hearing and eyesight."