Home Arts & Culture Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird author settles legal action against Monroeville...

Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird author settles legal action against Monroeville museum

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Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has settled legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum in her Alabama hometown, which was using her name on souvenirs.

Court documents filed by Harper Lee’s lawyer said she had reached an undisclosed agreement with The Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel was made into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck.

The museum is located in the former courthouse which inspired the book.

Legal papers accused the gift shop of taking advantage of Lee’s trademarks to sell book-related souvenirs including clothing and drinks coasters.

The Monroe County Heritage Museum had also used the book title as a website address without compensating the author financially.

Harper Lee has settled the legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum

Harper Lee has settled the legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum

Harper Lee’s only published novel tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch’s battle against racial prejudice as he defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge.

To Kill A Mockingbird is considered to be a modern classic and is taught in schools in the UK and the US.

Court documents show the agreement was reached just days after a judge refused to dismiss the case.

No details of the settlement were provided and a lawyer for the museum, Matthew Goforth, has declined to comment.

Harper Lee, 87, is one of 28,000 residents of Monroeville, having previously split her time between the town where she grew up and New York.

Monroeville had been split by the legal battle according to reports when the legal action was filed last year.

The museum claimed souvenir sales were vital to its survival and opposed Harper Lee’s application for a federal trademark for her book title on clothing.


Legal papers showed that the museum, which runs To Kill a Mockingbird tours and puts on a play of the book in the courtroom each year, took more than $500,000 in 2012 with $28,566 coming from souvenir sales.

A post on the museum website advertises that it has now changed its web address from www.tokillamockingbird.com to www.monroecountymuseum.org.

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