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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Gone with the Wind copyright fight
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind
Gone With The Wind was turned into a classic movie
The estate of the late author Margaret Mitchell has begun an attempt to put an injunction on a parody of her classic novel Gone with the Wind, saying it infringes copyright.

The Wind Done Gone, by Alice Randall, is scheduled to be published in June.

It includes phrases, settings and references to characters from Gone With the Wind.

Representatives of the late Ms Mitchell are trying to stop publication of the book. But Ms Randall denies copyright infringement.

Cover of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone
Randall's book has gained support from authors
US district judge Charles Pannell heard arguments from both sides at a hearing in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Judge Pannell has said he will rule as early as Friday on whether an injunction will be granted.

He will later rule on whether Ms Randall has infringed the copyright by writing what amounts to a sequel.

The Wind Done Gone is the diary of a mixed-race plantation owner's daughter, who might be the half-sister of Gone with the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara.

Ms Randall says her novel simply revisits the world of a famous book and does not violate copyright law.

It aims to depict 19th Century southern plantation life from an African American viewpoint, she says.

But lawyers for Mitchell Trusts, which controls Ms Mitchell's estate, accuses The Wind Done Gone of "wholesale theft of major characters" from the original.

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However, Ms Randall's publishers Houghton Mifflin say their book is consistent with established copyright law, and that writers should be able to parody other works.

Houghton Mifflin's lawyer, Joe Beck, said: "I think the south is big enough to hear from more than one voice."

Ms Randall was "making a political comment on slaves and free slaves and their relation to the American south," he said.

Authors including Toni Morrison, Pat Conroy and Harper Lee have spoken out in support of Randall.

Nobel laureate Morrison said: "To crush the artistic rights of an African American writer seems to me not only reckless but arrogant and pathetic."

Musician Steve Earle and Civil War historian Shelby Foote are among 20 artists and intellectuals supporting Ms Randall.

Ms Randall said: "I've been quoted as saying that my father frequently instructed me to 'speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.'

"Somewhere along the way I decided to write for those who could not write for themselves."

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