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Information About Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company

May 15, 2001

Contact: Patti Embry-Tautenhan
BSMG Worldwide

Media companies join First Amendment advocates and file Friend of the Court briefs supporting Houghton Mifflin

BOSTON - Some of the world's most preeminent media companies today filed a Friend of the Court brief 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 companies that signed on to the brief are 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).

The media companies join six First Amendment advocates who 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.

"The First Amendment requires that Ms. Randall's alternate view of the slave-holding plantation system be made available for the world to read," notes the brief filed by PEN and other First Amendment advocates.

"The preliminary injunction in this case should not be tolerated," states the brief filed by the media companies.

"We at Houghton Mifflin are gratified that some of America's most prominent media companies have recognized the urgent issues raised by this case. We look forward to the day when Alice Randall's book The Wind Done Gone can be published," said Wendy Strothman, Executive Vice President, Trade and Reference Division Houghton Mifflin. "We're extremely pleased these groups have decided to make such a public showing of their support for our position."

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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