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Information About Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company

May 25, 2001

Contact: Patti Embry-Tautenhan
BSMG Worldwide

11th Circuit Court lifts ban on The Wind Done Gone;
Houghton Mifflin to publish Alice Randall's first novel

BOSTON - The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta today lifted an earlier District Court injunction banning the publication of The Wind Done Gone. Houghton Mifflin will now proceed to publish Alice Randall's first novel.

"Today's decision is an absolute victory for both the First Amendment and for the fair use doctrine of the Copyright Act, both crucial to American culture and freedom of expression," said Wendy Strothman, Executive Vice President, Trade and Reference Division, Houghton Mifflin Company. "We are grateful to the Court for its swift action as well as to the many prominent authors, corporations, media companies and First Amendment advocates who supported our position. We are particularly pleased that the American public will now be able to judge Alice Randall's parody for themselves."

Houghton Mifflin attorney Joseph Beck praised the Court's decision.

"The Court was very well prepared and showed tremendous commitment by putting this on a fast track. It says a lot about the importance of the First Amendment," Beck said. "No on will ever confuse The Wind Done Gone with Gone with the Wind."

On April 20, a federal judge in the Northern District Court in Atlanta granted the Mitchell Trusts a preliminary injunction, banning The Wind Done Gone. Houghton Mifflin's emergency motion for an expedited appeal was granted, and the 11th Circuit heard arguments today. The Court's decision to lift the injunction means the book can now be published. Houghton Mifflin hopes to have the book in bookstores in 2-3 weeks.

"I am delighted that the American people will now be able to read my book," said author Alice Randall. "If you allow yourself to be guided by fear, you stop being a writer."

Added Randall: "I wrote this book so all of America would have a deep-healing belly laugh."

Houghton Mifflin's bid to publish The Wind Done Gone has been supported not only by many authors and writers, but also by a number of media companies, corporations and First Amendment advocates.

"Never in my 30 years of book publishing have I seen such an outpouring of support for a book; it's clear that many writers and others concerned with our country's free exchange of ideas understood, as did this Court, the urgent issues raised by this case," Strothman said. "Toni Morrison and Harper Lee, Microsoft Corporation, The New York Times Company and Dow Jones, PEN/American Center and The National Coalition Against Censorship, are among those who supported our position."

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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