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Representing the RaceA New Political History of African American Literature$
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Gene Andrew Jarrett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814743386

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814743386.001.0001

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Copyright Law, Free Speech, and the Transformative Value of African American Literature

Copyright Law, Free Speech, and the Transformative Value of African American Literature

Chapter:
(p.127) 5 Copyright Law, Free Speech, and the Transformative Value of African American Literature
Source:
Representing the Race
Author(s):

Gene Andrew Jarrett

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814743386.003.0005

This chapter focuses on the 2001 case SunTrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company, a case which debated and determined the transformative potential of African American literature in the realm of social change. As the exclusive copyright owner of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936), the Stephen Mitchell Trust filed a complaint against Houghton Mifflin's publication of its parody—Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone. Consequently, the case led to a canonical redefinition of political parody, a jurisprudential reconsideration of preliminary injunctions, and a general understanding of how laws uphold political rights. As authors of literary parody have contested the accusation of copyright infringement by asserting their own right to political speech, they have helped to combat the legal affront to literary freedom.

Keywords:   African American literature, Stephen Mitchell Trust, Houghton Mifflin, Alice Randall, political parody, literary parody, copyright infringement, literary freedom

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