Harper Lee settles lawsuit with Alabama museum

Harper Lee, author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' sued Monroe County Heritage Museum for using her name and her book without compensating her.

Courtesy of Universal Picture/Photofest/PBS
Gregory Peck and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author Harper Lee in 1962.

 "To Kill a Mockingbird"" author Harper Lee is settling a federal lawsuit she filed against a museum in her south Alabama hometown over its sale of souvenirs featuring her name and the title of her book.

An attorney for the Alabama native filed a motion Tuesday in federal court in Mobile saying Lee has reached an agreement with the Monroe County Heritage Museum.

The document doesn't detail the settlement, and lawyers for the writer and the museum in Monroeville didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

The settlement comes days after a judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed last fall. The lawsuit claimed the museum uses Lee's name and the title of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel without compensating her.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported in October, Lee's original complaint stated:

“The town’s desire to capitalize upon the fame of  ‘To Kill a Mockingbird ‘ is unmistakable: Monroeville’s town logo features an image of a mockingbird and the cupola of the Old County Courthouse, which was the setting for the dramatic trial in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'."

It continues by targeting the museum: “Its actual work does not touch upon history. Rather, its primary mission is to trade upon the fictional story, settings and characters that Harper Lee created in 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and Harper Lee's own renown as one of the nation's most celebrated authors."

The museum sells aprons, clothing, soaps, magnets, and glassware, among other merchandise, and reportedly generated more than $500,000 in revenue in 2011.

Lee was seeking an unspecified amount of money from the museum.

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