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“The Faulkner estate’s interest is not being harmed in any way,” Olson said. “If anything it draws a little more interest.”

Caplin argued that even though the movie snippet is short, it’s a key summing-up of the whole film, and that Allen took it because Faulkner said it better.

“This is Mr. Faulkner’s most famous quote,” Caplin said.

In the Northrop case, Caplin said he’s not sure the heirs would have wanted Faulkner’s name to be associated with an arms manufacturer.

Olson said the Northrop case may be stronger, but he fears that authors are using copyright to limit the political context in which works are quoted or used.

Olson said some estates are zealous about enforcing copyright, to increase revenue or limit discussions that heirs find disagreeable. The suits could just be warning shots by the estate to other users.

“Part of what they could be doing is just trying to get the word out,” Olson said.

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