Each side in battle over 'The Wind Done Gone' hires agency toweather PR storm

BOSTON: Two PR firms went head-to-head on issues management work in

the battle over publication of The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall, a

parody of Gone With the Wind.

In April, Houghton Mifflin, the book's publisher, retained BSMG, while

TorranceCo was picked by lawyers for Margaret Mitchell Trusts in early


A US District court judge issued an injunction against the book's

publication, which was lifted last week by a federal appeals court. The

case has been covered intensely by the media, with stories appearing in

everything from The New York Times to People magazine.

Mitchell Trusts maintains the title, which tells a version of the story

from a slave's perspective, violates copyright law by using characters

and text from the original.

Houghton Mifflin has called it a first amendment issue and the

injunction a violation of free speech. The publisher gathered backing

from noted literary figures such as Harper Lee and Shelby Foote, and

BSMG helped issue a press release about the supporters.

"That was a pivotal point in garnering national attention," said Patti

Embry-Tautenhan, MD of BSMG's Boston office. Subsequent media attention

led to the filing of a number of "friend of the court" briefs by such

names as author Toni Morrison and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, TorranceCo has been handling all the media relations

regarding the case for the law firm Frankfurt Garbus Kurnit Klein &


"As they were coming close to their final arguments in the case it

became clear that their side of the story had not been told," said L.

Gaye Torrance, president of TorranceCo.

After the injunction was lifted, the agency worked with attorneys on a

detailed press release that points out where the copyright is believed

to be infringed.

The case now rests, unless Mitchell Trusts lodges an appeal.

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