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.