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Harper Lee settles legal action against Alabama museum

image copyrightAP
image captionTo Kill A Mockingbird is Harper Lee's only published novel

To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee has settled legal action against a museum in her Alabama hometown, which was using her name on souvenirs.

Court documents filed by Lee's lawyer said she had reached an undisclosed agreement with The Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel was made into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck.

The museum is located in the former courthouse which inspired the book.

Legal papers accused the gift shop of taking advantage of Lee's trademarks to sell book-related souvenirs including clothing and drinks coasters.

The museum had also used the book title as a website address without compensating the author financially.

The 87-year-old's only published novel tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch's battle against racial prejudice as he defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge.

It is considered to be a modern classic and is taught in schools in the UK and the US.

Court documents show the agreement was reached just days after a judge refused to dismiss the case.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe souvenirs include a cook book, apron and drinks coasters

No details of the settlement were provided and a lawyer for the museum, Matthew Goforth, has declined to comment.

Lee is one of 28,000 residents of Monroeville, having previously split her time between the town where she grew up and New York.

The town had been split by the legal battle according to reports when the legal action was filed last year.

The museum claimed souvenir sales were vital to its survival and opposed Lee's application for a federal trademark for her book title on clothing.

Legal papers showed that the museum, which runs To Kill a Mockingbird tours and puts on a play of the book in the courtroom each year, took more than $500,000 (£299,000) in 2012 with $28,566 (£17,125) coming from souvenir sales.

A post on its website advertises that it has now changed its web address from to

It said the gift shop offers "dozens of custom items available ONLY in Monroeville" along with a "great selection of books and memorabilia about Harper Lee'' and In Cold Blood author Truman Capote, a childhood friend of Lee who also lived there.

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  • Literature

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