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Skyhorse, Woody Allen's memoir publisher, threatens to sue HBO over Allen V. Farrow

Illustration for article titled Skyhorse, Woody Allen's memoir publisher, threatens to sue HBO over Allen V. Farrow
Photo: Clemens Bilan (Getty Images)

As HBO’s overwhelming docuseries Allen V. Farrow continues to cast an even darker shadow (if you can believe that) over Woody Allen’s legacy, the disgraced filmmaker’s publisher is threatening to take legal action against the cabler. According to the Los Angeles Times, Skyhorse Publishing—the imprint that took over Allen’s memoir Apropos Of Nothing after original company, Hachette, dropped the project amid protests—is accusing the documentary of possible copyright infringement for sampling the audiobook without permission.

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“Neither the producers nor HBO ever approached Skyhorse to request permission to use excerpts from the audiobook,” Tony Lyons, president of Skyhorse, said in a statement provided to the outlet. “Skyhorse received information second hand only at the very end of last week that each of the documentary’s four episodes makes extensive use of audiobook excerpts.” Lyons continues: “[W]e believe that its unauthorized use of the audiobook is clear, willful infringement under existing legal precedent, and that the other episodes will infringe, too, if they appropriate the audiobook in a similar manner. ... We will take the legal action we deem necessary to redress our and Woody Allen’s rights in his intellectual property.”

According to Skyhorse, an attorney has contacted HBO in order to warn against the use of the audio, but HBO has not responded to the imprint directly. Allen V. Farrow filmmakers did, however, manage to contact The Times, claiming that the audio was obtained “limited audio excerpts” under the Fair Use doctrine, which “[permits] the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances,” per the U.S. Copyright Office.

Allen V. Farrow, which premiered on HBO on Sunday, dives into Allen’s history with sexual abuse allegations involving adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. It also offers an in-depth look at the Farrows, who have had to whether scrutiny from Allen’s devotees (all while having to watch him continue to prosper in the limelight). Allen and Soon-Yi Previn—who Allen originally adopted with ex-partner Mia Farrow and then later married—declined to participate and released a statement decrying the docuseries after it aired: “These documentarians had no interest in the truth. Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods. Woody and Soon-Yi were approached less than two months ago and given only a matter of days ‘to respond.’ Of course, they declined to do so.