Paramount Pictures, the movie studio that controls all the rights over the fictional mafia family's story The Godfather, has sued the estate of Mario Puzo, arguing that the heirs of the author has wrongfully authorized the publishing of a pair of sequel novels.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court Friday, mentions that in 1969, the movie studio purchased from the author the copyright interest in Puzo's novel The Godfather.
After the acquisition of the rights, Paramount adapted the novel into three highly-acclaimed motion pictures directed by Francis Ford Coppola. However, after Puzo's death, the estate expressed the desire of publishing additional novels written by new authors.
The lawsuit mentions that in 2002, to accommodate the interest of the estate, Paramount Pictures authorized the permission to publish only one sequel novel, The Godfather Returns.
However, in the year 2006, without the authorization of the studio, the estate published a second sequel novel called The Godfather's Revenge which received only mediocre publicity.
Paramount Pictures said that instead of furthering the legacy of the novel, the sequels tarnished its image and misled consumers in terms of advertising, marketing and promotional material.
Far from properly honoring the legacy of 'The Godfather,' the unauthorized 'The Godfather's Revenge' tarnished, and in the process, also misled consumers into believing that 'The Godfather's Revenge' was authorized by Paramount, Bloomberg quoted the movie studio, a unit of New York-based Viacom Inc., as stating in the complaint.
The studio is seeking damages and an order barring the Puzo estate from publishing the third sequel novel, The Family Corleone, this year.
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