Skyhorse Publishing, which released Woody Allen’s memoir “Apropos of Nothing” last year, has accused HBO’s “Allen v. Farrow” of using audio snippets of Allen reading from the audiobook without permission.
In a statement, Skyhorse president Tony Lyons called the use of the audiobook in the Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering docuseries a “blatant appropriation of Mr. Allen’s intellectual property.” A representative for Skyhorse did not say whether or not they planned to pursue legal action on the matter. Read the full statement below.
The first episode of Allen v. Farrow uses without permission more than three minutes of Skyhorse’s audio edition of Woody Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing. It is our understanding that the remaining episodes make similar unauthorized use of the audiobook. This blatant appropriation of Mr. Allen’s intellectual property is unquestionably copyright infringement under existing legal precedent. Viewers of the series should take into consideration the producers’ unethical conduct when evaluating their so-called documentary’s sensationalist and salacious story.
In response, filmmakers Dick and Ziering issued a statement saying the series “legally used limited audio excerpts” under the “Fair Use” doctrine of U.S. copyright law. As outlined by the U.S. Copyright Office, Fair Use allows unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain cases such as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.”
Representatives for HBO did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.
“Apropos of Nothing” was published last spring by the Skyhorse imprint Arcade Publishing. Skyhorse acquired the book after Grand Central Publishing — a division of Hachette Book Group — canceled publication following an outcry from employees and authors, including Ronan Farrow.
“Allen v. Farrow,” which premiered Sunday night, documents the accusation of sexual abuse against Allen involving Dylan, his then seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow. The series features interviews with Mia, Dylan and Ronan Farrow, as well as family friend Carly Simon, prosecutor Frank Maco, relatives, investigators, experts and other first-hand eyewitnesses.
In a statement following the premiere, Woody Allen called the series “a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods.”
“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,” Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn said.
Skyhorse’s objection to the HBO series was first reported by Showbiz411.