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Media orgs rally around Randall’s ‘Wind’

Microsoft, CNN, New York Times among supporters

NEW YORK — Several major media organizations Wednesday jumped to the defense of Alice Randall, author of “The Wind Done Gone,” a novel based on “Gone With the Wind.”

In a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the Margaret Mitchell estate, a federal judge last month issued a preliminary injunction preventing Randall’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin, from issuing the novel.

But Microsoft, CNN, the New York Times, Dow Jones & Co., Tribune Co., Cox Enterprises and Media General Inc. have filed legal briefs with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in support of Houghton Mifflin.

In a May 1 editorial, the New York Times called the ruling “an undue restriction on artistic creation.”

The case, which could reach the Supreme Court on appeal, has pitted longtime First Amendment champions against one another.

Martin Garbus of Frankfurt Garbus Klein & Selz, a renowned expert on free speech, is representing the Mitchell estate. Garbus said he was sur-prised by the brief from Microsoft, a company that’s “relentless in getting injunctions to fight copyright infringements.”

Briefs are likely to be filed on the estate’s behalf next week, with a ruling expected May 25.