The publisher of Woody Allen’s 2020 autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, is threatening to sue HBO over its documentary series Allen v. Farrow, claiming the filmmakers used excerpts from the audiobook without permission, Deadline reports.
Allen v. Farrow debuted Sunday to widespread critical acclaim. The documentary series, which explores Dylan Farrow’s accusation that her father sexually assaulted her when she was 7, uses passages from Allen’s audiobook.
Skyhorse, which published Allen’s autobiography, says that filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering failed to get Allen’s permission to use the excerpts. “This blatant appropriation of Mr. Allen’s intellectual property is unquestionably copyright infringement under existing legal precedent,” said Skyhorse president Tony Lyons.
The filmmakers told the Los Angeles Times that they “legally used limited audio excerpts from Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the Fair Use doctrine.” Lyons disputed that the Fair Use doctrine applied to the filmmakers’ use of the excerpts.
Allen and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, have released a statement criticizing the documentary as “a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods.”
Apropos of Nothing caused a stir last year when Hachette announced it planned to publish the autobiography, a decision rescinded after widespread outcry, including withering criticism from Hachette author Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow’s brother.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.