Estate of Mario Puzo, Paramount Pictures settle countersuits

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos, Alwine & Kubiliun, P.L.

Back in September, we told Miami readers about how the estate of Mario Puzo, the author of the novel “The Godfather,” and Paramount Pictures, which made the film version, were suing one another. Now, a resolution to this entertainment lawsuit has been reached.

As you may remember, Paramount Pictures was not pleased with the idea of “The Family Corleone,” a novel Puzo wrote about the same family he wrote about in “The Godfather.”

The studio was worried that publication of the novel would “cheapen” the reputation and legacy of its film and wanted to prevent it from being published.

Puzo’s estate filed a countersuit, claiming, in essence, that the agreement between the two reserved “book publishing rights” for Puzo.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the two sides had settled their countersuits against one another. Neither released details of the settlement, but Puzo’s estate was able to publish “The Family Corleone” in May, although he had to put the proceeds from the sale in an escrow account until the lawsuit was settled.

Now, we have not read the court papers associated with this suit, but from what we understand, it sounds like Paramount and Puzo’s estate disagreed over what rights had been given and taken away in two contracts, one signed in 1967 and the other signed in 1969.

If that impression is correct, it is an excellent illustration of why it is so important for you to understand fully and completely any agreement you sign. There is too much at stake for you to add your signature if you are uncertain.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Paramount, Mario Puzo estate settle ‘Godfather’ estate,” Eriq Gardner, Dec. 21, 2012