Paramount and 'Godfather' author heirs clash

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NEW YORK (AP) – The lawyer for the late creator of “The Godfather” stories says the writer’s heirs no longer want Paramount Pictures to make movies based on books they commission.

Attorney Bertram Fields told a federal judge Thursday that Paramount broke a 1969 contract when it went to publishers of the newest “Godfather” book and claimed the family did not have rights to publish it. “The Family Corleone” was published in May. Proceeds remain in an escrow account pending outcome of litigation.

A Paramount lawyer said the company was only asserting its rights. The judge hearing the case did not immediately rule.

Fields said “Godfather” creator Mario Puzo was insistent that he keep publishing rights to future books. He said Paramount paid Puzo between $50,000 and $75,000 for rights in a 1969 contract. He says the author later made millions from subsequent contacts to write screenplays based on the books.

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