Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Joseph M. Beck

First Page



On March 16, 2001, plaintiff SunTrust Bank filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against defendant Houghton Mifflin Company, alleging copyright and trademark infringement based on defendant's yet-to-be published novel The Wind Done Gone. On March 23, plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring the book's imminent publication. The district court held a hearing on the motion for a temporary restraining order on March 29,2001, and then set down a second hearing for April 18, 2001. On April 20,2001, the district court filed a fifty-one page order granting plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, and enjoining defendant "from further production, display, distribution, advertising, sale, or offer for sale of the book "The Wind Done Gone" on the grounds that the book infringed the plaintiff's copyrights. An expedited appeal was requested by the defendant and granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Immediately upon the close of argument on May 25, 2001, the 11th Circuit issued an order vacating the injunction on the grounds that it was an unconstitutional prior restraint ("SunTrust One"). On October 10, 2001,the 11th Circuit vacated its order in SunTrust One and issued a more comprehensive opinion extensively addressing copyright and fair use issues ("SunTrust Two").