September 23, 2014
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A California appeals court says a straight-to-DVD horror movie loosely based on the life of the woman who built the 160-room Winchester Mystery House in San Jose did not violate the popular tourist attraction's trademark.
The 6th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that a Los Angeles film company had a First Amendment right to use Sarah Winchester's story and name in its 2009 film "Haunting of Winchester House."
Winchester, the widow of gun maker William Winchester, started building the mansion in 1884. The huge house was under construction 24 hours a day, seven days a week until her death 38 years later.
Popular legend has it that Winchester's eccentric behavior stemmed from a medium who told her she would be haunted by the spirits of people killed by Winchester guns if she stopped the construction.
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