Acclaimed American author Harper Lee is taking legal action against her literary agent over allegations he duped her into assigning him the copyright on her classic book To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist filed her lawsuit against Samuel Pinkus in a New York federal court on Friday (03May13).

Pinkus is the son-in-law of Lee's long-time agent, Eugene Winick, who had worked for her for more than 40 years until he became ill in 2002 and Pinkus took her on.

According to her complaint, Pinkus "engaged in a scheme to dupe" her into assigning the To Kill a Mockingbird copyright in 2007, but the reclusive 87-year-old author claims she was suffering from poor hearing and eyesight and cannot recall agreeing to relinquish her rights.

She is seeking for any commission Pinkus has received since 2007 to be returned to her, and has also asked the court to assign the book rights to her.

To Kill A Mockingbird, the only book Lee has ever published, has sold more than 30 million copies since its release in 1960. It was also adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck.