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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 7:37 pm 
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Location: Oxelosund, Sweden
This might have been reported elswhere by someone , but if not, I just thought that I'd let you know. An article in my local paper revealed the following: (rough traslation)

"A prelimenary verdict says that all commercial rights to Winnie The Pooh even in the future will belong to the family-owned company Stephen Slesinger Inc.

If the verdict will stand, it will be a huge loss for Disney, whom for two decades have faught for the rights to the honey-loving bear.

Stephen Slesinger was A.A. Milnes agent and obtained the rights to Winnie The Pooh in 1929." (TT Spektra)

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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 4:50 am 
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Last I heard when checking late last week was that a verdict would be made in the next 2 weeks.

Bad news for big "Pooh" fan Loomis I would imagine! :)

What exactly is a "prelimenary verdict"? One that can change? If so, why bother to release it?

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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 5:42 am 
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I have no idea. It sound a little strange to me as well.

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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 7:16 pm 
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well i dont think that's true since disney payed this one lady for the rights to winnie the pooh.


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 8:24 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia ... where there is no Magic Kingdom :(
2099net wrote:
Bad news for big "Pooh" fan Loomis I would imagine! :)


It is indeed, 2099! As much as I love the original Milne books and illustrations, the Dinseyfied Pooh and Sterling Holloway/Jim Cummings voice always makes me smile. :)

As far as I understand the conflict (Loomis switches into his legal student mode - on his day off too! :o ): I've been following this for a while...

The woman that Disney now has the agreement with is Clare Milne.

AA Milne originally licensed the Pooh characters to his literary agent, Stephen Slesinger, in the 1930s. Slesinger in turn licensed the characters to Disney in 1961. In 1983 a new commercial agreement was drawn up between Disney and the heirs of both AA Milne and Slesinger, who was the successor to the family that had an exclusive licencing agreement with Disney.

Now the judge has ruled that Clare Milne is no longer capable of assigning the rights to anyone (she suffers from cerebral palsy), as per US law. She WOULD have reassigned the rights to Disney if she had been allowed, who would have given millions of dollars to a charitable trust in her name.

Now, I'm not too sure on the workings of the American legal system (it is slightly different to ours, which is more like the UK law), but essentially this has given more footing to the legal claim of the Slesingers (which would have been frustrated had Clare Milne won), who are also claiming millions of dollars in unpaid royalties (I think Disney was claiming that video/DVD does not consititute merchandise from memory...:D).

So basically, the Slesingers are now claiming about $700m in damages. Disney also stands to lose the rights, which counts for about $3-6 billion (!) of their $25 bn annual profits.

Dark days indeed!

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