Disney, the company singlehandedly responsible for extending US copyright in 1998 another 20 years to protect their characters, is being sued for — Copyright infringement!
Actually, the lawsuit is 10 years old, but it is approaching its final stages. A.A. Milne – creator of Winnie the Pooh — assigned the US rights to his characters to the Slesinger family in 1930. They worked out a deal with Disney in 1961, but they claim that Disney has denied them their share of royalties since then, and are suing for a billion dollars. (insert appropriate Dr. Evil laugh)
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Disney’s appeal.
A trial is set for Jan 2005. The Slesingers have hired….Johnnie Cochran!
Pooh is Disney’s biggest ‘cash bear’ – at about $3-6 billion a year.