goComics
 

« RICHARD SALA | Main | THE FAQs OF DILBERT »

THE NOTORIOUS POOH CASE

The Slesingers have won the latest bout in the long-running fight with Disney over rights and royalties in the notorious Pooh Case. But this victory apparently has no bearing on the central issue between the two parties: in 1991, the Slesingers filed a suit, claiming that Disney was seriously (and fraudulently) in arears in paying royalties on Pooh products. That issue has yet to be resolved, as I understand it. Stephen Slesinger, the patriarch of family, a New York agent and merchandiser, had acquired rights in 1930 from Pooh creator A.A. Milne to merchandise the Pooh character. The Slesingers transferred those rights to Disney in 1961 in exchange for ongoing royalty payments. The Slesinger licensing agreement with Milne was renewed in 1983, by which time the Disney Pooh Empire had been launched with the first Pooh film in 1966.The burgeoning success of the ever-growing Pooh enterprise prompted the Slesingers to speculate about just how much money was being generated -- or, more precisely, how much of that money was being diverted from their pockets into the Disney coffers.

In a subsequent skirmish, the Slesingers lost a round because they apparently acquired documents illegally (or some such). Meanwhile, the descendants of Milne and E.H. Shepard, whose illustrations of the silly old bear and his woodland pals created the popular image of Milne’s stories and thus assured their success, were somehow inveigled into attempting to re-assert their rights to the characters under U.S. copyright law. Disney agreed to finance their suit in exchange for the relatives’ assigning merchandising rights to the Burbank entertainment giant. Had the Milne-Shepard combine won the case, the Slesingers would be left out in the cold, and Disney would then enjoy an undisputed right to keep on dipping without let or hindrance into the billion-dollar Pooh revenue stream.

Footnit: Slesinger also owns Red Ryder; Shirley, Stephen’s widow, subsequently married Fred Lasswell, who did Snuffy Smith for a record 57 years, from late 1942 until he died in March 2000.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5f3053ef00d83533250969e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference THE NOTORIOUS POOH CASE:

Comments

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

FEATURED SERVICES:
MOBILE SERVICES:
GAMES & PUZZLES: