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Mommy, is Mickey really Pooh's friend?

Cathy Kirkman brings a mother's perspective and an IP attorney's insight to a long and litigious tale starring Winnie the Pooh, his creator, Stephen Silverman Inc. and Walt Disney Co.  There's trouble afoot in the hundred-acre woods, she writes, and

""[U]nless the U.S. Supreme Court accepts an appeal of the case, SSI's royalty suit against Disney will proceed in the new year ... For those of you who, like myself, spend time watching Pooh videos with little people, you can now use that time to think through these fascinating copyright issues..."

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear (to this reader anyway), that author A. A. Milne in 1930 began doing everything he could to leverage the Pooh franchise for his family, including his son, one Christopher Robin Milne. That creative foundation is now groaning until the heavy weight of a copyright smack-down and transfer provisions arcana, with various players crowded around Pooh's honey pot. In "9th Circuit rules in Winnie-the-Pooh case" Kirkman notes, "Clearly Disney is opportunistically doing whatever it takes to preserve its financial interest in the Pooh franchise ..."

(That's not the only thing Disney has changed about the Pooh franchise. As The Huffington Post hoots in a link to the Times of London story, "Disney Gives Christopher Robin A Sex Change... ")

I wonder how many hundreds of millions of dollars in billings and how many law school case studies this copyright struggle has generated? More importantly, what and whom are we parents supporting by buying all those Pooh and Tigger Halloween costumes that were waddling around my neighborhood this Halloween?

Hopefully--whether we read or watch Milne's tales--we're supporting a sweet and anti-materialistic series of stories about how to experience the fun of childhood while learning what it's like to have lots of different friends--bouncy ones, friendly ones, cranky ones, orange ones as well as pink ones, and mopey ones.

If we lose sight of that, we grownups may as well turn Pooh into Greg the Bunny and keep him for ourselves.

Posted by Laurel Newby on December 9, 2005 at 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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