On Dec. 8, 2005, in Milne v. Slesinger,[FOOTNOTE 1] the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision of great moment to the future of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger and other creations of Alan Alexander Milne in his beloved, and enormously profitable, series of children’s books. The bounty resulting from Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books,[FOOTNOTE 2] including anticipated returns from their exploitation during the extended renewal term provided by the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA),[FOOTNOTE 3] had become the subject of a mammoth tug of war between Milne’s granddaughter, Clare, (along with her licensee, the Walt Disney Co.) and Stephen Slesinger Inc. (SSI), the successor to the author’s original grant of U.S. merchandising rights.
The judicial denouement of this tale of attempted termination, greed and statutory construction provides an instructive tour of the Copyright Act’s often Byzantine provisions governing termination of grants. It also demonstrates the importance of the equities in the exercise of judicial discretion when construing those provisions.
This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.
To view this content, please continue to their sites.
LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.
For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]