Stephen Slesinger sues Disney over Pooh royalties
Winnie-the-Pooh is at the centre of a legal storm over his adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood.
The firm founded by the man responsible for making the bear with very little brain big in the States is dragging Disney through the courts in a bid to get allegedly unpaid royalties.
Lawyers for Stephen Slesinger Inc filed papers at Los Angeles District Court last week calling for redress, claiming "past improper business practices" on behalf of the Mickey Mouse company.
Disney has denied the claims, with a spokeswoman adding that the issue had already been dealt with in past court judgments.
Slesinger purchased the US and Canadian distribution rights for Pooh from AA Milne in 1931.
After a makeover which included the addition of a red shirt, the bear became a global phenomenon.
In 1961, some eight years after Slesinger’s death, the rights were licensed to Disney, which proceeded to produce a series of successful films, TV shows and spin-off books and toys.
Eric George, lawyer for Slesinger, said the family are owed 1.5% to 2.5% in royalties.
A spokesman for the firm said Disney has been concealing the amount of money it has earned from Pooh mechanising.
Disney has retorted that the latest legal move is "baffling", citing a September 25 decision by Judge Florence-Marie Cooper that rejected the Slesinger company’s claims.
(Source: The Press Association)
A.A. Milne was born in London on the 18th of January 1882. It was in 1923 that Winnie-the-Pooh made his first appearance in the poem Teddy Bear. E.H. Shepard, born in 1879, became known as the ‘Man who drew Pooh’. Shepard’s illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh and the friends of the Hundred Acre Wood have become classics in their own right and are recognised all over the world.