If Disneys decade long battle over the merchandising rights to WINNIE THE POOH wasnt enough, Walt Disney Co. is now in a legal wrangling with a U.K. children's hospital over the copyright to J. M. Barrie's classic novel, PETER PAN, reports THE LONDON TELEGRAPH.
London's Great Ormond Street Hospital questions the legal rights of Disney to publish in August 2004 the book, PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS, written by syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry and crime-novelist Ridley Pearson, which is being billed as a prequel to PAN. The hospital has earned millions in royalty fees from PAN after Barrie donated the rights to the hospital's charity before his death in 1937.
Hyperion, Disney's New York-based book division, claims that the original novels copyright ran out, but the hospital claims that the Copyright Extension Act of 1998 extended the U.S. copyright until 2023.
"The Walt Disney Co. has a longstanding relationship with Great Ormond Street Hospital in the U.K., which includes continuing to pay substantial royalties for usage of PETER PAN by Disney in countries where the copyright remains in effect," the company said in a statement.
The hospital did not comment.