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Pooh Case Wrinkle: Milne Heir Seeks Rights

A new wrinkle has developed in the decades old battle over Winnie the Pooh licensing rights. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reported that Clare Milne, the granddaughter of POOH creator A.A. Milne, has been grant a chance to regain the copyrights from the current rights holders, the Slesinger family. Judge Florence-Marie Coopers new ruling allows Milne to appeal Cooper's earlier, tentative decision, which ruled the request invalid.

"There is substantial ground for a difference of opinion as to the court's holding," Cooper said in the order. "An immediate appeal may also materially advance the ultimate termination of this litigation."

This federal suit is separate from the decade old state suit between Pooh copyright holders Stephen Slesinger Inc. and the Walt Disney Co. over alleged unpaid royalties. The Milne suit was filed in November 2002 and would give her and the heirs to Pooh illustrator E.H. Shepard the rights to the characters. Milne has said she would then license the rights to Disney on an exclusive worldwide basis.

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Rick DeMott
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