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Supreme Court Refuses Winnie the Pooh Case

In another chapter in the on-going Winnie the Pooh legal battle, the Supreme Court refused on June 26, 2006, to decide whether the granddaughter of A.A. Milne, creator of Pooh, can recapture control of the copyright, reports CNN.

Milne wrote the Pooh books between 1924 and 1928 and granted a U.S. license to Stephen Slesinger in 1930, which Slesinger signed over to Stephen Slesinger Inc. Later Slesinger Inc. sublicensed certain rights to Walt Disney Prods.

When Milne died in 1956, he did not bestow ownership of the copyright to his family, but to a trust that later became known as the Pooh Properties Trust.

Clare Milne, who was born after her grandfathers death, sought to use a 1976 copyright law to end the previous licensing agreement and regain ownership of the copyright.

Lawyers for Slesinger urged justices to reject the appeal, accusing Disney of paying for Milne's lawsuit due to a 13-year-old dispute over royalties owed to Slesinger. Disney is a co-plaintiff in Milne's lawsuit.

Previously, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Milne had no termination right to exercise.

The court said the agreement entered in 1983 between the trust, Disney and Slesinger was designed to block the family from ever regaining control of the copyright.

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