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  1. #1

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    Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Disney canceled at the last minute mediation conference to settle claims by Stephen Slesinger, Inc. (Slesinger.) Slesinger moves forward with claims for damages and termination of Disney's U.S. and Canadian rights to Winnie the Pooh. The Walt Disney Company could lose over $15 billion in value following termination of its Winnie the Pooh franchise.


    Press Release: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/st...4561881&EDATE=
    Last edited by Dustysage; 04-09-2007 at 09:10 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    So... the litigation continues... if 15 billion is at stake, what is 450 million in legal fees?
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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    i have no respect or sympathy for the Slesinger family. If it wasn't for Disney heavy marketing this family would not be as rich as they are now.

    What do they expect to do if they win the case. If i am correct Disney owns the image of Pooh that they created. The slesingers would have to take their pooh image, which is the old pooh characters and find someone that has the leverage of seeling the character.


    They are just greedy

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    So...if Disney lost the case, would they still be able to keep their theme park rides and other stuff?

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    So...if Disney lost the case, would they still be able to keep their theme park rides and other stuff?
    It depends, partially on the remedy the opposing councel is seeking, and how much of a penalty the Judge thinks is necissary. And also if an injunction is made to hault further distribution of property by Disney.

    I can't imagine that the Salangers want that... I think they just want cash and a distribution agreement that is favorable to them...
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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Quote Originally Posted by cellarhound View Post
    I can't imagine that the Salangers want that... I think they just want cash and a distribution agreement that is favorable to them...
    Because then Disney can keep doing all of their work with the Pooh franchise and they will get more money out of it.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    They lose another court case and they are going to bail out Pixar for the stock option mess. What a great company.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    So...if Disney lost the case, would they still be able to keep their theme park rides and other stuff?
    I hope the Pooh ride in Critter Country gets taken out from this!

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    >>If i am correct Disney owns the image of Pooh that they created.<<

    No. Disney did not create Pooh. They liscensed him in the 1960's, and only recently purchased the underlying character rights from Milne's heirs. In order to create the films, Disney had to also aquire the US/Canada merchandising rights to Pooh from the Slesinger family, who had purchased these rights in the 30's from Milne. Disney had to renegotiate with the Slesingers for royalties over the years - and when the family complained they had been shortchanged on royalty accounting, Disney rebuffed them, starting the suit. Now the Slesingers don't just want money, they want to cancel the liscence - meaning Disney could not market Pooh products in the US and Canada.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Yes, I believe you are correct Merlin Jones. Their version of most, if not all of the 100 Acre Wood family including Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, and Disney's OWN Lumpy.

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    I hope the Pooh ride in Critter Country gets taken out from this!
    If Disney completely loses this lawsuit a lot more would change than just that attraction being taken out. It would cost the company millions in revenue, licensing rights, etc. past, present, AND future. While you mgiht not like the attraction, that really isn't a reason to hope Disney loses in this lawsuit when you stop and consider just how much they have invested in this franchise, world-wide.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    ^^ As I understand it, in some years Pooh is the top selling Disney character line, outselling Mickey & Friends, Disney Princess, Toy Story or any other line of characters. So there's definitely alot at stake here and it's not surprising that Disney is fighting tooth and nail to not share more of the pie.

    But as everyone has already noted, with the hundreds of millions in revenue Disney already has flowing there's no way the Slesingers would want to stop that, even if they won. It's not in their best interest.
    "I'm working on changing Hollywood...at the studio that fired me twice."
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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    >>But as everyone has already noted, with the hundreds of millions in revenue Disney already has flowing there's no way the Slesingers would want to stop that, even if they won. It's not in their best interest.<<

    Just the opposite, perhaps. Revoking the liscence puts the Slesingers in a great position to resell the rights at a premium. OR to parcel rights out piecemeal to other bidders (you think Sears, Wall-Mart and Target wouldn't pay though the nose for the exclusive rights to Pooh merchandise?). Disney too, even for partial rights - - as they would be unable to even market videos of the films or use the characters at the parks unless they renegotiated favorably.

    The deal here is that Pooh and friends are very valuable in-demand characters and whomever controls those North Americna merchandising rights will be able to wield significant power over the franchise. Nobody is just going to stop selling Poohs - - unless Disney becomes very vindictive (since they own the underlying rights, they could just take their toys and go home for awhile) - - but that would be snipping their own nose off to spite the face.

    It's an interesting case on all sides.

    Moral: give people respect and make their deals generous when the pie is big enough for everyone.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    While you mgiht not like the attraction, that really isn't a reason to hope Disney loses in this lawsuit when you stop and consider just how much they have invested in this franchise, world-wide.
    As I understand it, in some years Pooh is the top selling Disney character line, outselling Mickey & Friends, Disney Princess, Toy Story or any other line of characters. So there's definitely alot at stake here and it's not surprising that Disney is fighting tooth and nail to not share more of the pie.
    Which is why I think they want the matter in court rather than arbitration. I doubt there will be an injunction stopping sales and yanking movies off the shelves. Disney may feel they have a liklihood of success either at a trial or on appeal, which will takes years, and ultimately in the end both sides could settle the matter.

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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones View Post
    >>Just the opposite, perhaps. Revoking the liscence puts the Slesingers in a great position to resell the rights at a premium. OR to parcel rights out piecemeal to other bidders (you think Sears, Wall-Mart and Target wouldn't pay though the nose for the exclusive rights to Pooh merchandise?).

    Neither Sears, Wall-Mart and Target have the same marketing clout that the Slesinger's want... They will want a deal that actually is cheaper than what Disney has offered... The only thing they offer is market, but they will not share their huge profit margin while offering a substantial discount.

    Disney actually offers Slesinger's the best deal, because Disney has the leverage that makes Sears, Wall-Mart, and Target to listen to them.
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    Re: Disney Cancels Mediation over Winnie the Pooh rights

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones View Post
    >>But as everyone has already noted, with the hundreds of millions in revenue Disney already has flowing there's no way the Slesingers would want to stop that, even if they won. It's not in their best interest.<<

    Just the opposite, perhaps. Revoking the liscence puts the Slesingers in a great position to resell the rights at a premium. OR to parcel rights out piecemeal to other bidders (you think Sears, Wall-Mart and Target wouldn't pay though the nose for the exclusive rights to Pooh merchandise?). Disney too, even for partial rights - - as they would be unable to even market videos of the films or use the characters at the parks unless they renegotiated favorably.

    The deal here is that Pooh and friends are very valuable in-demand characters and whomever controls those North Americna merchandising rights will be able to wield significant power over the franchise. Nobody is just going to stop selling Poohs - - unless Disney becomes very vindictive (since they own the underlying rights, they could just take their toys and go home for awhile) - - but that would be snipping their own nose off to spite the face.

    It's an interesting case on all sides.

    Moral: give people respect and make their deals generous when the pie is big enough for everyone.
    That's an interesting way to look at it. I suppose there would be value in negotiating your own agreements for the property that are separate from Disney. However, to duplicate from scratch the many hundreds of different licensing and merchandising agreements that Disney already has in place would be costly and counter-productive (imo).

    Plus, Disney's animated likeness of the Pooh characters would still belong to Disney, the Slesingers would not be able to use that without Disney's permission even if they ultimately controlled the underlying property. And since that is the most familiar and popular version of the characters, the Selsingers would still want to be in business with Disney. The alternative for re-establishing a new version of the character would be to strike a deal for an all new animated incarnation of Pooh with Paramount/Dreamworks or Warner Bros or another studio. Rebuilding the brand all over again is just not going to yield the same results (in the short term) that Disney already has now. (Although TimeWarner certainly would have the cross-platform ability to fully exploit the characters the way they do with Looney Tunes and DC Comics).

    However, they would certainly exact a high price for allowing Disney the privilege of continuing business as usual.
    "I'm working on changing Hollywood...at the studio that fired me twice."
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