About 400 members of a gentlemen's club that partially owns the rights to Winnie the Pooh has agreed to sell the copyright to the Walt Disney Corp. to use for 20 years.
Disney already owns the rights to all of author A.A. Milne's works and characters until 2006, but it wants to extend them until 2026, the British news agency Press Association reported Friday.Members of the Garrick Club said they turned down the chance to pocket about $60,000 each from the sale and decided that the money would be split between providing for the club's upkeep and a charitable trust.
When he died in 1956, Milne left the rights to the honey-loving bear and his friends to five beneficiaries: the Garrick Club; exclusive Westminster School; The Royal Literary Fund; his own family and illustrator E.H. Shepard.
About 400 members of the Garrick Club, established in 1831 for actors, writers and politicians, met to discuss the issue Friday. Prince Charles is one of about 1,000 members, but he was not present at the meeting.
Disney spokeswoman Claudia Peters said talks over the rights were "ongoing" and refused to comment further. It is unclear whether the other beneficiaries will or are required to approve the sale.