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Winnie-the-Pooh Parodied In Wookie-the-Chew 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the oh-bother dept.
pickens writes "Erik Hayden writes in the Atlantic that children will see endearing portraits of Chewbacca rendered in the style of "Winnie-the-Pooh" in the book of drawings "Wookie the Chew," a tribute to the combined genius of George Lucas, A.A.Milne and E.H.Sheppard, by artist James Hance released on September 1st. Samples from the book are available at Hance's web site. Hance bases his right to parody Winnie-the-Pooh on Fair Use as parody under which certain uses of copyrighted works, which would otherwise be considered infringing, are permissible. Interestingly enough, the rights to the original Winnie-the-Pooh were the subject of an 18-year feud in which Walt Disney corporation fought off a challenge to its ownership of the rights ending in 2009 when a judge in Los Angeles struck out a claim against Disney lodged by the family of Stephen Slesinger, a comic book pioneer who bought the copyright to Pooh in 1930 from the bear's British creator, A.A. Milne. Stories of Pooh's adventures were originally created by Milne in the 1920s, based on a toy bear owned by the author's son, Christopher Robin."

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Winnie-the-Pooh Parodied In Wookie-the-Chew

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    A bit of cheerful innocence peaking through all the troubles these days.

    • by arivanov (12034)

      Funnily enough is closer to the original than the horrid Disney interpretation. It is probably matter of taste, but I like Pooh as drawn in the original Milne books, not the cute-n-cuddly Disney version.

  • It's just too bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Friday September 03, 2010 @05:38PM (#33470214)

    ...that although Fair Use may protect the author from LOSING a law suit, it probably won't protect him from BEING sued.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is true, but it also is likely not to protect him from losing.

      In Copyright Law, one type of fair use is parody. Parody has a specific definition where the parody is specifically critiquing or commenting about the source material. Post-suit rationalizations also won't fly.

      In this case, the artist is just combining two different and copyrighted works (a mash-up). Mash-ups are currently in a legal gray area.

      Finally, if this were to come down to a lawsuit, there's a four factor test for fair use (regard

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1. the purpose and character of your use
        2. the nature of the copyrighted work
        3. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
        4. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

        3 and 4 are (IMO) pretty clearly on this guy's side. He's only taking a minor character and I don't think the book competes with anything Lucas is trying to sell.

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  • Correct Title (Score:1, Redundant)

    by alphatel (1450715) *
    The actual book title is Wookie The Chew [wookiethechew.com] as evidenced in this photo [crunchgear.com] and this article [ology.com].
    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      No need to edit my comments mod - the title once again is Wookiee the chew [wookieethechew.com] not Wookie the chew. You must spell Wookiee correctly I have no idea why you keep misposting htis article but don't blame me then mark me redundant and edit my post.
  • The book should be called "Chew the Wookie". Giving up the poetic link to Milne's book not only makes the title syntactically correct, but the double entendre would probably increase books sales dramatically.
  • Hance bases his right to parody Winnie-the-Pooh on Fair Use as parody under which certain uses of copyrighted works, which would otherwise be considered infringing, are permissible.

    Does anybody really think that will hold up? I'm pretty sure the courts will see this as a blatant attempt to profit from the works of others.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Surt (22457)

      I for one think that yes, the courts would eventually uphold the law and the precedents surrounding the validity of such use. Long after the author was bankrupt and dead of course, but such is the uselessness of our court system.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        I for one think that yes, the courts would eventually uphold the law and the precedents surrounding the validity of such use.

        If this use had any validity. Personally, I'm not seeing the "parody" angle. Exactly what is he trying to parody? Look at the website. These works would more appropriately be called "homage" than parody.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Odds are he'd survive claiming he was parodying WtP, but George Lucas will sue him into the ground.

          • by omnichad (1198475)

            If he claimed that he was parodying the Star Wars Holiday Special, George Lucas would slowly walk away without making eye contact - careful not to give away that there is such a thing.

    • I'm pretty sure the courts will see this as a blatant attempt to profit from the works of others.

      Isn't it?

  • Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Volntyr (1620539)
    What happened in the Court case was (from Wikipedia but my friend was the actual lawyer representing the Slesinger family in this case) On 19 February 2007 Disney lost a court case in Los Angeles which ruled their "misguided claims" to dispute the licensing agreements with Slesinger, Inc. were unjustified,[20] but a federal ruling of 28 September 2009, again from Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, determined that the Slesinger family had granted all trademark and copyright rights to Disney, although Disney must p
  • Winnie-The-Pooh's name comes from a soldier's pet bear from Winnipeg named Winnie. Christopher Robbins named his stuff bear after that pet bear.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Winnie-The-Pooh's name comes from a soldier's pet bear from Winnipeg named Winnie. Christopher Robbins named his stuff bear after that pet bear.

      Great! Now what does Pooh mean?

  • Parody has a very specific legal definition. IANAL but basically if you make some kind of derivative work that doesn't actively parody the object it's being derived from then it's just ripping off it's fame and style and you're not protected as a parody.

    MacGruber is a parody... Micky Mouse pooping on GWB's head is not a parody.

    • by Volntyr (1620539)

      Parody has a very specific legal definition. IANAL but basically if you make some kind of derivative work that doesn't actively parody the object it's being derived from then it's just ripping off it's fame and style and you're not protected as a parody.

      MacGruber is a parody... Micky Mouse pooping on GWB's head is not a parody.

      Then explain how Robot Chicken uses the parody defination?

  • ...Lord of the Peeps.

  • Pooh is not Winnie's name. Pooh is what he is. Winnie is a Pooh Bear. Chewie is a Wook[iee].

    Wookiee the Chew sounds stupid.
    It just doesn't make any Sense!
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:22PM (#33471022)
    Shouldn't the copyright on something published in 1920 have expired by now?

    "As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first."
    120 fucking years?!? How exactly does having copyright extend much longer for works for hire (i.e. owned by a corporation) then for works copyrighted by the author himself encourage the creation of new art?
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Star Wars wasn't published in 1920.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pagedout (1144309)
      Sorry but I can't let this one pass without commenting. How can you look at this and say the author is getting a bad deal here?

      Let's see we have 2 posibilities here:
      1. 70 years + Remaining Segment of Authors Life
      -or-
      2. 95 years + 0-25 years of time from creation to publication.

      So the author's rule is always better if he lives more than 50 years after creating his work. If the work is published imediatly the author's rule is always better if he lives more than 25 years. Assuming he lives in the US wit
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      If I decide to create some important work of art, I'll be sure to give myself a dollar first! But if the author lives 60 years AFTER publishing, then that would be a total term of 130 years.

    • by syousef (465911)

      Shouldn't the copyright on something published in 1920 have expired by now?

      "As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first."

      120 fucking years?!? How exactly does having copyright extend much longer for works for hire (i.e. owned by a corporation) then for works copyrighted by the author himself encourage the creation of new art?

      It doesn't of course, but the argument is since the work can be sold for longer it is worth more and there is therefore more incentive to create it.

      What's ironic about this particular law is that it encourages the murder of the creator, since this makes the copyright expire sooner. It's no accident that it's life plus the lifetime of anyone old enough to kill the creator.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DrusTheAxe (565765)

      Shouldn't the copyright on something published in 1920 have expired by now?

      Copyright expires?

  • Uhhhh nooo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cylix (55374) * on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:26PM (#33471914) Homepage Journal

    The funny thing about the blurb is it is entirely wrong.

    Disney does not own the copyright to Winnie The Pooh, but rather they have a royalty agreement with the actual copyright holder.

    The court battle and disagreement stemmed from a disagreement on royalties regarding merchandise with mixed characters. (ie, Pooh and Mickey backpacks would not be counted towards revenue generated under the Pooh brand).

    That is like crazy wrong.

    • by hey! (33014)

      Disney's depiction of the characters from Winnie the Pooh is distinct from (and in my opinion inferior to) the E.H. Shephard versions. In part this may have been because of the needs of animation. Shephard's characterizations were somewhat ragged stuffed toys we animate with our imaginations.

      Depicting Pooh as Chewbacca is a stoke of genius. Lucas's huge accomplishment is that he envisioned a somewhat grimy, lived-in science fiction world that was different from the obviously plywood sound stages of low

  • by 16Chapel (998683)
    That's nice, but it's no Alien vs Pooh [godxiliary.com].
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  • Penny Arcade did a crossover satire between Strawberry Shortcake and the recently-released video game Alice. The holders of the Strawberry Shortcake trademark (American Greetings) filed a CaD order. The claim is that fair use doesn't apply either because Strawberry Shortcake is not a literary character (untrue) or because Strawberry Shortcake is not being parodied; Alice is. We never found out whether this would stick because they withdrew the strip.

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