Listen. You’re going to think I’m a bit stupid for raising this. I mean right now, two days from IMPACT and all that. Anyway, I’m watching the New Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh on Playhouse Disney. Pooh, Piglet and the gang are playing ice hockey (Eeyore is in goal). Why do I find this so annoying? I guess it’s because Pooh is the most perfect, most complete English language children’s book character The 20th Century produced (name a better one, win a tenner). It’s reasonable to assume, though, that he’s now walled up in Disney’s Enchanted Castle of Copyright forever. Disney’s is probably the last Pooh.
No one will ever get to reinterpret Pooh, no one will ever ‘revoice’ him or provide a new look for the bear – he is, forever, Disney’s. A compliant US legislature (and, thus, WIPO and the rest of the global intellectual property establishment) will, presumably, happily extend copyright protection indefinitely and ‘new media’ versions (games, online and so on) of Winnie-the-Pooh won’t even need extra protection because they’ll inherit the automatic protection provided to software products (and don’t get me started on DRM). Free Pooh! (actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it always used to wind me up that there was a gopher in Disney’s Hundred Acre Wood too. A gopher).