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June 26, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey | Radio Interview - WLW Cincinnati NewsTalk Radio | John Rizvi

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News Radio 700 WL W's rock I'm sure everybody's seen these ads or you've seen a certainly a print ad for the Winnie the Pooh kills everybody moving.

Yeah, as I said it's really strange because

Winnie the Pooh has always been like the most wholesome, wholesome character out there. And then all of a sudden people are seeing ads for a movie called Winnie the Pooh, Blood and Honey, a new movie gets out. And of course, the one whose stories were first published in 1926. But this is the first time in history Ed, that Winnie the Pooh has been a mass murderer, serial killer person, how is this possible? Well, that's what you and I were talking about this and from, of course, a Mel's beloved Winnie the Pooh er, Piglet, the whole the whole cruises thing. Yeah. Yeah. And wait, you know what, let's, how does this work? As far as copyright goes? How did the estate of Milan, let this get to this stage? And because you would think that there'd be kind of protective of the PU name. It's the golden goose right there, the Golden Bear. Here's, here's our guest, and we love talking to this guy, the patent professor, he is a patent attorney. And he's always great to be on the show, John Rizvi, welcome back.

Thank you always a pleasure to be here. I wish it was for a less disturbing movie. But

well, but John, you know what, let's cut right to the chase here. How does stuff like this happen? Because you would think that they that a state would be very protective of this brand.

Of course, and you said it, right? There's an incredible amount of money on the line. But the estate is helpless once a copyright expires. And a lot of people are surprised to learn that because you get you know, you fall in love with these with these characters. And when they go into the public domain, anybody can do anything with them. Like there's no longer

any exclusive rights that anyone has.

To in this case, Winnie the Pooh or any of the characters because the copyrights expired.

Interesting. Now, it's funny, because as we were, you know, wondering about this topic and whatnot. I have an author, friend, and he writes like science fiction novels, and you publish them on Amazon like, and he's successful. But but he I looked on his site, or I go on his Amazon thing. And he produces a Dracula book like Bram Stoker's Dracula. And is this the same thing? Like because Dracula has entered the public domain, he can now you know, sell books, sell that book and make money off of owning it himself?

Yeah, absolutely. And you say the same thing, although I don't know, you know, like, Dracula doesn't I don't know if they have a huge following of people that have fallen in love with them. And it's not a childhood.

You know, like, nursery rhyme type thing, but like to use a similar example. I don't want a spoiler alert on this movie. But but say in Sesame Street when that copyright expires, Big Bird and Snuffleupagus could conspire to you know, kill Oscar the Grouch, and then like, cook and eat them and go on a carnivorous rage and kill

a killing? You know, this can happen on Sesame Street, and it would, of course, it's hurtful. It's, you know, it bothers people like how can they do this? How can ask her and, you know, how can Big Bird and stuff but the copyrights expire? There's no longer any way to protect that. And that's, that's the worry here. Right? Well, and so Milnes family who came up with a whole Winnie the Pooh thing, after the copyright runs out, or so they no longer receive money for the licensing or name image, like all that, right. Does that go out the window? Yeah, absolutely. Now, the one the one twist is, under copyright law, there is derivative works. So anybody that that, you know, that license is the original, and builds upon it, that derivative work is protected. And that's where, for example, Disney has taken Winnie the Pooh. And those copyrights are still in existence. So what Disney did like the original Winnie the Pooh was not had no clothing, right? So and there was no Tigger in the original so So Disney added some of their own features, they have that classic red t shirt, they have the changing the spelling of honey

and have Winnie the Pooh saying Oh bother and so these are like Disney FIDE versions. So the director of this film like is very careful to only use the Winnie the Pooh aspects that were in the original expired copyrights. So, you know, it's not

Get back on if we did something like the t shirt like you're saying or the honey spelling and stuff like that, then Disney could get involved 100% Yeah, so if they see it, you know, infringe that derivative work that what Disney those copyrights are still in effect. But, but the original was part of the public domain. So you know, if you watch the trailer to the film, it's the trailers out there you can see it doesn't look like the with the Disney FIDE Winnie the Pooh, but it's clear to anybody that's watching and it's the title of the movie is Winnie the Pooh, glutton and honey. So, you know, it's clear, it's Winnie the Pooh, it's clear that piglet is Piglet, your ER but they don't have that, you know, they're very careful to avoid infringement of the derivative work. So again, according to your your literature here, the role is the life of the author plus 75 years or 95 years total. So if Milan released his book 95 years ago, that expires, boom, anything is it's all fair game. Now, let me ask you this. So what about

I mean, obviously, this is a story but But what about a figure like Elvis? Is there ever a point where Elvis is name and that that trademark runs out? Is it the same?

So important distinction, you point out that the trademark rights are different, the trademarks can be renewed.

And they don't necessarily expire? As long as you know, the trademark for example, the Coca Cola is over 100 years old. So trademarks can can go on. So to the effect, that there's consumer confusion that you're talking about a different aspect of law, copyrights are a concern, because there's a lot of big name copyrights becoming coming expired in the next couple of years. You've got Bambi you've got Peter Pan in the next year. So you talk about that.

A sick mind of 2023 is gonna go rampage on Bambi and all these other characters. Well, and one of the things one of the things you point out John, is that a lot of the movies that people are familiar with from from the 80s and 90s, say like clueless and old movies. Those are based on classic stories that obviously been brought up to date. But yeah, I mean, it's different than Alicia Silverstone did go on a killing spree and clueless. She was based on some classic character of Jane Austen or wherever now, but when you take a character and have them go on a killing spree, I mean, think of the stuff they could do with Peter Pan ain't gonna say anything. You

Well, let me ask you. Let me ask you, John as a as a dad, how does this what do you what do you think about this? I'm sure you're How many do you have young children? I do. Oh, yeah. I'm clearly not in favor I understand the law and I understand it's not that there's nothing that can be done. But and I'm very careful now in terms of a spoiler alert but in another interview, I kind of revealed a little bit more of the story than I wanted and afterwards I'm like well, I think I did the world a favor because those poor parents or anyone that has no idea what's going on in Winnie the Pooh Blood and Honey

that's my my public service announcement was like

a couple of minutes or like hey guys, your guess what happens and it's just it's very disturbing and I saw I hear I only did it by example like using Sesame Street as an example but but just just imagine any movie with classic characters that you love I mean, Batman and Robin like what happens if you know sometimes after the copyright expired they turn against one another like any of these stories can take on a completely different Rudolph I mean, like these things, it's where does it end? But you know, what if Rudolph goes carnivorous, or whatever like grows and starts flashing all of the other reindeer like this stuff is hurtful Hey, look at Think about Rudolph has every right in the world to turn on those guys. Everybody treats them like crap. Even Santa treats them like crap. Then when they didn't like oh, hey, Rudolph, my bad eat your buddy. Buddy con a really bad Joe in the back end gay. We'll put you first in line. No.

Use that noses start burning people, baby.

Now, John, is ever been an effort to raise the limit on this right? It's 95 years is there ever been an effort or people get together and say, hey, look, can we make this or is there a way we can kind of finagle things a little bit so apart, a copyright doesn't wear out and thus when the

Who and Bambi and Peter panic setter are saved from you know, I guess Dirty Deeds?

Yeah so this this is my this is my prediction. I mean remember, under the US Constitution copyright law is supposed to be a limited right for authors and and inventors, right intellectual property it's supposed to be limited in time the original copyright was for 28 years after the author's death, it then changed, you know, it kept going up at one point, you know, even even more so. But I think I would, I would venture that 95 years is a long time. And and there is there's some benefit to having

intellectual property expire, at least for patents and trademarks to allow or sorry, patents and copyrights to allow for innovation to allow for new ideas to come forward. It's Disney is lobbied quite a bit for the expansion of copyright. And I think they've been under fire lately for even trying to get beyond 95 years. But I My prediction is it's not going to be extended. And that's that's why the worry with Bambi Peter Pan and a lot of these other there's billions of dollars in licensing and revenues that are potentially at stake. So Disney has an interest in expanding copyright protection beyond 95 years. I don't think it's going to happen. All right, with that John Rizvi, always a pleasure. He is the patent professor, you can check them out at the patent John, always a pleasure and a homerun.

Damier Thank you.

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