Who Owns Digital Works?; July 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Okerson; 5 Page(s)
Millions of readers since 1926 have found A. A. Milne¿s stories of Pooh and Piglet and their friends Eeyore and Tigger delightfully simple and yet profound. So it is not surprising that James Milne (no relation) of Iowa State University thought that it would be a wonderful idea to put Winnie-the-Pooh on the World Wide Web. A computer attached to the Internet could take a few files containing linked text and pictures from the books and make them available to children of all ages around the world. In April 1995, shortly after he created the Web site, Milne received a very polite letter (as have other Pooh fans) from E. P. Dutton, the company that holds the rights to the text and classic Pooh illustrations, telling him in the nicest way imaginable to cease and desist. His other choice was to sequester a substantial part of his life¿s savings for the coming legal bills.
About the same time, a scandalous new book about the private life of former French president Fran¿ois Mitterand was banned from distribution in print in France. It turned up anonymously on the Internet days later. There was little anyone could do to prevent its rapid digital dissemination.