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Astrid Lindgren heirs sue publisher for millions

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Astrid Lindgren heirs sue publisher for millions
Ulla Monta; Tina Buckman-Swedish Institute/www.imagebank.sweden.se
15:58 CET+01:00
Astrid Lindgren's heirs are taking Swedish publisher Bonnier to court for misrepresenting the beloved children author's works and in the process swindling them out of millions of kronor.

In a couple of weeks, Stockholm district court will settle the protracted case, which has been ongoing since 2006.

"It is very, very sad that this has to go to court," Rasmus Ramstad, CEO of Bonnier-owned film company SF on Tuesday.

Attempts to resolve the dispute it outside the courtroom have been fruitless.

"We have tried, but it could not be done," said Ramstad.

Nils Nyman, Lindgren's grandson and CEO of the family business Saltkråkan, which owns the rights to the works, said that it is important "to put his foot down."

"Astrid Lindgren herself was very careful that no one pick at her work. Our task is to ensure that her work is not misrepresented or exploited in ways that do not conform to Astrid's desires," said Nyman.

The origins of the row stem from SF's release of a double CD called "Christmas in Astrid's World," with sound clips from the films about Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga and Lindgren's other well known and beloved characters.

However, the CD also contains music and lyrics that have no connection to Lindgren, and the writer, who died in 2002, never approved the product, said Nyman.

The dispute also involves royalty payments for more than 20 other CDs. According to Saltkråkan lawyer Håkan Sjöström, SF owes the company several million kronor.

"We believe that compensation is regulated by existing contracts and we pay in accordance with the agreements," said Ramstad.

Sjöström believes it is "inconceivable" that SF, with annual turnover exceeding 800 million kronor ($117 million), would refuse to pay royalties.

Ramstad declined to discuss the financial claims.

"It is now up to the court to make a decision, so I really have no comment," he said.

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