Astrid Lindgren heirs sue publisher for millions

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.

Astrid Lindgren heirs sue publisher for millions
Ulla Monta; Tina Buckman-Swedish Institute/

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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Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters

Russia has launched a poster campaign in Moscow featuring ostensibly pro-Nazi quotes from the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the film-maker Ingmar Bergman, and the Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. "We are against Nazism, but they are not," the poster reads.

Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters

Oscar Jonsson, a researcher at the Swedish Defence University, tweeted out a picture of photograph of a Moscow bus stop carrying the propaganda poster, which has the word ‘they’ written in the colours of the Swedish flag. 

Another poster accuses King Gustaf V of being a Nazi. 

Jonsson told The Local he was certain that the posters were genuine, but suspected that they were intended for Swedish consumption, as at least one of them had been placed outside the Swedish Embassy in Moscow. 

“They’re more of a provocation to Sweden than something for the Russian people,” he said. 

Mikael Östlund, communication chief at Sweden’s Psychological Defence Agency, argued the opposite case, that the posters were primarily designed to justify the war in Ukraine to Russia’s own population. 

“Accusing western countries of Nazism is a part of the justification for their own war,” he said. “This is probably directed towards its own population. This has been one of the justifications for the war in Ukraine as well.” 

Others even suggested they might even be a preparation for military action .

“Are there any limits to these guys? Or are they preparing a ‘denazifying’ operation against Sweden as well?” tweeted Sweden’s former prime minister Carl Bildt

The Swedish foreign ministry said it was aware of the posters, but refused to comment. 

“We have no intention of engaging in a public polemic with the Russian organisation ‘Our Victory’, which is reportedly behind these posters,” a spokesperson told TT.  “In Russia, smears about ‘Nazism’ have been used repeatedly against countries and individuals who are critical of Russia’s actions.” 

At a press conference in Germany, Sweden’s prime minister called the campaign “completely unacceptable”. 

“But it is important to say already right now that Sweden could become the target of an influence campaign by foreign powers,” she said. “It’s important that all Swedes, and not least those of you in journalism, recognise that there is a risk that foreign powers will try to influence the Swedish debate climate.”