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Company Town | Deals

May 21, 1996|Times Wire Services

Cable: John Malone, chief executive of Tele-Communications Inc., sold his entire holdings in the cable operator's international unit last month for $9.78 million. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Malone sold 450,000 shares of Tele-Communications International Inc. on April 1 for $21.75 each. The international shares, which on Monday fell 25 cents to $19.75, have lost 9.7% since they closed at $21.875 on April 1. A spokeswoman for the Englewood, Colo.-based cable TV company said Malone was not available to comment on his reasons for the sale. However, Malone retains a "substantial interest" in the unit indirectly through his stake in Tele-Communications Inc., which owns 82% of the international unit, said LaRae Marsik, the TCI spokeswoman.

Legal affairs: Walt Disney Co. lost an appeal in federal court over the copyright to "Bambi" and faces a trial to determine whether it can continue to use the story. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court ruling that found the story, adapted by Disney in a popular animated film, was no longer under copyright. Twin Books Co. of Stamford, Conn., bought the rights to the story from the heirs of the book's author, Felix Salten, in 1993. The privately held publisher sued Disney the next year, accusing it of copyright infringement. Disney argued that the copyright had begun in 1923 when the book was published in German, without a U.S. copyright notice, and expired in 1951. The appeals court disagreed, saying the U.S. copyright didn't begin until 1926, when the book was published with a notice of U.S. copyright. The copyright, which expired in 1954, was properly renewed by Salten's daughter, the three-member court ruled, and the sale of it to Twin Books was therefore binding.

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