Dean Scoops LexisNexis Butterworth Prize for Best Article in De Rebus in 2006
Dr Owen Dean from Spoor & Fisher has been awarded the LexisNexis Butterworths’ Prize for the best article by a legal practitioner published in De Rebus in 2006.
Dr Dean received the award for his article ‘Stalking the sleeping lion’ which appeared in the 2006 (July) DR 16. In the article Dr Dean, who acted on behalf of the executor in the estate of the late Solomon Linda, described the monumental battle to obtain royalties from Disney Enterprises for Mr Linda’s song Mbube (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) for the Linda heirs.
The true merit of the article lies in its subject matter. It describes the unique case which Dr Dean brought on behalf of the Executor in the Estate of the late Solomon Linda against Walt Disney Enterprises and various other respondents for an interdict restraining the use of derivatives of the song Mbube written by Solomon Linda, in the stage show and movie, THE LION KING and elsewhere. This was a real "David v Goliath" case in which the Executor took on one of the most powerful companies in the international entertainment industry and won.
The outcome of the case, which was settled, was that, despite the fact that the Executor relied upon rights vesting in him in Commonwealth countries, and only sued for relief in the South African court, a favourable worldwide settlement was achieved resulting in a lump sum payment for past damages and future royalties, on a worldwide basis. The case achieved significant international publicity and this publicity played no small role in motivating Disney and the other respondents to enter into a reasonable settlement of the dispute. The case can be regarded as one of the most successful pieces of litigation conducted by Spoor & Fisher.