Lord of the Rings Slot Game Comes Under Threat
J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate, together with publisher Harper Collins, has filed a law suit against Warner Bros. demanding $80 million in damages for unauthorised merchandising of the Tolkien books.
The estate is claiming that Warner Bros. has gone too far with its merchandising agreement with the creation of an online slot machine.
The original deal dates back to 1969 when a deal was made between the estate and Zaentz Co., the company with the rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The estate is claiming that the agreement only gives rights to create “tangible” merchandise and digital products are not part of it.
The complaint says that the agreement “did not include any grant of exploitations such as electronic or digital rights, rights in media yet to be devised or other intangibles such as rights in service”.
Furthermore, the complaint says that “Gambling constitutes a further category of rights which have never been granted to defendants (and which plaintiffs themselves would never intend to exploit).”
In the past Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate have been to court over unpaid royalties from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in the end that dispute was settled out of court.