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Tolkien estate angered by downloadable Lord of the Rings games

Tolkien estate angered by downloadable Lord of the Rings games

The merchandising agreement between the estate and Warner Borhters only covers tangible products.

The Tolkien estate has launched an $80m lawsuit against Warner Brothers for taking its merchandising efforts outside of their original agreement.

The merchandising deal held by Warner Brothers, New Line and Saul Zaentz only covers tangible products. The estate notes that Warner Brothers has 'with increasing boldness' overstepped the agreement and is particularly unhappy with the notion of video games only available through Facebook or on tablet and mobile devices.

The Tolkien estate is not claiming all Lord of the Rings based video games are included in this complaint however. It is only the digital only titles that the estate considers 'highly offensive'.

'The original contracting parties thus contemplated a limited grant of the right to sell consumer products of the type regularly merchandised at the time such as figurines, tableware, stationery items, clothing and the like,' reads the complaint. 'They 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 services.'

Lord of the Rings has made an appearance on Facebook in the form of The One Ring from Welsh developer Microcosm, although the title has since re-branded itself as The Mythic Isle and removed any references to Tolkien's Middle Earth.

The legal action was allegedly first triggered in 2010 when one of the estate's lawyers received a spam email advertising the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game.

One of the three companies under fire, Saul Zaentz, previously threatened legal action against Southampton pub The Hobbit back in March, serving it with a cease and desist order over its name. The pub has been trading for more than 20 years

Most recently, the Lord of the Rings has received the Lego video game treatment with the title launching last week to a strong critical reception.

10 Comments

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Harlequin 22nd November 2012, 07:53 Quote
from reading elsewhere , they are mainly angered by the gambling games featuring the characters
Jaybles 22nd November 2012, 08:54 Quote
I see their point. I get offended by Facebook games too.
Anfield 22nd November 2012, 09:01 Quote
angered or spotted an opportunity to ask for more money?
Shirty 22nd November 2012, 11:42 Quote
Spotted an opportunity to make $80,000,000 by the sound of it ;)
r3loaded 22nd November 2012, 12:28 Quote
Oh look, someone else who doesn't understand that software by definition is an intangible product. The manner of distribution (disc or digital download) is completely irrelevant.
Roskoken 22nd November 2012, 16:11 Quote
"...... threatened legal action against Southampton pub The Hobbit back in March, serving it with a cease and desist order over its name. The pub has been trading for more than 20 years"

**** the Tolkien estate.
Showerhead 22nd November 2012, 17:02 Quote
Wonder what this means for the MERP project that recently got it's c&d from Warner Brothers. According to this case Warner Brothers wouldn't have the rights to a download only game.
asura 22nd November 2012, 18:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roskoken
"...... threatened legal action against Southampton pub The Hobbit back in March, serving it with a cease and desist order over its name. The pub has been trading for more than 20 years"

**** the Tolkien estate.

No, no, no. It's not the Tolkien estate that applied a cease and desist, it was one of the three companies that where given rights to produce products. Perhaps one could argue that they should / should have stepped in. However, if they were unawares then how would they know to?
Pinguu 24th November 2012, 00:32 Quote
Typo in the picture caption- 'Warner Borhters'
Sni9er 26th November 2012, 12:40 Quote
The merchandising agreement between the estate and Warner Borhters only covers tangible products.


borhters .. something slipped through the proof read.
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