Tolkien Estate Sues Warner Bros.

A $US 80 million suit has been filed against Warner Bros by the J.R.R. Tolkien estate, its trustees, and publisher HarperCollins over online gambling and other digital merchandising.

The suit charges Warner Bros, its New Line subsidiary, and The Saul Zaentz Company’s Middle-earth Enterprises division with copyright infringement and breach of contract, alleging  the use of online slot machines and other digital merchandising was never a part of the original deal inked back in 1969.

The Tolkien estate has released a statement saying that gambling services were not only outside the rights granted but are harming Tolkien’s legacy and reputation, reports Deadline. The deal in 1969 included anticipated merchandising common at the time but not electronic or digital rights in media yet to be devised, the suit charges.

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, has made almost $3 billion in worldwide box office. Jackson’s latest film The Hobbit, based on the novel by Tolkien and distributed by Warner Bros, is set to hit the big screen next month.

www.deadline.com