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Lord of the Rings The Courts Games

Tolkien Estate Sues Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines 211

An anonymous reader writes "The Tolkien Estate has filed an $80 million copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the use of Lord of the Rings slot machines. The complaint hinges on a contract between the estate and Warner Bros. which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game. According to the estate (PDF), 'Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.'"
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Tolkien Estate Sues Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines

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  • by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:16PM (#42048469)

    ...have enough FUCKING money yet?

  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:20PM (#42048539) Journal

    Don't Warner Brothers have enough money yet without making LotR slot machines?

  • How dare they... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:22PM (#42048571)

    How dare they attempt to flagrantly abuse the creative works created by an author 80 years ago, when the great-grandchildren of said author deserve a life of luxury for all of their blood, sweat and tears!

  • Get some (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niado ( 1650369 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:23PM (#42048587)
    Though the litigiousness of the Tolkien Estate (via the ancient and gnarled iron grip of J.R.R's son Christopher []) usually gives me indigestion, my organs seem unaffected by this case. LOTR-related merchandise is often tacky to a ridiculous level, but it seems WB has gone over the deep end here.
  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @08:32PM (#42049415) Journal

    None of us know whether WB have the rights to make the slot machines, whether for casinos or Toys-R-Us, as we haven't read the contracts.

    We also don't know that money will soothe the estate's hurt feelings. If the parties settle and the slot machines remain, then it was about the money. If they settle and the machines go, or it goes to trial and the estate insists all along that the machines must go, then it isn't (at least entirely) about the money. It is too soon to rush to judgement on this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @08:43PM (#42049519)
    I'm more repulsed that LOTR was published over 50 years ago (The Hobbit about 80) and that Tolkien died 39 years ago and yet copyright still goes on. I'm not against copyright. I'd be okay with 20 years but it's de facto perpetual now. I think a slot machine is in bad taste, but that we've decided to create royalty in our society is worse. The human ability to share information and knowledge may be our single largest evolutionary advantage over other species and yet we now hinder it. It is in our nature to create. I'm okay with rewarding that creativity but I'm disgusted that we let it create a royal class. At one point in time, some guy does something great and becomes king. His heirs get the kingdom from there on out. We decided that wasn't a great idea so we renamed it, but it's the same system. Personally, I'd like the story a lot better if it didn't create rich worthless heirs that do nothing to benefit society themselves and reap government enforced income.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:41PM (#42050955)

    1 The literary estate of an author is often the only thing he has to give to his children --- and that is an incentive to be productive.

    Whereas everybody else only has a small amount of real and personal property to bequeath.
    Property purchased with the money derived from one's life's work.
    I'm failing to understand why authors should get some special deal.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak