Warner Bros. and Tolkien Estate settle epic Lord of the Rings lawsuit

Film rights disputes are almost always a nasty business, especially when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters the likes of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Today, it's being reported that Warner Bros. and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien have reached an agreement regarding the rights dispute for both of the above mentioned films.

Upon settling the legal battle, WB film studio and the legendary author's estate have declared a court room cease-fire on a case that was introduced all the way back in 2012. The dispute was brought to the legal forefront when characters from Tolkien's swords and sorcery series began appearing in online slot machines and other games. Upon the discovery that the characters were being used in the alternative media gaming department, publisher HarperCollins alledged that the studio never had the rights to license out the characters to be used in this manner. Warner Bros. then counter-sued, stating that the estate cost the studio “millions of dollars in license fees” from merchandising upon filing a legal challenge.

As it happens, the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed at this time, but an on-record legal filing has stated that the two parties have indeed resolved the matter "amicably." Furthermore, it's been decided that no fees or costs are to be awarded by the court, and that neither party is within their right to recover fees or costs for the proceedings.

In wanting to stave off the media hounds (like me, I suppose), a Warner Bros. rep issued a statement to Variety on the studio's behalf which claimed, “The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.” In turn, the legal team representing the Tolkien estate failed to comment on the conclusion of the case.

It's not exactly the most rousing conclusion to a 7+ year legal battle, but at the very least, it looks as if both parties have decided to end the no-doubt exhaustive legal skirmish and move on with their lives. It's a good thing too, because the sequel to the WB's smash video game hit SHADOWS OF MORDOR is poised to release a sequel to the game on August 22, 2017

Extra Tidbit: Russell Crowe was once a potential backup to play the part of Aragon in the LOTR trilogy.
Source: Variety



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