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J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Sues Warner Bros. for Copyright Infringement

November 20, 2012  |  12:30pm
J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Sues Warner Bros. for Copyright Infringement

The J.R.R. Tolkien estate filed an $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. for copyright infringement yesterday. The complaint is over the Lord of the Rings trilogy, specifically online slot machines and other digital merchandising, which weren’t factored in when the original deal was signed in 1969.

“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),” the 26-page complaint reads. “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.”

In a statement to Deadline, the defendants said that the exploitation of the author’s work has harmed his legacy and reputation, and the parties are asking for a jury trial. The Tolkiens and Warner Bros. previously faced off in court in 2009 when the estate sued over profits from the Rings films, which resulted in a settlement that lead to bringing more Tolkien works to the big screen.

Read the complete complaint here.

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