Lord Of The Rings Litigation Settled For GBP 62 Million

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jul 7, 2017

Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate reach an “amicable” settlement after five years of litigation

Remember those epic online slots featuring JRR Tolkien’s famous Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, sadly and suddenly withdrawn several years ago?

A lawsuit over an alleged “abuse of merchandising rights” associated with the licence has raged between the Tolkien family and licensee Warner Bros for the past five years, but has now come to an “amicable” close.

It was a closure that cost Warner Bros GBP 62 million in a legal settlement, and what the licensee claims is millions in lost sales.

The fight started when Priscilla Tolkien, daughter of the legendary British author, allied with her father’s publishers HarperCollins to sue the studio over abuse of merchandising rights, claiming that Warner went too far in developing video games and apps based on the cult novels in contravention of the 1969 licensing rights, which granted only permission to develop figurines, stationery and clothing.

The family claimed that Tolkien fans were further upset when characters from the novels started appearing in online slot games, albeit quality productions from top developers.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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