Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Warner Bros Counter Suing Tolkien Estate

The lawsuits continue to fly around The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as Warner Bros has counter-sued the Tolkien Estate for lost licensing revenue from the sale of online games and casino slot machines bearing images and concepts from the two trilogies. In November the Tolkien Estate sued Warner Bros and Saul Zaentz Company for breach of contract for trying to licensing the movies for those purposes. The Tolkien Estate claims the licensing contract doesn't cover those areas, the other two believe it does.

If I understand it right, basically Warner Bros is suing the Tolkiens for suing them and causing various licensing plans to be halted. To my knowledge you can't sue for being sued so chances are this lawsuit will get thrown out but not before lawyers get to add to their billable hours. The only thing I can think of is Warner Bros is laying the legal groundwork to help their cause when negotiating a settlement for the breach of contract lawsuit. If the previous lawsuits are any indication, this will be settled. While the Tolkien Estate loathes the movies because not a 100% faithful re-creation of the novels), they love the financial windfall. The previous lawsuits between the Estate and WB have all been settled once a dollar figure has been worked out and chances are that will be the case here. Keep in mind that lawsuits are not about right and wrong. Its really about the means to keep paying the lawyers and the will to fight (or really its a game of chicken on the will to fight since jury trials are very unpredictable so lawyers prefer to avoid them).

1 comment:

  1. I don't know about anyone else, but I find this situation pretty tragic. Personally, I think the Tolkein Estate has every right to determine the boundaries of the commercial use of Tolkein's fiction- it's their property! Trying to sue the owner of the source material for not letting you make more money is completely bard.