11:04 22 November 2012
Shortly before the premiere of the eagerly anticipated film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, in Wellington, New Zealand, the heirs of late author J.R.R. Tolkien are suing the producers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies over alleged exploitative merchandizing.
The Tolkien family is reportedly upset by the type of digital marketing used, which includes the use of online slot machines. Based on reports they are suing Warner Bros, its New Line subsidiary, and rights holder Saul Zaentz Co. for $80million.
The family is thought to be claiming that the merchandizing agreement they’ve signed is limited to tangible products, such as clothing and figurines, and that it didn’t include electronic rights.
“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,” the family claims in the lawsuit.
The family apparently also claims that lengthy discussion over the matter with the producers ended nowhere. It is understood that they fear that the scope of online merchandizing might increase when The Hobbit movie is released.
Warner Bros. declined to comment on the claims.
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