Gambling News

Warner Bros and Tolkien Estate Reach a Deal over LOTR Slot

- July 5, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The two entities reached an amicable agreement.

Tolkien Estate sued Warner over the release of the Microgaming’s Fellowship of the Ring slot.

Video slots are by far the most popular online casino games. Research and publicly available figures show that most of the revenues come from slots and players spend most time playing slot games. That is why online casino operators aim to offer only the finest slots to their customers and there is big competition between casino software providers.

Microgaming has been one of the leading software developers, with 2 decades of experience in the industry. Casinos that feature Microgaming’s slots are very popular among players, as they offer some of the best slots.

Microgaming’s has chosen numerous interesting themes to best their slots on, including some of the most popular stories, books, comics and films in history. Lord of the Rings is definitely one of the most popular film trilogies, based on the novel of the same name written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Microgaming developed a very popular slot game, based on the first film of the trilogy, but the game sparked a lot of controversy, due to the clash over property rights between Warner Bros and Tolkien’s relatives.

Tolkien Estate Sued Warner Bros in 2012

After Microgaming’s slot, based on the film which is in turn based on Tolkien’s novel, was released, the author’s family and publisher, represented by Tolkien Estate, sued Warner Bros for granting Microgaming the right to develop a game based on Lord of the Rings. The family claimed that the licencing was unauthorised and that Warner Bros had no right to sell the intellectual property to a company that would use it for gambling purposes.

Despite the fact that Warner Bros had the right to sell branded merchandise, the family and publisher felt that the right didn’t apply to things that have to do with gambling, an act which they labelled ‘morally questionable’. Warner Bros on the other hand, believed that they are legally allowed to pass on the rights for the films that have been produced by them.

No legal action has been taken until 2012, even though a slot game based on Gollum, one of the characters from Lord of the Rings has been developed and released earlier. It has been reported that the attorney who represents the family and the publisher received a promotional email for the LOTR slot and that’s when the family was alarmed.

The Terms Weren’t Disclosed

Microgaming responded swiftly and took the game off the market, but Tolkien Estate felt that a lawsuit is in order, in an attempt to stop other entities from using Tolkien’s legacy in a context that they don’t see as positive. The Estate requested $80 million, alleging that Tolkien’s fans are furious.

Warner Bros on the other hand, felt that Tolkien Estate stripped them from the right to sell the brand name, thus causing a lot of financial damage from the company. The dispute was finally settled after a legal battle that lasted for five years. The terms of the deal weren’t published, but it was reported that the parties reached an amicable arrangement.

Regardless of what the terms of the settlement were, it is clear that Warner lost a lot of money in the past few years, and casino players were denied the opportunity to play a highly interesting game.



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