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Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online 

General Discussion  » Tolkien Estate suing Warner Brothers.

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35 posts found
  OG_Zorvan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 646

 
OP  11/20/12 10:50:22 AM#1

http://www.gamespot.com/news/tolkien-estate-sues-over-lord-of-the-rings-online-games-6400381

"Just weeks before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due to theaters, Warner Bros. is facing a high-profile lawsuit. The Tolkien estate has sued the company for $80 million, claiming Warner Bros. is "usurping rights to which they are not entitled" with regards to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit merchandising materials, specifically virtual slot machines and online games.

The thrust of the suit (obtained by The Hollywood Reporter) is the Tolkien estate's assertion that Warner Bros. has violated a decades-old rights agreement that allows the company to create only "tangible" merchandise based on Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and not digital offerings."

EA CEO John Riccitiello's on future microtransactions: "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time...We're not gouging, but we're charging."

  User Deleted
11/20/12 11:01:24 AM#2

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

  nationalcity

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/31/04
Posts: 325

11/20/12 11:03:02 AM#3
I'm so sick of seeing these lawsuits about stupid **** it's getting rather old and you can tell how damn greedy people are......
  Papadam

Novice Member

Joined: 12/09/07
Posts: 2127

11/20/12 11:07:51 AM#4
Originally posted by skydiver12

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

Nothing in the article indicates that this would effect lotro in anyway. This is about slo machines and facebook/mobile games.

Dont see why they now would have any problem with a game that is over 5 years old.

Dont know whats ridicullous about the store, one of the fairest f2p versions there is.

If WoW = The Beatles
and WAR = Led Zeppelin
Then LotrO = Pink Floyd

  botrytis

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 2445

11/20/12 11:08:24 AM#5
Originally posted by nationalcity
I'm so sick of seeing these lawsuits about stupid **** it's getting rather old and you can tell how damn greedy people are......

Well, if they did not get permission to produce an online LOTR gambling game, then they should be sued. It is about rights and how someone oversteps those rights.

 

Not all suits are frivolous. The Apple - Google - Samsung fiasco comes to mind.

"In 50 years, when I talk to my grandchildren about these days, I'll make sure to mention what an accomplished MMO player I was. They are going to be so proud ..."
by Naqaj - 7/17/2013 MMORPG.com forum

  DavisFlight

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2388

11/20/12 11:11:12 AM#6

Good. Hopefully the rights to make an MMO go to a company that'll make a more worthy game with it. Though, given the way the industry has been the last 8 years, the next LotR MMO will probably be even worse than LotRO.

 

But what goes around comes around, Turbine should never have abandoned Middle Earth Online for WoW clone design.

  JeroKane

Elite Member

Joined: 2/21/06
Posts: 4823

11/20/12 11:12:12 AM#7
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by skydiver12

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

Nothing in the article indicates that this would effect lotro in anyway. This is about slo machines and facebook/mobile games.

Dont see why they now would have any problem with a game that is over 5 years old.

Dont know whats ridicullous about the store, one of the fairest f2p versions there is.

The ridiculous loot boxes, with keys clearly fall under gambling. It's simple as that.

Those were introduced only about a year ago and have been expanded with RoR release.

I would be cheering if Turbine is forced to remove it from their game!

  muffins89

Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 1253

11/20/12 11:12:14 AM#8
i think this lawsuit was made up to create hype.  how else would "The Hollywood Reporter" get the story.

I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  FrodoFragins

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2757

11/20/12 11:12:28 AM#9
It's an interesting case.  As long as a game has a physical box then the Tolkien Estate feels they have no case otherwise they would have sued over video games a long time ago.  If they win, I guess it's possible they could sue regarding the last two LOTRO expansions which were digital only.  I doubt they would win though.  I video game doesn't change just because it's delivered differently.  It's digital info either way.
  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

11/20/12 11:13:22 AM#10
80 million is not really high stakes in Warner Bros. terms.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  OG_Zorvan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 646

 
OP  11/20/12 11:22:38 AM#11
Originally posted by Icewhite
80 million is not really high stakes in Warner Bros. terms.

No, but being cut off from doing what they want can be extremely detrimental. YHow much are they losing if forced to shut down the games they're being sued over? How much are they losing if they have to remove the lockboxes from LotRO?

That $80 pricetag on the suit itself could very well just be the tip of the iceberg if Tolkien's estate is successful.

EA CEO John Riccitiello's on future microtransactions: "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time...We're not gouging, but we're charging."

  muffins89

Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 1253

11/20/12 11:28:01 AM#12
Originally posted by OG_Zorvan
Originally posted by Icewhite
80 million is not really high stakes in Warner Bros. terms.

No, but being cut off from doing what they want can be extremely detrimental. YHow much are they losing if forced to shut down the games they're being sued over? How much are they losing if they have to remove the lockboxes from LotRO?

That $80 pricetag on the suit itself could very well just be the tip of the iceberg if Tolkien's estate is successful.

they're just hyping the movie.  getting the word out to all the shut-in lotro players by tieing the lawsuit directly to the game.   (note i don't think lotro players are shut-ins)  they are making sure everyone knows about the movie.

I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  Leiloni

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/16/12
Posts: 335

11/20/12 11:28:12 AM#13
Originally posted by nationalcity
I'm so sick of seeing these lawsuits about stupid **** it's getting rather old and you can tell how damn greedy people are......

It's not about being greedy at all. It's about someone else stealing and profiting off of intellectual property that you created. They're illegally making money off of your life's work - how would you feel? J. R. R. Tolkien came up with the LOTR books and at some point either he or his representatives bought rights to that intellectual property. So people are breaking the law technically.

  OG_Zorvan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 646

 
OP  11/20/12 11:33:18 AM#14
Originally posted by muffins89
Originally posted by OG_Zorvan
Originally posted by Icewhite
80 million is not really high stakes in Warner Bros. terms.

No, but being cut off from doing what they want can be extremely detrimental. YHow much are they losing if forced to shut down the games they're being sued over? How much are they losing if they have to remove the lockboxes from LotRO?

That $80 pricetag on the suit itself could very well just be the tip of the iceberg if Tolkien's estate is successful.

they're just hyping the movie.  getting the word out to all the shut-in lotro players by tieing the lawsuit directly to the game.   (note i don't think lotro players are shut-ins)  they are making sure everyone knows about the movie.

Yes, because surely the Tolkien estate wouldn't worry about such things as being found in contempt of court, frivolous lawsuits, misuse of the judicial system, etc., etc., as long as they could hype a movie.  And of course, Warner Brothers also doesn't care if they get caught alongside them.

EA CEO John Riccitiello's on future microtransactions: "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time...We're not gouging, but we're charging."

  Uhwop

Elite Member

Joined: 3/20/10
Posts: 1597

11/20/12 11:42:05 AM#15
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by skydiver12

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

Nothing in the article indicates that this would effect lotro in anyway. This is about slo machines and facebook/mobile games.

Dont see why they now would have any problem with a game that is over 5 years old.

Dont know whats ridicullous about the store, one of the fairest f2p versions there is.

 You're right, it has nothing to do with LoTRO.  It's about games that they didn't give anyone permission to make. 

Warner Bros. doesn't own The Hobbit or LoTR, they have no right to make anything that they can profit off of.  The Tolkein estate didn't give ayone permission to make a gambling game using thier property, and Warner Bros. didn't get permission to have two mobile games made using the IP. 

The Tokein estate has every right to sue Warner Bros, and the only people being greedy is WB.  They should have respected someone elses IP and obtained the rights through a lisence to produce the games.  Turbine has a lisence to contunue producing the LotRO; that doesn't give WB the right to make 2 more games. 

 

Are some of you saying that if you created something that because world famous you wouldn't mind if a corporation like Warner Bros. used it to make themselves money, giving you nothing in return, let alone even bothering to ask you if it was ok? 

 

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

11/20/12 11:45:16 AM#16

Case seem about other products and WB overstepping their laws by forcing shutdown of other games.

Still Lotro as many other f2p / freemium games introduced lockboxes which are practically gambling. 

It would be interesting it Tolkien Estate knew and wanted to do something about these.

  Papadam

Novice Member

Joined: 12/09/07
Posts: 2127

11/20/12 11:54:24 AM#17
Originally posted by Uhwop
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by skydiver12

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

Nothing in the article indicates that this would effect lotro in anyway. This is about slo machines and facebook/mobile games.

Dont see why they now would have any problem with a game that is over 5 years old.

Dont know whats ridicullous about the store, one of the fairest f2p versions there is.

 You're right, it has nothing to do with LoTRO.  It's about games that they didn't give anyone permission to make. 

Warner Bros. doesn't own The Hobbit or LoTR, they have no right to make anything that they can profit off of.  The Tolkein estate didn't give ayone permission to make a gambling game using thier property, and Warner Bros. didn't get permission to have two mobile games made using the IP. 

The Tokein estate has every right to sue Warner Bros, and the only people being greedy is WB.  They should have respected someone elses IP and obtained the rights through a lisence to produce the games.  Turbine has a lisence to contunue producing the LotRO; that doesn't give WB the right to make 2 more games. 

 

Are some of you saying that if you created something that because world famous you wouldn't mind if a corporation like Warner Bros. used it to make themselves money, giving you nothing in return, let alone even bothering to ask you if it was ok? 

 

Actually, WB does have the rights to make games based on Lotr (and theyve made severa), EA had the rights before. The tolkien este just claims that thoose rights dont include solt machines and mobile games and that thoose kind of games are a violation. 

If WoW = The Beatles
and WAR = Led Zeppelin
Then LotrO = Pink Floyd

  dancingstar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/19/11
Posts: 269

11/20/12 12:49:24 PM#18
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by Uhwop
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by skydiver12

Hard to tell if it even affects LOTRO (turbine - owned by warner) since it's not directly mentioned in that article.

If it does, i hope it puts an end to that ridiculous store. (which it will not sadly).
Probably only the box keys get removed.

Nothing in the article indicates that this would effect lotro in anyway. This is about slo machines and facebook/mobile games.

Dont see why they now would have any problem with a game that is over 5 years old.

Dont know whats ridicullous about the store, one of the fairest f2p versions there is.

 You're right, it has nothing to do with LoTRO.  It's about games that they didn't give anyone permission to make. 

Warner Bros. doesn't own The Hobbit or LoTR, they have no right to make anything that they can profit off of.  The Tolkein estate didn't give ayone permission to make a gambling game using thier property, and Warner Bros. didn't get permission to have two mobile games made using the IP. 

The Tokein estate has every right to sue Warner Bros, and the only people being greedy is WB.  They should have respected someone elses IP and obtained the rights through a lisence to produce the games.  Turbine has a lisence to contunue producing the LotRO; that doesn't give WB the right to make 2 more games. 

Are some of you saying that if you created something that because world famous you wouldn't mind if a corporation like Warner Bros. used it to make themselves money, giving you nothing in return, let alone even bothering to ask you if it was ok? 

Actually, WB does have the rights to make games based on Lotr (and theyve made severa), EA had the rights before. The tolkien este just claims that thoose rights dont include solt machines and mobile games and that thoose kind of games are a violation. 

A bit more complicated than that. Warners bought the license to make the games from an outfit called Saul Zaentz Corp, who trade as Middle-Earth Enterprises.  

[EDIT: Thinking about it, this is probably wrong. Warner / New Line bought the rights to make the movies & have been acting as if all and sundry merchandising was included in that deal, the EA games such as the first Battle for Middle Earth & some forgettable action games based off of the movie trilogy were sublicensed directly by Warner without reference to SZC. Battle for Middle-Earth II dragged in material about the war in Dale, the siege of Dol Guldur &c. which wasn't in the movies and so needed permission from SZC. Warners seems to be purporting to license the gambling games based on the movie property. LOTRO is unconnected with the Warner / New Line movies, as has been pointed out it was licensed by Turbine direct from SZC before they were bought up by Warners. Oh, and as an aside for fans of corporate conspiracy theories, one of the co-plaintiffs of the suit is Harper Collins who have the publication rights for Tolkien's books, and have since 1989 been part of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's media empire which is a competitor of AOL-Time-Warner in just about every sector in which the latter operates.]

The suit alleges that Zaentz were not in fact entitled to sell such rights where no "tangible goods" were involved [and thus Warner were not entitled to sublicense anyone to make online games].  The wording of the suit could affect LOTRO although that game is not specifically mentioned: it talks about how the original 1969 sale of film & merchandise rights for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings ". . . 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."

If this does result in LOTRO being shut down it will pretty much kill any chance of another Middle-Earth based MMORPG being made, since a new game would have to be licensed by the Tolkien estate rather than SZC, and Chris Tolkien is very protective of his father's work -- understandable, certainly, but it seems likely that if he had had any say in the matter the Peter Jackson movies would never have been made.

  FrodoFragins

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2757

11/20/12 1:35:59 PM#19

There's no basis for LOTRO being shut down:

 

1) Middle Earth video games have been made since the 80's.  The Tolkien Estate couldn't just leap in now and claim violation on digital products.

 

2) The lawsuit is for money, not revocation of the Tolkien license due to breach of contract.

  OG_Zorvan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 646

 
OP  11/20/12 2:16:33 PM#20
Originally posted by FrodoFragins

There's no basis for LOTRO being shut down:

 

1) Middle Earth video games have been made since the 80's.  The Tolkien Estate couldn't just leap in now and claim violation on digital products.

 

2) The lawsuit is for money, not revocation of the Tolkien license due to breach of contract.

I don't believe LotRO would be shut down. But I believe it could be affected in few ways, per the available knowledge of the suit.

Most importantly, did the original license Turbine was granted ( Warner Brothers only received the licence as a transfer of license via the absorbtion of Turbine, not as a new or amended license as far a we currently know ) allow them the right to make digital-only content for LotRO, including expansions, the cash shop, etc? Remember, F2P ( and everything done to support F2P including cash shop, etc., ) was done after Warner Brothers acquired Turbine/LotRO. So they very possibly over-stepped their license right from the beginning.

If not, in the case of the expansion content they most likely will have to a.) release only boxed content in the future or b.) pay an additional licensing fee through the estate or its selected representative to do so in the future, as the lawsuit would cover any fines/assessments up to the present.

Of course, the cash shop and lockboxes could both be deemed outside of their license and permissions, thus forcing those to be shut down. I see the lockboxes being the most likely casualty per the specific protest against the franchise being used in conjunction with "gambling".

EA CEO John Riccitiello's on future microtransactions: "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time...We're not gouging, but we're charging."

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