Tolkien & Warners Settle “Hobbit” Dispute

After five years, Warner Bros. Pictures and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien have reportedly resolved a rights dispute regarding the former’s film adaptations of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

The settlement, announced in a court filing, ends a drawn out legal scuffle regarding the “digital exploitation” in online slot machines and other games of the various fantasy characters from the hit films.

Both the Tolkien estate and publisher HarperCollins alleged the studio never had rights to license characters for such purposes and launched an $80 million lawsuit. Warners then countersued with a claim that the estate cost it ‘millions of dollars in license fees’ from merchandising when it filed a legal challenge.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the legal filing said the resolution was amicable, and that no fees or costs are to be awarded by the court or recovered by either party.

In 2009, the estate and New Line reached a settlement about profits regarding “The Lord of the Rings” and once that was reached, the studio was able to move forward with “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Source: Variety