The estate of legendary fantasy fiction writer J.R.R. Tolkien has filed a lawsuit against film giant Warner Bros. for $80 million, alleging that the company is violating the terms of its licensing agreement by offering an online Lord of the Rings slot machine game and other digital content.
Lawyers for the estate claim that the licensing contract with Warner Bros. covers only tangible personal property such as replicas of The One Ring, hobbit feet, or cardboard cutouts of the film's characters. The suit claims that Warner Bros. is violating that agreement by pursuing interests such as the digital slot game, even though they have not received the permission of the writer's estate to do so.
Beside the slot games, the lawsuit also claims that phone apps, online games, ringtones, hotels, travel agencies, and restaurants are in violation of the existing contract. Tolkien's estate says that the items in question have “outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.”