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LoTR Lawsuit Threatens Hobbit Production

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-we-wantsss-it dept.

Lord of the Rings 427

eyrieowl writes "J.R.R.'s heirs are suing for royalties on the LoTR films. Apparently they haven't gotten any money due to some creative accounting. Peter Jackson ought to understand...he had to sue the studio for much the same reason. As for The Hobbit? FTFA: 'Tolkien's family and a British charity they head, the Tolkien Trust, seek more than $220 million in compensation...[and]...the option to terminate further rights to the author's work.'"

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427 comments

Read this elsewhere (-1, Redundant)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717727)

Funny, I'd read this elsewhere and wondered why I hadn't seen it on slashdot.

Re:Read this elsewhere (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717867)

You probably read it on Digg since Slashdot is the leach of Digg.

Rob Malda rolls in the cash for ripping off other sites.

Re:Read this elsewhere (5, Funny)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717961)

You, good sir, are the first Troll in a thread about the Hobbit. Expect to be turned to stone.

Re:Read this elsewhere (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718399)

See sig below.

Apparently J.R.R. Tolkien warned us in advance of the actions his heirs would take WRT copyright.

Re:Read this elsewhere (0, Redundant)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718441)

Aw crap. I've waited years for the right story to reference my sig, and then I waste the golden opportunity provided by this article on the measly parent to this post.

Well, make the same joke a little better...

Apparently Tolkien's heirs are Olog-hai (see sig below).

Threatening Hobbit Production... (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717733)

You know, if I were a Hobbit, I wouldn't let any lawsuit threaten my Hobbit-producing activities...

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717813)

Ah the imagery.

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (5, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717925)

Unfortunately, you aren't a Hobbit, and this kind of stuff is so common it has it's own name and Wikipedia entry. Look up Hollywood Accounting [wikipedia.org] . It's pretty simple and extremely sleazy. Remember that profits are simply income minus expenses. If you make $100,000 but it costs you $40,000 in expenses, you have $60,000 in profits.

Most movie earnings are reported in gross sales. Profits are slim, on purpose.

Let's say you are a Hollywood producer.

1) Make a deal with somebody to "share the profits" by using their idea.
2) Produce the movie by hiring sub-contractor "companies" that happen to have you has the CEO. These "companies" are very expensive, and payed based on gross sales.
3) Movie gets produced, makes record sales.
4) The "companies" previously hired are payed based on the sales numbers, leaving no money left to call a "profit".
5) ???
6) Screwed partner makes nothing because there are no profits to share.

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717965)

Has Stan-Lee even been paid for any of the spiderman movies?

Last I knew they were pulling that age-old BS on him as well.

never EVER take net points with a movie. gross points are the only ones of value as no movie EVER makes money due to hollywood accounting.

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718237)

is this related to the Hollywood - Jew connection? My uncle told me lots of accountants are Jews, and also that they are greedy and cheat people.

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718467)

ah...good ol uncle adolf. How we miss him.

Ob. Futurama (4, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718153)

Leegola: What else can we slay? Is that a hobbit over there?
Titanius Anglesmith: No, that's a hobo and a rabbit. But they're making a hobbit.

Re:Threatening Hobbit Production... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718447)

I thought all the studio's cared about was the artists? That was why we have the RIAA and DMCA. How is thsi different from piracy? In both cases the artost gets hosed I woudl say. The difference is in this case it is some big companies stealing millions instead of millions of fans stealing a few dollars. I would think the artist woudl prefer the fans gettign something. They shoudl charge the companies more than 2,000 times the value for each instance of creative accounting.

Damn leeches (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717753)

These books should be public domain by now.
God damn extended copyright might kill another production.

Ob. quote:

  "Is that a Hobbit over there?"

"No, it's a hobo and a rabbit, but they're making a hobbit."

Re:Damn leeches (4, Interesting)

MindKata (957167) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717993)

"extended copyright might kill another production"

No, its the greedy, self serving, money grabbing, Narcissistic, control freaks who so often seek powerful jobs in big companies like Time Warner who are to blame (as usual). Their Narcissistic self interest at the expense of others forces people to finally take action against this kind of unfair treatment. They have tried for years to get some kind of fairness out of Time Warner.

Re:Damn leeches (1)

Boomerang Fish (205215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718031)

From a cursory reading of the article, this isn't about copyright but about a contract the studio had signed years ago.

AFAIK & IANAL, but I don't think a contract, freely signed, expires just because copyright does, unless of course there is a clause in there stipulating it.

--
I drank what?

Re:Damn leeches (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718085)

If they didn't have extended copyright, they wouldn't have needed a contract to begin with. That's what he's saying.

Re:Damn leeches (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718219)

Whoosh.

If the copyright on The Hobbit had expired, nothing could stop Time Warner, or anyone else for that matter, from making a film adaptation of the book.

Re:Damn leeches (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718289)

Exactly. They'd be even more free to screw people on the movie profits as they've already done! It's hilarious to see so many people on here actually defending a studio has screwed people who have worked on these films out of money and is a prominent RIAA member. The hypocrisy of this thread is astounding.

Re:Damn leeches (4, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718437)

Yet, I'm sure you saw all 3 LOTR movies in the theater at least once as you'll probably see the Hobbit (not to mention other movies made by that studio) which will allow them to continue their screwing over of people who may or may not deserve a cut in the money.

Re:Damn leeches (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718053)

While I despise Christopher Tolkien for shamelessly milking his dads work, I can't see how you'd blame him for suing when they didn't pay him a dime for the first three movies.

They made a deal, and, as with Jackson, they tried to claim that they didn't make any cash so they didn't owe him anything. Give me a fricking break.

Re:Damn leeches (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718149)

Agreed, it should have been in the public domain when I bought my copy of the trilogy in 1970.

They're building one of those "Habitat Houses" down the street from me, and I wondered to my daughter if all the workers had tattoos of hobbits on them.

"Why?" she asked.

"Hobbit tat for humanity".

Ok, I'll get my coat...

Re:Damn leeches (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718353)

These books should be public domain by now.
God damn extended copyright might kill another production.

I agree the books should be in the public domain. But let's be honest here -- it's the usual movie production studio douchebaggery that is going to kill this production, not copyright. You know damn well they aren't thinking "Gee if only there were reasonable terms for copyright we wouldn't have to deal with the estate!" No, they are fully on board with life + infinite arithmetic progression copyright terms, they just want to twist the rules so they're the only ones who benefit. They've made their bed, and now they are trying to weasel their way out of sleeping in it.

Well, fuck them I say. I'd rather everyone who was contractually owed money for those movies gets it even if in my ideal universe they wouldn't be owed anything, rather than let the fuckers responsible for the current situation get away with this shit.

Re:Damn leeches (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718457)

These books should be public domain by now.
God damn extended copyright might kill another production.

In this case, I'd say it's not just copyright laws. Hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org] is in my eyes more clearly douchebaggery than using the broken copyright system. It might be absurd that the estate maintains a copyright what should be public domain, but it's even more absurd for New Line Cinema to claim the Lord of the Rings movies didn't make a boatload of money.

It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazardou (-1, Offtopic)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717763)

hazardous substance....

Famous last words.... I for one welcome the 50,000 year old blob that has been living under the sea and has decided to pay us a visit. I'm not sure once it discovers the plastic "pool" that is floatin around in the pacific that it will like us too much though...

Re:It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazar (0, Offtopic)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717791)

wow - so yea... no more posting on slashdot while on major cold medicines... if only there were a delete feature.

Re:It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717845)

Are you suggesting it's here to do battle with TimeWarner?

Ah, fresh article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717771)

Now I have to read the article itself, because I can't get the story from the "Funny" comments, that's how fresh it is.

Bad news all around (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717773)

...on the one hand, the studios are greedy schmucks out to screw everyone all around.

OTOH, the next of kin should not be in the picture here. These are works
that should be in the public domain now for a variety of reasons. The
worthless relatives should not have the ability to interfere with any of
the greedy schmucks. The fact that a charity is involved is just a nice
red herring to confuse things.

Imagine if the Bard's estate could screw around with people like this.

That's the direction we are headed.

Re:Bad news all around (0)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717833)

> These are works that should be in the public domain now for a variety of reasons

Maybe, but they're not. And I'm guessing the family is the trustee and so have every right to protect his works.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717857)

I think I speak for, well, a whole lot of people when I say, "Fuck 'em."

Re:Bad news all around (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717971)

"We must fuck the hobbitses we must."

Re:Bad news all around (1, Offtopic)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717871)

Yup, just like every slave owner was perfectly within his rights to beat his slaves to death.

Would you have cheerfully joined the (mandatory) posse to track down a runaway slave?

Re:Bad news all around (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718181)

Wow, that could be the worst argument I've ever heard.

If I made myself a chair, would that then be a slave chair, just because I owned it?

I agree that copyright has gone overboard, but I disagree that it is therefore a bad thing in general. In this particular example, Tolkien spent the better part of a decade putting together LOTR. It's fair that he should be compensated for that, for a reasonable period.

I don't agree that his kids should be able to hoard the IP for the rest of their lives, but I do think that copyrights on creative works that last for a few decades are acceptable. LOTR was written, what, 60 years ago? That's not cool.

Re:Bad news all around (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718209)

Yup, just like every slave owner was perfectly within his rights to beat his slaves to death.

Wow, you are comparing efforts to enforce copyright to efforts to track down a sentient human being and force him back into servitude at gunpoint? I think you need some perspective.

(At least you didn't Godwin yourself though ;)

Re:Bad news all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718341)

I assume you are talking about the US. If so, the above statement is not entirely accurate. Each state had differing "slave codes" which outlined how slaves could be treated and what punishments we applicable for what crimes. If a slave owner had killed his slave apart from what was considered legal, he could be fined and possibly have his slaves confiscated.

Re:Bad news all around (2, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717953)

Once you're dead, your work should hit the public domain. Copyright was not enacted so your works could be locked up forever, it was enacted so you could reap the rewards of your creativity when you needed it, like, you know, when you're alive.

Re:Bad news all around (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718033)

Oh good, motivation for murder. Copyright should have nothing to do with the life of the author.

Re:Bad news all around (2, Informative)

rilian4 (591569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718125)

A bit of an exaggeration but correct in essentials. Author's life plus 15 years to take care of any family left behind in the event of the author's death was the original duration of US copyright. The problem was that a loophole was left allowing Congress the power to modify it. Fast forward 200+ years to now and you can see what has happened. Disney is a big example. Walter Elias Disney died in 1966. Under the original terms, copyrights to all his works would have expired in 1981 but here we are in 2009 and currently looking at something like 2017 or 2020 before they theoretically expire.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718233)

but here we are in 2009 and currently looking at something like 2017 or 2020 before they are extended again

Fixed that for you :)

(Yeah, I know, you said "theoretically", but let's be real....)

Re:Bad news all around (1)

gid (5195) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718265)

You mean something like 2017 or 2020 before they lobby to get another Mickey Mouse act pushed through congress?

Re:Bad news all around (1)

blueskatz (241135) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718151)

And I suppose any money and other property you own should be forfeited to the public as well? Copyrights like this allow an author to provide for his family after death, just like any other property. And by controlling it, the family is able to influence how it is used, in order to properly protect the author's memory. At some point in time, the copyright will eventually expire, but until then, the family should be able to protect their rights. I want to see a Hobbit movie as much as anyone, but your opinion is really misguided.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718199)

Intellectual property != physical property. If you want to provide for your family after your death, get life insurance.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718183)

It certainly was not.

Copyright was enacted in order to motivate content creators to create content If it takes a long copyright period to motivate creators, then that is what we need.

It should be quite obvious thought that the long copyright we have now are far in excess of what is needed to motivate creative people to create.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718355)

Copyright was enacted in order to motivate content creators to create contentà If it takes a long copyright period to motivate creators, then that is what we need.

Right and wrong. Previously, content creators weren't protected. A reasonable length of time is fine. If some will stop creating content because they disagree with the time of protection, others will fill that void.

Re:Bad news all around (3, Insightful)

Krinsath (1048838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718193)

While I generally agree with that, I understand that having the works immediately available in the public domain could very well place undue hardship on the creator's family should the death be sudden and unexpected. "Normal" people have life insurance policies generally tuned to their income to provide for that, but in the case of a a professional "creator" of works, quantifying that income can be tricky, and I don't think the loss of rights should be immediate to the family of the creator if one exists.

Also, my utter lack of faith in humanity says that particularly unscrupulous individuals would "arrange" things so that an author who didn't want to sell the rights to their work would have the creator killed and poof! Public domain now for me to create my crappy movie and destroy the work. While I wish I could believe that people would never sink so low, this IS an article about movie studios trying to claim a major film trilogy made NO money at all. If they thought they could get away with it and make money, I don't doubt that some of them would do it.

I can see a 20 year period after death being reasonable as any children they had should be grown capable of self-support by then and the incentive of making a derivative work of something 20 years old will often lose its allure unless it's a seminal work of culture in which case that's EXACTLY the compact society has made with the creator...we get the stuff back to inspire the next generation of creators. The current system we have is simply abusive of society as a whole though.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718373)

There are a variety of solutions. I would go with "author's life or 15 years, whichever is longer" -- or something like that.

Re:Bad news all around (3, Insightful)

ifdef (450739) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718227)

Maybe a lot of slashdotters aren't old enough to have kids, but it seems to me that providing for one's widow and/or children is one of the things that an author would likely be concerned about, and probably even consider to be a "need".

Nobody is talking about locking up works "forever". This is about books that were written and published long after Mickey Mouse made his first appearance, and Mickey is still copyrighted (which seems to be stretching it a bit TOO far in my opinion).

Re:Bad news all around (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718497)

Providing for his kids is all well and good. But I think most folks would agree that by the time the author's children are adults they should fend for themselves. And in this case, we're talking about the man's grandkids.

Re:Bad news all around (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717883)

Imagine if the Bard's estate could screw around with people like this.

Oh, man... the implications... I bet none of the Bard's Tale games would have ever been released!

Re:Bad news all around (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717915)

It should probably be noted that the studio in question is Time Warner Inc. I'm not sure why that piece of info wasn't in TFS.

Something Good Could Come of It (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718075)

...on the one hand, the studios are greedy schmucks out to screw everyone all around.

Remember that these "greedy schmucks" are the ones lobbying and influencing the law. You, I, the Slashdot community, we do not. But we are tax paying constituents. The only time we influence this is when we vote--and let's face it, it's not a voting issue.

When Sonny Bono and Walt Disney effectively controlled the government into changing these laws, they were done selfishly. Nowhere were we represented. To say that Senator Bono acted with only his constituents in mind is a joke.

So suddenly the double edged sword is coming back to cut one of the prime promoters today of these laws. Historically these term limits of enforceable copyright have only gotten longer. And their implications for the internet and digital media has been more than encumbering. I'm not saying these laws don't help the big companies and artists make more money. I'm only saying that it's getting to a ridiculous point. Time Warner/New Line Cinema might take it so hard from the Tolkien family that they realize their lost future profits 50 years from now is a small price to pay compared to all the material they could have in public domain to make movies and derivative works from.

Lastly, was anyone ever wondering why there was no Lord of the Rings movies officially for so long? It's because the Tolkein family was just looking for someone to get screwed by. They probably saw through all the other scams.

Hopefully this is a wake up call to those who have extended copyright for far too long. It will only start hurting themselves and actually inhibiting/endangering their profession.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718147)

I am a descendant of Adam, and since the bible was written about him, I should get royalties on every Bible sale!

Re:Bad news all around (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718343)

I am a descendant of Adam, and since the bible was written about him, I should get royalties on every Bible sale!

Yeah, but apparently the Bible was divinely inspired, so you have to give a cut of profits to God.

The Vatican has offered to handle the transfer.

Re:Bad news all around (3, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718365)

I sincerely hope that it is not commonly held opinion that the Bible is "written about him [Adam]." He is the first human that the Bible describes, and mention is made of him also in the Christian Greek scriptures, but the Bible is about much more than simply Adam.

Re:Bad news all around (2)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718495)

You already do, but since everyone is a descendant of Adam, and there are far more people than Bible purchases, you're getting paid a fraction of a cent (rounded down to the nearest cent, of course).

(Nitpick: If I write a book about George Bush, Bush's children do not get royalties for that work. My children, however, would. Thus, Adam's children wouldn't get royalties for Genesis, but Moses' children would...)

Re:Bad news all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718321)

The worthless relatives should not have the ability to interfere with any of
the greedy schmucks.

If I created a copyrighted work then I would hope that my children would be able to benefit from it, especially if I were to die unexpectedly, such as from a car crash or terminal cancer. Of course there should be a limit to how long after death someone should receive the benefits of copyright (not 90 years + life of the author, or whatever it is now), but just because someone has died does not mean all of their works should be released to public domain. I'm not saying that you are implying that, but just that some people have this radical view about how and when copyrighted works should be public domain.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718357)

Yet we all know the studios are in it for the money. We know they will work out the numbers so the film makes no money.

Yet there is so much money that everyone who wants to make a quick buck will get in bed with these known con artists. When the con appears, everyone cries out like this was something unexpected. I really have to ask. Given that we know the studios are cheats, who will sign a contract based on future recipts? People who are greedy, and willing to take the risk, perhaps?

As I see it the studios have invested at least 300 million in these movies, and probably twice that much. Investor supply this insane amount of money because they expect an insane return. Would the movie had been made it large returns on investment were not going to be great? Do the heirs, who did not right a single word, really care about the movie at all, or that it makes books which are based on wonderful language in a farce? Sure assembly line books like Harry Potter suffer nothing by going into movie form, but this is literature.

Re:Bad news all around (1)

heritage727 (693099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718483)

Imagine if the Bard's estate could screw around with people like this.

That's the direction we are headed.

Especially bad since in this case we need to be able to say "A plague o' both your houses."

Thought experiment (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717775)

This is going to sound wacky, but I really just want to think it through.

What if we made the kind of fraud that's apparently exercised by music and movie studio accountants, punishable by death?

How would that play out in society and culture?

Re:Thought experiment (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717835)

It wouldn't work.

A jury is not going to want to punish you unless you are "one of the little people".

PR flacks will make sure that the white collar criminals maintain a well manicured reputation.

Ultimately, the little guy will end up the one on the hook for the new draconian punishment. ...something sounds familiar here.

Re:Thought experiment (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717957)

You don't have to make it "punishable by death," just flipping make it ILLEGAL! I'm so tired of hearing about a-hole musician managers like Klein ripping off artists and swindling them out of song rights, talent agents taking their pounds of flesh from artists and athletes, and trusted personal financial advisors diverting funds from their clients to their own coffers. Just make it clearly ILLEGAL. Draw strong outlines around what compensation these people are allowed to make while in the service of their clients. Create template contracts that uninitiated people can use to protect themselves. As it stands, you need a lawyer and an accountant to make sure your lawyer and accountant aren't fucking you!

Re:Thought experiment (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718017)

You don't have to make it "punishable by death," just flipping make it ILLEGAL! I'm so tired of hearing about a-hole musician managers like Klein ripping off artists and swindling them out of song rights, talent agents taking their pounds of flesh from artists and athletes, and trusted personal financial advisors diverting funds from their clients to their own coffers. Just make it clearly ILLEGAL. Draw strong outlines around what compensation these people are allowed to make while in the service of their clients. Create template contracts that uninitiated people can use to protect themselves. As it stands, you need a lawyer and an accountant to make sure your lawyer and accountant aren't fucking you!

I think we're talking about two different things. You're arguing about unfair contracts. What the article is talking about (I believe) is out-and-out fraud regarding how much money is earned for a given movie.

Re:Thought experiment (2)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718431)

I think we're talking about two different things. You're arguing about unfair contracts. What the article is talking about (I believe) is out-and-out fraud regarding how much money is earned for a given movie.

Not quite. This is essentially fraud on a moral level, but legally it's nothing more than an unfair contract. Look up Hollywood Accounting [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Thought experiment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718173)

Stop beating around the bush here, there is a common theme in who gets to fuck you in society. Jews are the lawyers, the swindler accountants, and the madoffs of the world. Jews have been robbing us blind since WWII. The Holocaust has just been something to excuse their behavior because they were so persecuted. NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg as another example of a jew taxing hardworking americans to death while his net worth went up 10 billion. Jews are the problem in this country and jews need to be stopped. I personally wouldn't be opposed to a new holocaust if you can throw the thugs life rob and rape idiots in there too.

Re:Thought experiment (1)

arthurp (1250620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718179)

I don't think you should hold the accountants liable. Hold the company liable. And punish it with death by revoking it's charter and liquidating it or something like that. And maybe the government could take control of the brand and certain critical assets so the company cannot just reappear under new ownership.

Re:Thought experiment (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718337)

I don't know, but it'd make a great movie! I'll share profits with you for the rights to the story!

Hey check it out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717811)

Emad had been laying awake for about two hours. It was 10 in the morning and he had already missed two classes, Remedial Linux and Diversity & Tolerance. Had Emad been totally awake he would have groaned. Today's Diversity & Tolerance class was teaching how to put condoms on erect penises, something right up Emad's alley. Well, at least the erect penis part; he knew nothing about condoms.

Slowly, Emad lumbered out of bed. His joints ached. His head throbbed. What had happened the night before? He could feel dried feces in his pants and was pretty sure his asshole was ripped wide Oh! He remembered a little too suddenly as he almost tripped over a pile of spent whippits, several beer bottles, and a giant black 48" oil-filled dildo mounted on a chainsaw engine. He had had Michael Sims and CmdrTaco over last night for a few cold ones but it seemed that, par for the course, they had all ended up sharing a few hot ones instead, that being their euphemism for homosexual encounters.

Emad made his way to the bathroom, and moaned. It was in complete disarray. The sink was filled with congealed diarrhea, the floor was sticky with drying piss, and the bathtub looked like a long-neglected water trough on a pig farm. It would take Emad hours to clean this mess. He tried hard to ignore the stench as he sauntered toward the toilet. Didn't Taco and Sims respect anything? Emad gave so much to them and their cause.

Upon opening the lid on his broken toilet he saw the special gift Taco had left for him: An inhumanly giant turd. It had to be at least a foot and a half in length! Taco had been planning this one, as he saw unchewed peas, corn, and peanuts that all told the story of Rob Malda's special dinner the night before. The monster turd curled around the inside of his toilet. Not wanting to let Rob Malda's magical ass-gift go to waste, Emad reached inside the toilet and gently grasped the brown meat.

Moaning, Emad began devouring the slimy but firm stool. He tasted the honey on the peanuts; he felt the peas pop as he chewed through the delicious crap-worm. His cock immediately sprang to life as he chomped down bite after bite of the mutant ass-birth. Could life get any better? Down to the last bit of his meal, he gagged and coughed. Needing to wash it all down quickly, Emad yanked his tiny Iranian dick and aimed upward, pissing hard, catching the golden rain in his mouth.

After what seemed like a painful eternity, his bladder was empty and urine was running down his chin in rivulets. Emad, in the midst of his ecstacy, wondered: Could life get any better?

They crossed up their net and gross reciepts... (5, Informative)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717843)

Looks like the deal was done maybe 40 years ago:

Under the contract, New Line was to pay a percentage of all gross receipts, after deducting 2.6 times the production costs, plus advertising expenses in excess of a certain amount, according to Eskenazi. (from TFA)

Nowadays it seems as though even the average slashdotter knows you take a portion of gross, because nothing involving MPAA or RIAA related-companies ever clears a 'net profit' (wink wink).

It looks like Tolkien & co where less saavy 40 years ago, and essentially signed up to get screwed. I hope the movies were profitable enough that they can still clear some money for the family, but 2.6 times production costs of those movies is a hell of a lot, and 'advertising expenses in excess of a certain amount'- especially if that amount was a 1969 dollar amount, and not a percent-well, they could really end up with a contractually dictated 'nothing.'

Re:They crossed up their net and gross reciepts... (5, Insightful)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718285)

It looks like Tolkien & co where less saavy 40 years ago, and essentially signed up to get screwed.

Less savvy or just not very forward thinking in terms of technology.

[nerd-speak]

Tolkien pretty much gave away the movie rights because he (and whom else ever in his camp) never thought you could even make a movie out the LOTR. Would you have wanted to see a film adaptation using early 1970's film technology? Not as fun to watch if the Balrog looks Godzilla and the Nazgûl like some kind of Medieval Mothras, not to mention Treebeard looking worse than he even did in the films, or primitive miniatures making the cities of Middle Earth look like something made of Lego(s).

Technology may have been Saruman's downfall, but it allowed for a pretty cool set of movies.

[/nerd-speak]

but but the MPAA is for the artists? (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717865)

The MPAA is fighting to make sure the artists and copyright holders get what they are owed? Did they forget or is it just a bunch of BS and you should not feel bad about piracy and ignore them?

Re:but but the MPAA is for the artists? (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718035)

The MPAA is fighting to make sure the artists and copyright holders get what they are owed? Did they forget or is it just a bunch of BS and you should not feel bad about piracy and ignore them?

When they say "artists" they mean their accountants.

Re:but but the MPAA is for the artists? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718315)

The MPAA is fighting to make sure the artists and copyright holders get what they are owed?

He's dead, Jim.

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

I don't see anywhere in there where the US constitution allows anyone but an author or inventor to be granted patent or copyright. How exactly does that twisted logic work, anyway? Is New Line Cinema British or something?

Even Tolkien himself asked only for protection for living authors. Our constitution has become completely meaningless. As all our law is based on it, then the rule of law is dead in the US.

Funny Add (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717881)

Talk about targeted advertizing, not only is my add on this page for LOTRO, but it also shows the dollar bill pyramid replaced at the top with Sauron's great eye. Spot on for the story.

Let me spell this out clearly (1, Informative)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717891)

"Under the contract, New Line was to pay a percentage of all gross receipts, after deducting 2.6 times the production costs, plus advertising expenses in excess of a certain amount, according to Eskenazi." The simple lesson of hollywood accounting is this: you take a percentage of the gross - nothing more, nothing less. It might mean you get a smaller percentage, but there's nothing they can do to bury anything or remove anything.

Dragon magazine... (2, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717921)

Dragon Magazine had a cartoon bit about this ... apparently they weren't even allowed to use the word "ring" anymore...

"Hey, someone get the phone - its been circular metal band-ing off the hook!"

Business men are jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28717963)

Jews trying to outjew other jews. Haha, what a great way to form a society. No wonder why other societies who go the shrewd jew route end up collapsing into anarchy, then the shambled get picked up by societies that look out for their own, like those of islam.

Just look at the middle east for example. With the exception of the Israel, which is propped up by the U.S., it is mostly Moslem. We should take heed this lesson, as the middle east is the location of the world's oldest societies. We are still young yet, but we can see on the other side of the world our future.

Today's magic word is: merchant

Then explain this (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717967)

How in the fuck did these guys in any way contribute to the LOTR films, or even the whole mythos itself?

Re:Then explain this (2, Informative)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718139)

Christopher Tolkien published the Silmarillion, after JRRT's death, among several other books, including the History of Middle Earth. Sure, strictly speaking it was all JRRT source material, but there has been a wealth of information out there, produced by these guys.

Re:Then explain this (5, Informative)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718351)

Uh, The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin. There are tons of notes and papers the Tolkien kept while writing his stories. Many of these offer insight into the world of Middle Earth, and would not have been easily accessible if it wasn't for the work of his son. Christopher Tolkien has spent a great deal of time going through his father's work, assembling notes from various sources to try to provide a more detailed history of Middle Earth. While the heirs aren't responsible for the original tale, they have done there share of work to get the story behind the story out and available to the public. Without the background, creating a movie like LotR would be much more difficult. The entire mythos was not well documented within the confines of the books. There were a lot of details that don't fit nicely within story form that were important to the movie. One of the biggest examples is the Elvish language. Much of the language has been put together from his original notes, which have been assembled by Christopher over the years.

This is definitely not a case were the children are sitting around trying to bum money off of their parent's work. I am very thankful for their contributions. Without their work, my knowledge of Tolkien would probably be limited to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Re:Then explain this (2, Informative)

bonze (1578437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718475)

From Wikipedia: "Tolkien never expected his stories to become popular, but by sheer accident a book he had written some years before for his own children, called The Hobbit, came in 1936 to the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm George Allen & Unwin, who persuaded him to submit it for publication." So: no heirs: no hobbits: no precious for Time Warner to covet.

I hope they all die (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28717999)

All the heirs that are part of this should just keel over and die. To a midget, for some poetic justice.

They truly have no redeeming value in this universe.

Re:I hope they all die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28718251)

Yeah, especially that worthless leech Christopher Tolkien. What has HE ever published?

(For the humor-impaired: that was sarcasm. Yes, the contract was ass, but that doesn't mean it will necessarily hold up. Indeed, if the contract is worded such that the late Mr. Tolkien gave away the movie rights to his works for essentially nothing, there's a good bet the contract can be set aside or at least amended so a fair compensation can be had, which is no doubt precisely what the Tolkien Estate is counting on -- and good for them. Fuck all these whiny little fags who are baaaaaaawing because they may not get to sit in a cramped theater and watch their precious movie in their hobbit costumes -- it just makes you sound like commies and losers.)

This is common in Hollywood (5, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718007)

According to the studios, Spider-Man, Return of the Jedi and Forrest Gump all lost money [screencrave.com] and therefore no royalty on net income needs to be paid.

These people are simply criminals, and deserve to be locked up as such. However Hollywood is famous for making large political contributions, and their boys are in power at the moment. (not that the "other" party did anything about it either)

Re:This is common in Hollywood (2, Informative)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718271)

I agree that its criminal, but anyone who deals with this knows that you MAKE SURE you negotiate for "above the line" or "pre-expense" percentages of gross, guaranteed $x of the initial gross BEFORE expenses and marketing, as well as pre-production "commitment" fees of about half of what you want to make on the entire project. The latter is most important as it says nothing can even begin production until you get paid.

However it would be really funny to see a few people get charged with felonies for fraud and share a cell with Bernie Madoff.

re:this is common in hollywood (2, Interesting)

ed.han (444783) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718379)

what i don't understand about all of this: how do the studios make any money whatsoever with accounting of that sort? how does this survive any kind of auditing process?

I'd normally side with the family, but... (3, Interesting)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718037)

If it weren't for the deal that J.R.R. made with Saul Zaentz way back when, we wouldn't have any of the Lord of the Rings movies in the first place. Nor the Lord of the Rings Online game (which I happen to play). Nor any number of other things that may have first turned people on to Tolkien, including the old pen and paper Middle Earth RPG system.

Christopher Tolkien has had control over the rights to things like The Silmarillion, and is notoriously limited in what he'll allow people to do in relation to it. I'd hate to think of what would happen (or more to the point, not happen) if he were able to somehow get back control over The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings also.

Re:I'd normally side with the family, but... (1)

cloudwilliam (517411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718427)

We'll just have to be satisfied with the Rankin/Bass production. Ho-ho, my lad!

LotR (1, Offtopic)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718339)

"The" doesn't deserve capitalization any more than "of". You wouldn't capitalize the in the book title either. For abbreviations show all articles and prepositions as lower case. If you have an article or preposition at the beginning of the abbreviation, show it as lower case. Of Mice and Men would be oMaM.

By showing articles in lower case you give a clue to the reader that the letter represents something small and structural, rather than a 'real' word. LoTR would suggest Lord of Token Rings.

Side note: Not all abbreviations are acronyms. It's like rectangles and squares. All squares are rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares. An acronym is a TYPE of abbreviation SPOKEN as a word, rather than spelled. SCUBA is, CIA is not. Some twat blithers, "but, but, the dictionary says...". Dictionaries record how words are USED (correctly or otherwise), not just what they mean. If acronym means abbreviation, why have two words? How do we communicate the lost specificity of the word acronym?

Here's where you call me a pedant/prescriptivist/grammar nazi so you don't have to learn.

Well, one more advertising saying "Pirate it all" (2, Insightful)

jbssm (961115) | more than 4 years ago | (#28718463)

And these thieves still want me to buy the DVD.

When is someone posting the extended version of LoTR box in 720p at PirateBay please?

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