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Tolkien Estate Sues Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the tricksy-hobbitses dept.

Lord of the Rings 211

An anonymous reader writes "The Tolkien Estate has filed an $80 million copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the use of Lord of the Rings slot machines. The complaint hinges on a contract between the estate and Warner Bros. which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game. According to the estate (PDF), 'Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.'"

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Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (3, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048469)

...have enough FUCKING money yet?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (5, Funny)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048481)

They still haven't found the precious.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049351)

> They still haven't found the precious.

I originally read that as:

They still haven't found the pernicious.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (5, Funny)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048495)

No. No "fucking money." They haven't authorized any lord of the rings cockrings yet, though the slogan "one ring to rule them all" would be delightfully appropos.

Yes they did but .... (3, Funny)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048761)

when you put it on your dick and balls vanish!

Re:Yes they did but .... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048839)

No silly! Without it your "dark lord" cannot attain his "full power!"

(Best when used with a Nazgul(tm) textured black rubber condom.)

Re:Yes they did but .... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049327)

when you put it on your dick and balls vanish!

They won't if your name is Tom Bombadil. (Uhm, crap, how does one go about un-imagining something like that?)

Re:Yes they did but .... (4, Funny)

OldSport (2677879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049471)

Goldberry is waiting... for her Tom Bomba-dildo.

Re:Yes they did but .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049345)

If it disappeared, you could tell her any size you choose.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42050399)

Lord of the cockrings. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0355701/

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048537)

The problem with copyright is that you either defend it or lose it

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (-1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048591)

Oh shut up you fucking troll.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (4, Informative)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048629)

The problem with copyright is that you either defend it or lose it

No. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (2)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049971)

Copyright != Patent != Trademark

Patents do not need to be defended in order to be considered valid. It is my understanding that the same holds for Copyright.
Trademarks, however, are more often deemed to be valid only if they are consistently defended. That is, if your company name is "Slashdot" and you let "Slashdot Wines" exist, but then you decide to go after "Slashdot Fruit Snacks", you will have a much harder time claiming the Slashdot trademark since it can be demonstrated that you failed to defend your trademark.

I am no lawyer. I am certainly not an IP lawyer. And I would NEVER be YOUR lawyer. Go find some expert, and let's all stop trying to be one on teh internet.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048723)

That's trademarks, not copyright. Two completely different things.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049563)

And fuck me if it isn't trademark rights that are the central issue in this case.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048759)

They should have lost it in 1973.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (4, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048539)

Don't Warner Brothers have enough money yet without making LotR slot machines?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049113)

Do they have the rights to end-user products or also spin-off entertainment commercial products?

If these were toy slot machines for sale in Toys-R-Us, er, Walmart, they wouldn't have a case. But this is commercial product with derivative, ongoing income. Not only that, but online as well.

The damaged reputation argument is, of course, laughable given money will, of course, soothe hurt feelings. It's more like creating a ride at Disney World than a toy orc.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (3, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049415)

None of us know whether WB have the rights to make the slot machines, whether for casinos or Toys-R-Us, as we haven't read the contracts.

We also don't know that money will soothe the estate's hurt feelings. If the parties settle and the slot machines remain, then it was about the money. If they settle and the machines go, or it goes to trial and the estate insists all along that the machines must go, then it isn't (at least entirely) about the money. It is too soon to rush to judgement on this.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049965)

The damaged reputation argument is, of course, laughable given money will, of course, soothe hurt feelings.

If you've got a better way to punish a corporation than by fining it, I'd like to hear it. As it stands, fining a company, and therefore making the bad activities less profitable is about the only thing we have for an entity that cannot be imprisoned nor be killed.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048547)

the answer is a resounding no.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048559)

No. They didn't throw the Ring into Mount Doom.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048633)

But I heard it was erupting!

you mean they DIDN'T throw it in!?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (3, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048823)

Taking a flippant comment seriously:

Ngaruahoe, which played Mt Doom for the distant shots, is not erupting. Ruapehu, an adjacent larger vulcano which played Mt Doom in some of the close ups, has recently had its warning levels upgraded. It also is not erupting, but is considered more likely than normal to erupt in the near future. Nearby Tongariro (opposite side of Ngaruahoe from Ruapehu) had a brief minor eruption in August.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049761)

Tongariro also erupted again 35 minutes ago, just after 1:30pm NZDT

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year and a half ago | (#42050149)

Those seismologists were playing 3 card monty with us, Telling us to watch Ruapehu, keep your eyes on Ruapehu, and then, Tangariro blows.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (3, Funny)

x4000 (1568105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048599)

Sure! It's right next to their regular money.

Oblig: http://xkcd.com/90/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048605)

That has nothing to do with it. They weren't sitting around waiting for somebody to infringe on their trademarks so that they could sue and make money. They're suing because somebody infringed.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048631)

This isn't about money, I find the concept of a LOTR slot machine repulsive, and can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048745)

I'm just curious how they would make that work...

I mean, I can't imagine how they would structure a slots "game" around the main plot.... the one ring is not a good thing, afterall. What would you use as a bonus token, and how would you structure the reel scoring?

'Mines of moria" would make more sense for a slot, if more obscure.

the pinball game has structure around the plot (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048939)

the pinball game has structure around the plot and it's better then in the slot games.

Re:the pinball game has structure around the plot (1)

keytoe (91531) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049089)

the pinball game has structure around the plot and it's better then in the slot games.

That pin is by far my favorite. I've spent hours at it, and was extremely sad when the local pub that had it decided it wasn't worth the maintenance cost any more and replaced it with something terrible.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048757)

This isn't about money, I find the concept of a LOTR slot machine repulsive, and can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

I also find LOTR slot machines repulsive as a concept, but make no mistake. This is about money.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

The Pirou (1551493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048913)

As someone who has spent $$ on the LoTR machine between New Orleans, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi and Cherokee, I was outraged that it wasn't nearly as much fun as most of the Monopoly slot games. That said, it had familiar imagery, fun sounds, pretty lights, and multipliers that are saved through progressive play. (That means I can save my multiplier from city to city, with months in between play. When it comes to slot machines, that's pretty fucking awesome.)

I first read The Hobbit more than 25 years ago, and could be considered somewhat a fan of the body of related works since most people have a hard time reading through a book once, much less several times. I didn't enjoy the movies because my imagination is so much more brilliant than Peter Jackson could ever match, but I've no problem with a silly little game. It's a little pricey compared to 'Invaders from Planet Moo-lah,' but I don't mind spending $20 on it when I see it on a Casino floor.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (2)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049611)

I was outraged by the fact that it was a penny (1 cent) slot machine, but the lowest possible dollar amount you could play was something like 200x, so even though it's a $0.01 machine, it ends up costing you $2.00 every time you push the Play button... Admittedly, not a lot of money, but you don't sit at the $0.01 machines because you want the pay $2.00 per pull...

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049005)

This isn't about money, I find the concept of a LOTR slot machine repulsive, and can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

This isn't about money, I find the everything his heirs have done repulsive, and can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

FTFY

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049059)

can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

Did you know JRR when he was alive in order to accurately predict his views on such a thing?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049291)

can imagine JRR spinning in his grave hearing about his epic fantasy world being used in such a base and disconnected manner.

Did you know JRR when he was alive in order to accurately predict his views on such a thing?

When someone explicitly says that he is making something up from his imagination, why do you think he's making a prediction based on a personal relationship with the author? Do you think that when Tolkien made up the Orcs, he had personally met with an Orc to hear his views?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049519)

I'm more repulsed that LOTR was published over 50 years ago (The Hobbit about 80) and that Tolkien died 39 years ago and yet copyright still goes on. I'm not against copyright. I'd be okay with 20 years but it's de facto perpetual now. I think a slot machine is in bad taste, but that we've decided to create royalty in our society is worse. The human ability to share information and knowledge may be our single largest evolutionary advantage over other species and yet we now hinder it. It is in our nature to create. I'm okay with rewarding that creativity but I'm disgusted that we let it create a royal class. At one point in time, some guy does something great and becomes king. His heirs get the kingdom from there on out. We decided that wasn't a great idea so we renamed it, but it's the same system. Personally, I'd like the story a lot better if it didn't create rich worthless heirs that do nothing to benefit society themselves and reap government enforced income.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048697)

they might be cunts, but i'm on their side on this one.

pokie machines are a disgusting scourge on society.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048843)

What do you care? You're not being deprived of anything in either case. Who gets to decide how much money is enough for the Tolkien estate--you?

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048847)

OK, please tell us ... how much is enough? Really. Enlighten us with your great economic or moral knowledge.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048869)

I don't know, but if you get an answer, can you forward me the contact info?

I'm aiming to move to Colorado, and I need the rights to be able to use the words 'Longbottom Leaf' and the phrase, 'Best weed in the Southfarthing'.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049203)

From what I've read its not about the money, its about harming the brand. they think LOTR slots is like putting out LOTR Malt Liquor and don't want to cheapen the brand with tacky shit like that, while the WB says they can do pretty much what they want.

While i don't really have a horse in this race i can see their point, you have to draw the line somewhere or the WB will be putting out any damned thing they can with the license just to milk those last bucks..like I said imagine limited edition LOTR "Green Dragon" malt liquor and crap like that.

Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42050145)

As much as I agree with you, as a fan I do not like to see LotR associated with something as pathetic as gambling. If I were a content creator I'd hate to see my IP being used on money stealing machines.

Sounds like... (3, Funny)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048527)

...the Tolkein Estate wants to be Lord of the Blings as well.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048545)

Or Kachings. Or Pings. Or whatever. I'll stop now.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048611)

So far as I understand it, the licensing agreements that JRRT sold did not extend to marketing, so I would imagine that the Estate retains the right of approval for any marketing.

Never sign a contract without an anti-dick clause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048551)

This includes the marriage contract.

But seriously a big corporation will see its way to profit, and the almighty dollar which they worship doesn't let them respect your feelings.

So protect yourself.

You know they've got no shame in screwing you.

Greedy as always I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048565)

Somehow this makes me not want to go see the hobbit

How dare they... (5, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048571)

How dare they attempt to flagrantly abuse the creative works created by an author 80 years ago, when the great-grandchildren of said author deserve a life of luxury for all of their blood, sweat and tears!

Re:How dare they... (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049947)

How dare they attempt to flagrantly abuse the creative works created by an author 80 years ago, when the great-grandchildren of said author deserve a life of luxury for all of their blood, sweat and tears!

1 The literary estate of an author is often the only thing he has to give to his children --- and that is an incentive to be productive.

2 The ur-Geek began buying into the LOTR fantasy along about 1957-1965, and "buying," I think, is the right word here.

3 There has been plenty of borrowing as well. In Infocom's prime the adventure game --- and by extension --- the RPG could draw on any form of genre fiction, pulp fiction, and see some commercial success. It wasn't all elves and orcs, D&D.

A world of strong copyright is biased in favor of originality, diversity. You are expected to plow your own road. .

Re:How dare they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049989)

God forbid they might have to settle for Mercedes-Benz to get around. How pedestrian! Like...everyone should have a chauffeur.

1st world problems...

Re:How dare they... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049993)

That fails to defend why it would be OK for WB to make these slot machines.

Get some (4, Insightful)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048587)

Though the litigiousness of the Tolkien Estate (via the ancient and gnarled iron grip of J.R.R's son Christopher [wikipedia.org] ) usually gives me indigestion, my organs seem unaffected by this case. LOTR-related merchandise is often tacky to a ridiculous level, but it seems WB has gone over the deep end here.

write your own stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049785)

Don't like Lord of the Circular Metal Bands is managed?

Then write your own fantasy world.

Ex-Parrot much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048589)

How long has that guy been dead? Surely these books are public domain by now.
If not, please let me know. I have been making some cool middle-earth art that is completely unrelated to the movies. I understand that the movies should have their stuff protected for several more years.

Re:Ex-Parrot much? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048651)

There are still questions as to whether HP Lovecraft's later works are public domain, so I think LotR and the Hobbit, both of which had second editions published in the 1960s are very much still under copyright.

What's more, it seems likely that major elements of this Hobbit "trilogy" are based in part of writings not published until 1980 in Unfinished Tales.

Re:Ex-Parrot much? (1)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048769)

How long has that guy been dead? Surely these books are public domain by now. If not, please let me know. I have been making some cool middle-earth art that is completely unrelated to the movies. I understand that the movies should have their stuff protected for several more years.

At the risk of feeding the troll, J.R.R. died in 1973. Though, due to the variances of copyright law, it appears that LOTR is protected until 95 years after date of publication [cornell.edu] , which would be around 2050 (LOTR was published in the UK and US in three volumes in the mid-fifties).

Re:Ex-Parrot much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049371)

I'm no troll, thank you for your answer. At the farmer's market, mall kiosks, and gaming stores there are a lot of Hobbit and Middle-Earth paintings, figurines, etc. that are all individually handmade by local artists (not large scale Chinese manufacturing). My friends showed me several of these and suggested that I could do a bit better than what was available, so I went to work. I could rework them into some generic fantasy world, but it is best to have a story of some kind to develop from and I read the books when I was young so I had a bit of a feeling about them. I was under the impression JRRT died in the early fifties and books published in the forties. Off to the bin they go -- but how is it that everyone else seems to be making them?

Re:Ex-Parrot much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048857)

LotR was first published in the US in 1954-55, which means the first volume comes out of copyright in (I think) 2049. The films are protected until circa the end of this century. If you think any of that is unreasonable, take it up with your elected representatives.

It's worth noting that Tolkien himself was, if not relaxed, then not exactly vigilant in policing his 'intellectual property'. During the 1960s/70s, people talked about 'hobbits' (et al) quite loosely and freely, and any amount of completely unlicensed art based on the books was widely available, and nobody thought anything of it. The current attitude to intellectual property is completely new since Tolkien's lifetime (he died in 1973).

Surprised to see this the othe night (1)

helixcode123 (514493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048627)

A few nights ago my band was playing at one of the local Casino showrooms, and I noticed these new LOTR machines. I did a double take! Most of you probably do not frequent Casinos (nor would I, except for my gigs there), but they have all these movie-themed slot machines; Wizard Of Oz, Dirty Dancing, etc. But LOTR machines just seem really strange for some reason. Funny.... no Ocean's Eleven ones.

Re:Surprised to see this the othe night (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048691)

I don't think your average business dedicated to parting pathetic gambling addicts and thrill junkies from their cash could stand the deep irony of a series of films based on parting the money of your average business dedicated to parting pathetic gambling addicts and thrill junkies from their money.

Good (5, Interesting)

SmarterThanMe (1679358) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048705)

Poker machines are morally disgusting. They're basically a way of imposing a tax on people too stupid or hopeful to know better. Here in Australia, there's people who literally bankrupt themselves pouring money into the bloody things. I'm all for individual responsibility, but those bloody things are designed to addict more than cigarettes or crack cocaine.

What's more, venues that have poker machines deliberately target the poor [smh.com.au] . I've walked into a couple of poker machine venues, they are literally the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern day society. Pensioners, disabled people, smoking heavily and desperate for, if nothing else, just a near-win.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048851)

The stupid will always find a way to rid themselves of wealth. Nature's way of efficiently allocating resources. Slot machines are merely the most efficient.

Re:Good (2)

SmarterThanMe (1679358) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048963)

Yeah, great. But the problem then is that those people are the ones who end up either offing themselves, mugging people at train stations, or sending their families (you know, the partner and 2.3 kids who weren't gambling) bankrupt as well. Yay social Darwinism!

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049571)

A lot of embezzlement stories also start with a gambling addiction. Like you say, when things go bad with gambling they go bad for the bystanders as well.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049735)

Yay social Darwinism

May as well rant about thermodynamics for all the good it will do. They are equally implacable. Attempt to 'fix' either an you merely transpose and amplify the `problem.'

Re:Good (1)

pclminion (145572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049695)

"Somebody is going to take this guy's money anyway, so it might as well be me." Nice.

Re:Good (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049159)

Poker machines are morally disgusting. They're basically a way of imposing a tax on people too stupid or hopeful to know better.

There's a huge difference between a video poker machine and a slot machine.

A slot machine is completely random and you have no control over the result. Video poker, on the other hand, can actually be a statistical money maker for the player if they know how to play and the machine has a favorable payout table. Don't quit your day job, though, because even playing at $10/hand you'd only make around $10/hour though perfect play. Between free drinks and comp benefits, you can end up spending only $1-2/hour for entertainment, which isn't bad.

Re:Good (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049499)

I've always wanted to tax stupid people. They're idiots and deserve it. Explain to me why this is a bad thing?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049917)

Its not a tax on the stupid, its a tax on people who are bad at math.

Re:Good (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42050011)

You could easily be an idiot to someone else. Why shouldn't they tax you?

Re:Good (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049839)

Poker machines are morally disgusting. They're basically a way of imposing a tax on people too stupid or hopeful to know better.

While I agree with most of what you said, imposing is a bit too strong.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42050105)

Just think of it as a slower form of Euthanasia and how much more tax dollars via social programs will be available for your.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42050131)

Dude, you obviously haven't hit the Balrog Bonus Phase.

I can't wait to hit the monster porn bonus stage with Galadriel and the Uruk-Hai.

Re:Good (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42050449)

> Poker machines are morally disgusting. They're basically a way of imposing a tax on people too stupid or hopeful to know better.

You're absolutely right, but we have a choice not to use them. One can't stop people voluntarily destroying themselves, and I'm not sure we even have the moral obligation to try.

One Copyright to rule them all, (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048743)

One Copyright to find them, One Copyright to bring them all and in the darkness sue them.

Argument seems lame to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048749)

Everyone here is posting just philosophical ideas an JRR progeny, or sliminess of WB to exploit LotR with slots.
But it says that WB have a contract for merchandise, but not the "experience" of playing a slot machine? The slot
machine itself is merchandise a casino buys. So you could replace this case by complaining about a a LotR cup
because they don't have the rights for an "experience" of drinking a soda. If they want to allow/disallow specific
items the contract should have an explicit list (or lists) in it.

Glad to see someone is protecting Tolkien's legacy (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048767)

"this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works."

"... unlike the highly-tasteful and not-at-all-kitschy official licensed merchandise [wbshop.com] we already signed off on!"

Christopher next up to be sued? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048773)

FTS: "causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works" So the Tolkien estate will be suing Christopher Tolkien next? Because his actions over the years have done exactly this... I am thinking the ICE, MERP, MECG debacle specifically.

I hope the Tolkien estate wins (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048785)

slot machines are totally against the spirit of the books.

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048801)

[They have] outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.

Yes, Tolkein's estate has done awful, oppressive things; but what about Warner Bros.?

Goodwill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42048803)

I'm sure a large cash payment will rectify any damaged goodwill.

Did It Really??? (2)

organgtool (966989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048927)

Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works

I can't claim to be the biggest fan of Tolkien novels, but does anyone believe for a second that there are a significant number of fans that are outraged over the release of a LotR slot machine to the point of causing "irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy"? I would say that the greed of the owners of the Tolkien estate is doing more irreparable harm to the Tolkien legacy than the release of a fucking slot machine. After this, I would rather put $10 into a LotR slot machine than towards a ticket to see the upcoming Hobbit movie.

Re:Did It Really??? (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049133)

If nothing else, I figure the only people seeing them will be adults who frequent casinos. IE they can't have a real beef with slot machines and gambling in the first place. The only 'damage' would come from anti-gambling Tolkien fans, which would be a tiny fraction of the fans who just don't care either way, and a good chance of being outnumbered by the Tolkien fans who like gambling.

Some LOTR Better Than None (1)

d'baba (1134261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42048985)

Maybe 20th Century Fox should come out with a "Bender's Game" themed slot. It's got some LOTR in it.

I'm afraid someone took... (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049137)

...A real gamble.

Re:I'm afraid someone took... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049275)

sunglasses!

...A real gamble.

YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!

ftfy

Gameplay? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049177)

From the summary:

which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game.

I haven't played (or seen) the LotR slot machines, but is the gameplay really themed to LotR? Most themed slot machines I've played are slot machines with themed graphics, but the gameplay is pretty much like every other slot machine out there. Does the gameplay of these slots have anything to do with the books? (aside from something like needing to roll 3 Gandalfs to hit the jackpot with a 3X The One Ring multiplier.

this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base,

I'd consider myself a Tolkien fan, but the only thing I'm outraged about is that his estate is still able to make money from the books 40 years after his death. It should have fallen out of copyright long ago and we should be seeing lots of derivative works building upon the stories.

There's prolly some fraudo going on, too :( (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049197)

Ca-ching ca-ching, klunk klunkklunk.

Damn. Ca-ching ca-ching Klunk klunk klunk. Damn.

"Something to drink, sir?"

"Ya. I'll have a vodka Gimli. Oh, and a Legolamb, too."

Ca-ching ching ching Klunk klunkunk. Damn.

Say no to merchandise the gives money to the fans? (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049215)

I smell a hypocrisy. I am not a proponent of gambling machines; I find them a tax on the poor. But you're going to rape the legacy for all its worth through the miracle of crass commercialism, and yet put the kybosh on machines with the potential to let a fan share in some of the winfall, methinks you are blind to your own sins, Sir

Time is running out. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049267)

They have to milk it now while they can. Copyright expires 70 years after the authors death, which was 2nd September 1973. All J.R.R Tolkien works are public domain in the UK where they were published on 3rd September 2043. They still have 31 years to milk it.

It's pretty sad that a book written in 1937, The Hobbit, will be under copyright for 106 years. Their 1842 law was much better, 42 years or 7 years after death, which ever was longer.

Is there a LotR breakfast cereal? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049303)

There should be a spaceballs like parody with Gandalf selling merchandise.

There goes my idea (4, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42049403)

Damn, now I had to cancel my plans to make a LOTR craps table with "you shall not bet the pass" written on it :(

LOTR Pinball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049803)

These machines are well designed and fun to play.

You fucking hypocrites (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42049929)

You go batshit crazy when some commercial entity misuses the GPL and takes advantage of it, but you think that the Tolkien estate doesn't have the right to enforce protection of their brand?

This are slot machines... not exactly noble. If it were LOTR medical supplies or Mouth of Sauron Toothpaste, or even a free MMORPG, you might have an argument asking the Tolkien estate to back off... but fucking SLOT machines and you rush to defend the slot machine company? Ridiculous

IP Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42050107)

*Disclaimer - I work in the industry, so posting anon

The LOTR slot machine is one of a proliferation of "licensed product" slot machines available. These are popular for two reasons - firstly on the consumer side, they offer safe & familiar brands (often incorporating extensive audio and video grabs) so they are popular (and make plenty). Secondly, from manufacturers, they have to spend a lot of money on the IP, so they only offer these into venues on a 'participation' basis. This means that the manufacturer does not sell the machines to the venues, but instead participates in the revenue (gets a share of the money into the machines). Consequently, these make manufacturers an order of magnitude more from "licenced products" than from "standard" machine sales, so are putting more and more resources into it.

As a secondary consequence, there is now a massive market and competition between (10+) slot manufacturers for ip rights. Some are extremely active and successful, with literally hundreds of brands signed up (WMS & IGT), others put all their eggs in a few baskets so only have a handful of brands, but make them big names (see Bally with Michael Jackson). The Global Gaming Expo (in Vegas a couple of months ago) is somewhat an exercise in seeing who got what IP.

The LOTR slots in question have all had IP purchased (for significant dollars) from Warner. The slots all use signficant audio & visual FROM THE MOVIES. I would suggest that Tolkien Estate is going to have a tough time proving that Warner does not own IP from it's own movies!!

Enough ranting from me, but expect to see plenty more IP litigation in the slot machine space - it is an absolute gold mine

Despised groups; quarter finals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42050397)

Warner Bros.
Tolkien Estate

Facebook
Sony

**AA
Apple

Facebook
Monsanto

The only non-company left in the tournament, Tolkien Estate, seems to be winning this round. I wonder how they'll do against Sony in the semis.

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