Tolkien's estate settles lawsuit over online gambling link to author's books

Cinema still from the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
Cinema still from the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.PHOTO: NEW LINE CINEMA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien has settled an US$80 million (S$110 million) lawsuit against Warner Bros over the licensing of online games, slot machines and other gambling-related merchandise based on the author's books The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.

The settlement by the estate and book publisher HarperCollins with the Time Warner unit, New Line Cinema and Saul Zaentz Co, which hold various marketing rights, was disclosed in a court filing on Friday in Los Angeles.

It also resolves counterclaims by Warner Bros and Zaentz.

Terms were not disclosed.

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Tolkien's estate had accused the defendants of violating a 1969 agreement allowing the sale of "tangible" merchandise, by associating the books with the "morally-questionable (and decidedly non-literary) world of online and casino gambling".

It said this "outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base" and irreparably harmed the legacy of the English author, who died in 1973 at the age of 81.