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More about the Tolkien trademark

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    A friend tells me that he s checked into the ownership of the various Tolkien intellectual property rights, and it s even more complicated than I thought.
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 6, 2004
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      A friend tells me that he's checked into the ownership of the various Tolkien
      intellectual property rights, and it's even more complicated than I thought.
      There are three different groups to be distinguished. First, there's Tolkien
      Enterprises (i.e., Saul Zaentz), who own the cinematic rights to _The Lord of
      the Rings_ and _The Hobbit_. Then there's the Tolkien Estate, who own the
      copyrights to all the Tolkien books and all uses of them except for the
      cinematic rights that Tolkien Enterprises own. The Tolkien Estate is owned by the
      heirs of Tolkien. But my friend tells me that there is a third group called the
      Tolkien Trust. This is the group that has trademarked the name Tolkien and
      has lawyers sending letters to the various national Tolkien societies informing
      them that they must pay for the use of the name "Tolkien." I don't understand
      why this group should be any different from the Tolkien Estate. Surely the
      heirs of Tolkien own the trademark (assuming that anyone does) just as much as
      they own the copyrights. I don't understand why they would set up a separate
      corporation to handle this.

      Saul Zaentz acquired the cinematic rights because Tolkien sold them in 1968.
      (I don't think he bought them himself in 1968. I think another group did and
      decided not to make the film and then sold the rights to Zaentz.) Previously
      I had heard that Tolkien got 100,000 pounds (about $250,000 at that time) for
      them. More recently though, I have heard that he only got 10,000 pounds
      (about $25,000) for them. $25,000 wasn't even very good money for a film script
      in 1968. Zaentz, who produced both the Bakshi and the Jackson film versions,
      has made approximately ten thousand times as much on the films as Tolkien
      received for the rights.

      Does anyone know any more about this, in particular about the distinction
      between the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust?

      Wendell Wagner


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Croft, Janet B.
      ... From: WendellWag@aol.com [mailto:WendellWag@aol.com] Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 8:50 AM To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: [mythsoc] More about
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 8, 2004
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        -----Original Message-----
        From: WendellWag@... [mailto:WendellWag@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 8:50 AM
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [mythsoc] More about the Tolkien trademark


        Saul Zaentz acquired the cinematic rights because Tolkien sold them in
        1968.
        (I don't think he bought them himself in 1968. I think another group
        did and decided not to make the film and then sold the rights to
        Zaentz.) Previously I had heard that Tolkien got 100,000 pounds (about
        $250,000 at that time) for them. More recently though, I have heard
        that he only got 10,000 pounds (about $25,000) for them. $25,000 wasn't
        even very good money for a film script in 1968. Zaentz, who produced
        both the Bakshi and the Jackson film versions, has made approximately
        ten thousand times as much on the films as Tolkien received for the
        rights.

        ***This is the information I gathered on the movie rights for the papers
        I've presented over the the last two years:

        Tolkien sold the film and stage rights in 1969 for 104,000 pounds to
        United Artists. The rights were owned by various other parties,
        including Disney and MGM, until being purchased by Saul Zaentz in 1976,
        so that Bakshi could make his film. But the interviews and memoirs from
        which I got some of this information may not be 100% accurate -- Bakshi
        and John Boorman in particular seem to have selective memories and like
        to paint themselves in the best possible light.

        Janet Croft
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