Re: Prepare to gag yourself with a spoon.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Elena Rossi <rossiele@...> wrote:
>The biggest difference is outright sale of film rights, as opposed to
> The problem is that when Tolkien sold movie rights,
> the world was really different from today.
> What did he expect that could be done with those
> rights? A movie, that in the best of cases would have
> circulated for a while in cinemas and then passed a
> few times on TV.... And that was all, movie rights
> were just movie rights.
> There were no home VCRs. No DVDs. No videogames. No
> merchandising with movie logos. The fact that one day
> the movie itself could be _bought_ by many million
> people was simply beyond imagination, as all the
> rest...That's why what may have seemed a fair deal at
> the time became a rip-off, and now only Tolkien
> Enterprises makes big money with commercial
> exploitation, while Tolkien estate is left just with
> the books rights.
> But I'm sure that today things would go very
> differently, and Tolkien Estate will be able to
> maintain its rights.
licensing the rights for a particular film project. Now days no one
sells the rights "outright" because it does exactly what happened
here: it gives the control over the product and related merchandising
and subsidiary rights to the person who bought them.
There were, in fact, HUGE merchandising rights throughout the 20th
century; by 1930 Shirley Temple was being merchandised; later Hopalong
Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans - these were huge
merchandising brands throughout the mid-20th century.
Granted, there weren't DVDs or videotapes (or whatever the future form
will be) - but music from soundtracks had been turned into records for
decades, so it wasn't a big leap. The more challenging leap, actually,
was broadcast television and how to figure out licensing fees for that
kind of usage. Now there are standard formulas that lawyers plug in
and then negotiate tenths and hundredths of percentage points.
I'm not sure that Tolkien got good legal advice even when he made the
sale, but that would have more to do with 1) being located in Oxford
and not Hollywood and 2) even his publisher being British and not as
savvy about media issues as they might have (should have? hmmm) been.
But this is life: we make decisions and we live with the consequences
of those decisions, both good and bad.