There’s never been any indication that they celebrate the Fourth of July in Middle Earth, but fireworks of legal independence will be going off anyway. After a grueling five-year court battle, Warner Bros. and the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien have settled an $80 million rights dispute over The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future,” said a statement from the estate and the studio today, with no details of the deal they finally struck. No doubt on that “amicably” part with more Rings projects in the pipeline to add to the Peter Jackson helmed trilogy that made over $3 billion at the box office.
The Tolkien estate and publisher HarperCollins filed the massive multi-million lawsuit in November 2012 against Warner Bros., its subsidiary New Line and Rings‘ Hobbit rightsholder the Saul Zaentz Co., Middle Earth enterprises division, claiming copyright infringement and breach of contract over video games, online slot machines and other digital merchandising.
“The Complaint, the Warner Amended Counterclaim, and the Zaentz Amended Counterclaim are dismissed in their entirety with prejudice as to all parties thereto,” notes a filing in federal court made by the lawyers for both sides late last week, “and no Party is entitled to recover any fees or costs (read it here)