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LOTRO license extension betting pool - will we be around?


What's the state of the license extension?  

69 members have voted

  1. 1. Your guess?

    • The license has been extended but The Sap is not allowed to say so
      2
    • The license has been extended but The Sap likes playing with us and enjoys the controversy
      6
    • No signature is on the extension at this point but it is actually all agreed on and it is fair to say it *will* be extended
      8
    • No signature is on the extension, it's just that the intention is so clear that they go forward telling us LOTRO will be around 2014+ in good (WB's view) faith
      4
    • Sapience knows nothing, they don't tell him anything except to "shut up these people" and he picked the words to do so
      10
    • Almost fraud. They want to extend the license but negotiations are ongoing. They let The Sap say it's a done deal anyway because that's how business works
      14
    • Outright fraud. The extension is in jeopardy or already rejected and they want players to continue paying more money until they have to admit it
      15
    • Something else entirely is going on, e.g. WB buying the IP or something crazy. Explain below
      3
    • The signature is on the extension but WB holds back on saying so for a planned high-impact announcement for some product (probably not Turbine related)
      2
    • Negotiations ongoing, however they can always invoke the old option if they break down (and the option is bulletproof in the voter's opinion)
      5


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You know, I have been thinking.

For various reasons I had decided against trying to get the Massachusetts Attorney General on the case of WB's hobbit slot machines with no age checks and parent's credit cards on file. Details aside it would have been way too much work to prepare such a case to make to get the MA GA interested.

But now... Let's just imagine that the Tolkien estate suit is in court and they bring forward the MA GA's investigation into the slot machine (strike 1) in the no-physical-goods game (strike 2) and all that as cash gambling, online, without age check (strike 3). It puts the effort/payoff into new light, now does it?

Well, it is important to see justice done and to help those who have the right of things to seek it. ;)

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One thing to remember: If Turbine/WB have been paying the licensing fees, Middle-Earth Enterprises won't complain too much. As long as Middle-Earth Enterprises and Turbine/WB feel they can keep pa

Thinking about it, if the Tolkien Estate are successful in their lawsuit then WB, Turbine and Middle-earth Enterprises could be buggered either way.

They; along with every other oppressive, consumer-hating developer and publisher in the gaming industry; have been positioning their output as 'services' and not 'products' for a long time. Now that very manoeuvring and legal chicanery may be set to bite them in the backside.

Either LOTRO is a service that the customer is merely allowed to access, in which case it isn't a tangible property that the customer ever owns and The Tolkien Estate wrestles the rights from them; or LOTRO is a product that the customer owns, which immediately makes a nonsense of all their draconian and unpleasant EULAs and Terms and Conditions and sets them up for about a million actions against them in the small claims courts.

Half expecting them to try redefining LOTRO as a "Prodvice" or "Serduct," something that combines all the aspects of each that are most preferable to them and argue that none of the existing rules apply. Shame that won't work either, as part of the Estate's lawsuit is that they never sold the rights to any media or format that were not specifically defined at the time of sale.

the line in the counter about limiting action prior to 2010 was an oddity.

there definitely seems to be some maneuvering around either the transition away from box purchase, or the purchase of Turbine by Warner... or both.

...

i personally would love to see Saul Zaentz lose the assumed exclusive rights of game licensing.

whilst i don't have purview of all the documents related to the selling of Tolkien rights...

it is rather obvious Tolkien Estates has the rights to publish the books; whilst Saul Zaentz had the theatrical rights & merchandising related directly to those theatrical productions.

the move into digital works like games, really is a bit aggressive. as is the claim that they exclusively hold that right.

for a judge to grant that right... would require a lack of comprehending the medium.

also Peter Jackson fully documents in all the extended editions of the movies, how they had to change the literary works to make them fit into a theatrical format... then we have countless times heard LoTRO staff say the game attempts to follow the books, rather than the movie.

regardless, so much nuance here.

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They seem to be overly touchy about the subject. Why are they saying on one hand they plan to support it for months but then delete posts that say it has been extended and then lock threads about it which broke no rules. Why can't we are paying customers talk about the future of the game we love? Maybe if they hadn't lied about F2P, Codies going and many more I could accept this "trust us" policy but as it stands I can't I know they won't care about one person not buying one expansion but that is what I am doing.

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They seem to be overly touchy about the subject. Why are they saying on one hand they plan to support it for months but then delete posts that say it has been extended and then lock threads about it which broke no rules. Why can't we are paying customers talk about the future of the game we love? Maybe if they hadn't lied about F2P, Codies going and many more I could accept this "trust us" policy but as it stands I can't I know they won't care about one person not buying one expansion but that is what I am doing.

Having read the lawsuit I think it is clear that no extension can be signed while that lawsuit is going on. WB gets the license from Saul Zaentz and the right holders of Lord of the Rings (MEE) directly dispute that he has the right to grant such a license. In fact MEE asks the court for the right to stop sales and "recall from the market" all online-only game based on the license granted in the past.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/ESQ/GGDOCS1-%231878321-v1-CONFORMED_Complaint.pdf

Section 68

As a matter of routine employees of all companies involved get fired if they say anything about the proceedings.

So, even if WB and Saul signed anything for 2014 it would not enable anybody to say that LOTRO will definitely be around.

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Having read the lawsuit I think it is clear that no extension can be signed while that lawsuit is going on. WB gets the license from Saul Zaentz and the right holders of Lord of the Rings (MEE) directly dispute that he has the right to grant such a license. In fact MEE asks the court for the right to stop sales and "recall from the market" all online-only game based on the license granted in the past.

As a matter of routine employees of all companies involved get fired if they say anything about the proceedings.

Fair enough but they should allow us to speculate, and they could say whether if the licence isn't extended does that mean no more updates but we can still play or servers off.

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Fair enough but they should allow us to speculate, and they could say whether if the licence isn't extended does that mean no more updates but we can still play or servers off.

While a lawsuit like that is going on companies do not communicate anything to outsiders.

Whether Sapience should have banned people for asking about the license is a different matter. A simple "we can't comment because of the lawsuit" would have been better, but then they would directly admit that the lawsuit is messing with the extension.

Not to mention Turbine's strategy probably is to minimize the number of people who know about the lawsuit, so the forum is cleansed of that information.

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Unfortunately, lawsuit is not against particular case, but in general - against Middle Earth Enterprises rights to licence digital games and similar products (services). If Tolkien Estate wins, only Tolkien Estate would be able to give a licence to any existing or future games. Knowing Christopher's position, it is unlikely.

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Unfortunately, lawsuit is not against particular case, but in general - against Middle Earth Enterprises rights to licence digital games and similar products (services). If Tolkien Estate wins, only Tolkien Estate would be able to give a licence to any existing or future games. Knowing Christopher's position, it is unlikely.

Well. I think we (I mean we here, lotrocommunity) would be very well positioned to make a point that it is possible to have a great MMORPG based on Tolkien lore. We also know how it subsequently went wrong, sure. But it is possible to make something that isn't insulting.

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We would make a point, of course, but who would listen.. I'm not so optimistic somehow :)

and MERP - it is great project, it would be interesting to see a MMO developed by the principles of kind-of crowd-sourcing. it however might be too hobby-like

Anyway - if TE wins - no interactive Tolkien media at all, at least for some time

If MEE wins - same bunch of lore-breaking stuff, console stuff.. LOTRO continues its existence. a hope for LOTRO 2 or another Middle Earth game?

Just thinking aloud ;)

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what i find most egregious about this whole affair, is that Saul Zaentz somehow managed to turn an exclusive license for theatrical productions & related merchandise.. into the exclusive ability to also license a whole different medium.

video games could certainly be merchandize associated with the theatrical productions, but they are in no way the same medium as a theatrical production.

what i am left wondering is how they managed to beleive this genre was theirs to exclusively claim?

& additionally, what indeed does gambling have to do with marketing a theatrical product based on the literary works in The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings online.

as for Christopher Tolkien utilizing the option of licensing digital gaming material based off the books, i do not think he would ever do that... perhaps one of his heirs.

so this is a tricky one to untangle; if the wider audience is to receive the greatest benefit.

i suppose if Saul Zaentz was able to maintain the ability to produce merchandize relating to the theatrical productions, but not to the exclusion of Tolkien Estates also utilizing the literary material in the same capacity... would be close to the best outcome?

Harper Collins is also involved in this case & are there any other instances where publishers of literary works expanded those products into non theatrical digital media?

i don't find it confusing that Saul Zaentz has made games, but that they should have exclusive rights, when this medium is distinctly unique from stage acting & movies...

yeah, whilst i am clearly more in favor of Tolkien Estates & the proprietary literature holds the stronger claim ... i don't necessarily hope for a sweeping victory. ;)

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Back in the 80's you had to get your hands on the game physically in order to install it, so still Tangible Products.

Adding the digital download option to LOTRO was stretching it but hey... internet age, I'd rather download 10GB than wait 2 weeks for the discs... so still OK. After all you bought the game, subscribed, carry on.

Distribute the game for free... eh... well OK... not SELLING the game, no profit directly from that so no biggie right? (oh wait.. MERP).

Sell the expansions digitally, same as the whole game itself so meh.

From there on... the Item Store... ToC and CoC ... "it's not tangible, it's not yours, we can take it back whenever we want even though you paid for it".... add in-game gambling that minors can access why the hell not RIGHT AFTER BEING SUED OVER SPECIFICALLY SLOT MACHINES...

Yeah see... that's as tangible as a politician's promise. Speak of cheapening the IP.. I see several "Tolkien fans" on official forums, several Tolkien-related websites, and even here falling hook line n' sink for WB's crocodile tears about the EVIL EVIL EVIL Chris Tolkien refusing to open the floodgates to all forms of monetization. Bravo. IP cheapened.

The rest I already said here:

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There have been licensed Middle Earth video games since the 80's. It the Tolkien Estate wanted to attack SZC it was back then.

until the Intellectual Property falls into public domain, they have the right to act in defense of that literature.

so the time-frame to act is still present. the timeliness of it, may in fact be late. but they still have every right to pursue legal action.

...

what i cannot sort out, is the distinction between the original selling of, the film & stage rights with limited merchandising back in the 1960's

&

the later video game rights of 1996... or what specifically that agreement entailed.

&

Saul Zaentz claim that the merchandizing rights are broad due to other agreements. (to include gambling, & a host of other things that really have fuck all to do with the literature being interpreted for stage or film.)

so i guess it comes down to the niggles of that 1996 agreement?

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  • 4 months later...

The chance of the game shutting down has suddenly become much bigger. I would actually bet that within one year the game will be gone. I can also see it still going with no more development though - especily if they can keep the store making some money. But population will plummet. Why would you pay 100 plus dollars to get into Lotro as an MMO when it has no future? Why would you start to play and invest in Lotro unless you were very clueless, or wanted to see ME even if the game is substandard.

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You know nothing will phase the Black Knighters until the actual announcement that they're pulling the plug (and then they will respond with audible gasps, shock, and blame the haters for turning everything sour and scaring away new players and everything).

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I think Turbine is broke. I think they'll soon be divided up amongst the rest of WBIE.

 

WBSF needs a licensed IP of some kind, and I've always wondered how well lotro would work on a tablet. It is perfect for a touchscreen. Some of the more complicated and involved mechanics like crafting could be replaced with jewel puzzles and slot machines.

 

Keep an eye on the subscription page, they are still accepting 1 year subs so things are not crashing down they are in controlled demolition phase. It will be alright, the pilots have parachutes. Passengers, well not so much :D

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