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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
How have the rights changed?

Althoun
Lorien

Mar 9 2019, 1:46am

Post #1 of 18 (1845 views)
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How have the rights changed? Can't Post

Shaun Gunner on Twitter:


Quote
OK, I was a bit busy yesterday to tweet but a few observations:

This isn't a reveal of previous map, this is a new map (look at coastlines). We now have two maps.

This dates c. 750 - 1600 of Second Age. This is Númenor expansion and run up to Rings.

The name "Lond Daer" dates it closer to 1600 (was known as Vinyalondë), but lack of "Mordor" (founded c. 1000) puts it earlier.

They need to give me a call because Ost-in-Edhil is in the wrong place. (They've put it where Tharbad is.)

As everyone rightly says, this shows they have rights to (at least some of) Unfinished Tales. We saw this with Ras Morthil but Númenor confirms it.


It is virtually certain that Amazon have managed to acquire the rights to Unfinished Tales, thereby becoming the first private company since 1969 to foray deeper into the Tolkien Estate's intellectual property and literary crown jewels.

I had speculated this myself when the name Ras Morthil showed up on an earlier map. The shape of Númenor, like a five-pointed star, and all the names on that map of the island. are only in Unfinished Tales.

But with the presence of Tol Fuin and Tol Morwen the plot thickens. These names do not appear in Unfinished Tales but surface only in The Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth series, so far as I know.

For this reason, it looks to me at least like Amazon have managed to acquire rights to at least parts of the Silmarillion and HOME, as incredible as that may be.


Wainrider
Bree

Mar 9 2019, 2:15am

Post #2 of 18 (1811 views)
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Silmarillion [In reply to] Can't Post

That would be amazing but highly unlikely.


Althoun
Lorien

Mar 9 2019, 2:18am

Post #3 of 18 (1807 views)
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Agreed but [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That would be amazing but highly unlikely.


Where else is Tol Morwen coming from?

Tol Morwen is only referenced in the published Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth XI: The War of the Jewels (The Wanderings of Húrin).

How do you reference it without the rights to either The Silmarillion or Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-earth?

Besides, they definitely must have Unfinished Tales, because it's the only text that would give them the right to the accurate design of Numenor and it's place-names.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Mar 9 2019, 2:26am)


Altaira
Superuser


Mar 9 2019, 2:30am

Post #4 of 18 (1805 views)
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Paradigm shift [In reply to] Can't Post

For so long we've been operating within the historical universe that movie/play rights to Tolkien's works were limited to what was between the covers of 'The Hobbit' and LOTR. So much so that now we're assuming that "the rights" to UT and the Sil, by default refers to everything between the covers. I think it may be time for a paradigm shift. It may well be that Amazon acquired the rights to *parts* of UT, and whatever parts overlap in the Sil.

Remember that both UT and the Sil, from cover-to-cover, are comprised of a series of easily compartmentalized stories, so it would be easy to restrict use of some of them and not others.

So, I agree with Althoun that the rights now most certainly cover at least major parts of UT, and venture to say that related stories in the Sil are included, but not necessarily all of either book from cover-to-cover.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



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(This post was edited by Altaira on Mar 9 2019, 2:32am)


Althoun
Lorien

Mar 9 2019, 2:36am

Post #5 of 18 (1790 views)
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Good post! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For so long we've been operating within the historical universe that movie/play rights to Tolkien's works were limited to what was between the covers of 'The Hobbit' and LOTR. So much so that now we're assuming that "the rights" to UT and the Sil, by default refers to everything between the covers. I think it may be time for a paradigm shift. It may well be that Amazon acquired the rights to *parts* of UT, and whatever parts overlap in the Sil.

Remember that both UT and the Sil, from cover-to-cover, are comprised of a series of easily compartmentalized stories, so it would be easy to restrict use of some of them and not others.

So, I agree with Althoun that the rights now most certainly cover at least major parts of UT, and venture to say that related stories in the Sil are included, but not necessarily all of either book from cover-to-cover.


I concur.

My suspicion, or hunch as it may be, is that the legal teams have somehow managed to hash out a means by which Amazon can hsve isolated rights to everything in the books (UT, HOME, Akallabeth part of Sil) with relevance to the Second Age, which may be needed for them to work creatively but comprehensively with the material.

It is now beyond doubt that they are legally using material not in the LoTR appendices.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Mar 9 2019, 2:37am)


balbo biggins
Rohan


Mar 9 2019, 3:12am

Post #6 of 18 (1773 views)
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Second age [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe they have rights to ' the second age'

This makes sense as a prequel To lord of the rings,. Maybe it ends at the beginning of the films, the last Alliance..

Then The spin off series will be young aragorn stuff,. It sets it all up quite nicely

But then we kmss out on the witch king stuff, God knows how that fits in considering the timelime


(This post was edited by balbo biggins on Mar 9 2019, 3:13am)


Name
Rohan


Mar 9 2019, 4:15am

Post #7 of 18 (1758 views)
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I agree with what the others have said [In reply to] Can't Post

Very likely that anything related to the Second Age is fair game, including from the Silmarillion. To be honest, for $250 million, you could tell me that they have the rights to the entire Silmarillion and I wouldn't be all that surprised. Now, I don't think this is the case, but for that amount of money I don't think it's completely out of the question. But SA Silmarillion stuff? Almost guaranteed at this point.


Welsh hero
Gondor


Mar 9 2019, 8:13am

Post #8 of 18 (1727 views)
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Christopher Tolkien has stepped down [In reply to] Can't Post

could it have anything to do with that?

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uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 9 2019, 9:20am

Post #9 of 18 (1708 views)
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It could indeed [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
could it have anything to do with that?

Maybe, but it's a little more than that. Those rights go with him, not the estate. All the Tolkien matter edited by him is his to give or withhold. So he would have to have had a change of heart or have stepped down from governing his own rights. He is bloody ancient after all.


Mari D.
Rivendell


Mar 9 2019, 10:05am

Post #10 of 18 (1694 views)
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Maybe he would have approved [In reply to] Can't Post

of a Second Age deal, to make sure that what they show based on the appendices can be fleshed out by what else is known of that time - so that the series has at least a better chance to be faithful to his father's work?


(This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 9 2019, 10:12am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 9 2019, 4:20pm

Post #11 of 18 (1621 views)
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Not quite so simple [In reply to] Can't Post

Based on the copyright notices listed in each book edited by Christopher, including the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, all the volumes of HoMe and the three stand-alone Great Tale books (at least in the Houghton Mifflin versions that I own), Christopher only claims individual copyright rights to The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin, as well as the notes and commentary in Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin. Everything else is either listed as "Copyright ©[year] by Frank Richard Williamson and Christopher Reuel Tolkien as Executors of the Estate of J. R. R. Tolkien" or "Copyright ©[year] Tolkien Copyright Trust."

Although, I understand a Harper Collins trade paperback copy of The Peoples of Middle-earth says "Copyright © The Tolkien Estate Limited and C.R. Tolkien 1996." So who knows?

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Mar 9 2019, 4:34pm)


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 11 2019, 1:23pm

Post #12 of 18 (1460 views)
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Good thinking [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Maybe they have rights to ' the second age'

This makes sense as a prequel To lord of the rings,. Maybe it ends at the beginning of the films, the last Alliance..

Then The spin off series will be young aragorn stuff,. It sets it all up quite nicely

But then we kmss out on the witch king stuff, God knows how that fits in considering the timelime

That would be a good way to do it. It would be very clean and avoid lots of legal wrangling over what was in or out of bounds.


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 11 2019, 2:42pm

Post #13 of 18 (1451 views)
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thanks for checking [In reply to] Can't Post

I was, as usual, reporting on information I got through a bit of a grapevine.


Ferder
The Shire

Mar 13 2019, 5:06pm

Post #14 of 18 (1373 views)
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According to the original press release... [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't find the original press release anymore but if I remember correctly it had different wording than the usual Tolkien adaptions.

All the films so far have mentioned Tolkien Enterprises in their press releases, which is the collection of rights owned by Saul Zaentz Company, specifically and exclusively for adapting material from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

However, I don't remember Tolkien Enterprises being mentioned anywhere in the Amazon press release. Instead, the parties mentioned are "the estate of JRR Tolkien, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema."

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/10/everything-we-know-about-amazons-lord-of-the-rings.html

So this would imply that the estate will have more involvement for deciding what Tolkien works can and what cannot be used as source material for the show, beyond the usual copyright limitations that had been in place for the film adaptions.


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 13 2019, 5:39pm

Post #15 of 18 (1360 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I can't find the original press release anymore but if I remember correctly it had different wording than the usual Tolkien adaptions.

All the films so far have mentioned Tolkien Enterprises in their press releases, which is the collection of rights owned by Saul Zaentz Company, specifically and exclusively for adapting material from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

However, I don't remember Tolkien Enterprises being mentioned anywhere in the Amazon press release. Instead, the parties mentioned are "the estate of JRR Tolkien, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema."

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/10/everything-we-know-about-amazons-lord-of-the-rings.html

So this would imply that the estate will have more involvement for deciding what Tolkien works can and what cannot be used as source material for the show, beyond the usual copyright limitations that had been in place for the film adaptions.


That is my recollection as well.


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 13 2019, 6:56pm

Post #16 of 18 (1346 views)
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The original press release is here: [In reply to] Can't Post

Click me


Eldy
Gondor


Mar 13 2019, 7:47pm

Post #17 of 18 (1334 views)
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Correct [In reply to] Can't Post

The Saul Zaentz Company, doing business as Middle-earth Enterprises (formerly Tolkien Enterprises), is not involved with the TV series. Our own Voronwë_the_Faithful did some digging into the original 1969 contracts back when news of the negotiations first leaked, and while the TV rights were not exactly sold along with the film rights, there was an option for them to be purchased for peanuts later on. Obviously, that didn't happen, what with a totally different company spending $250M for them. The best theory I've heard is that Middle-earth Enterprises ceded any claim over the TV rights as one of the conditions of the lawsuit settlement from earlier in 2017, but if this was ever confirmed that news passed me by.


(This post was edited by Eldy on Mar 13 2019, 7:49pm)


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2019, 11:05pm

Post #18 of 18 (1309 views)
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"New Line Cinema" [In reply to] Can't Post

You know what this may mean? This may mean that Amazon acquired the rights to the FILM versions of LOTR and TH as well.

Which begs the question: Why do that, unless you're going to utilize aspects of the PJ filmverse in your show?

We don't know if it's simply visual aesthetic, or if they're going to use actual set pieces, dialogue, actors (if they're able and willing and visually can still pull it off), costuming (PLEASE bring back the Battle of the Last Alliance armor!!!), rings, etc. Depending on who holds exactly what rights, it's certainly possible that relevant WETA creations, costume designs, etc will be recreated by Amazon, possibly to at least provide visual continuity between the new TV show and what fans have come to know (visually) as Middle-earth.

PJ and co. may have had its flaws for sure (not the least of which is dialogue in some places in both LOTR and TH), but visually I think they nailed it. If Amazon can bring really good writing PLUS the genius of WETA and costuming and visuals from the New Line films, then this show is going to be AMAZING.

Please Amazon...don't screw the writing up! Heart

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