JRR Tolkien – Intellectual Property

J.R.R Tolkien Sought Fair Share of Royalties From Lord of the Rings Franchise

The Lord of the Rings movie and merchandising franchise has garnered over six billion dollars in revenues and enormous profits. J.R.R Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, had sold film rights to his books before his death in 1973 for of 7.5% of gross revenues after expenses. After so called “Hollywood accounting,” the Tolkien estate, which is now a charitable trust, had received virtually nothing from proceeds of the films.

Negotiations over the royalty distribution lasted years until the estate retained a highly regarded Los Angeles law firm. Soury Communications was brought on as advisors as national and international media attention grew on issues surrounding the beloved books and films. Having accurate and responsible information about the issues in the case in the public arena was crucial as the case moved through the legal process. Media attention grew quickly and concern developed among the enormous worldwide fan base that the lawsuit could impact the production of J.R.R Tolkien film properties already in production.

Accurate Information About Legal Case Crucial

Soury Communications developed a public strategy that would manage the media attention while ensuring that the facts of the case and legal developments were reported accurately. Fact based materials were prepared and distributed, interviews conducted and a compelling narrative developed about the issues in the case that was successfully introduced to the variety of public audiences. Every major media outlet including all the major networks, Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes, CNN, CNBC and the New York Times coved the case extensively.

Soon the world came to know the issues surrounding the rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise. Negotiations between the principals to end the legal battle quickened with the Tolkien estate receiving one of the largest royalty settlements in Hollywood history.