Filming Possibilities

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by RA on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:21 pm

A completist’s cinematic tour of the LOTR world might include Tolkien’s The Silmarillion Movie, a collection of universe-building mythology edited and posthumously published by Tolkien’s son Christopher in 1977. The problem, Jackson says, is in who controls the rights to the work. “The Silmarillion Movie is the big volume, but that’s owned by the Tolkien estate,” he said. “It’s not owned by Warner Bros. or MGM — and I don’t think the Tolkien estate are very fond of these movies, so I wouldn’t expect to see The Silmarillion Movie any time soon.”
I see Jackson would still be interested in the Silmarillion by the way he casts the Estate into the villain's role.
No reference to why Christopher dislikes the movies or even a politically correct statement just saying Christopher Tolkien won't release the film rights because those were his father's wishes.

Nope. Just a, They don't like the movies, can you believe that?

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by CC12 35 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:05 pm

I don't believe you! Play it fucking loud

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by RA on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:52 am

Where are you?

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:59 pm

Good question- I miss CC and Ally very much indeed  Crying or Very sad 

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:13 pm

According to this article, the copyright to to The Silmarillion IS in Christopher Tolkien's name, so (if I understand things correctly) he could open a separate trust deed for it, and later works, ensuring they don't pass into the public domain until 70 (or longer if copyright extension is taken into account-I think the copyright on the Sil was renewed by the 2nd edition in 1999) years after his death.

http://nerdalicious.com.au/books/why-peter-jackson-will-never-film-the-silmarillion/

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1180-on-the-possibility-of-a-silmarillion-movie.php

Even if the Tolkien Estate did have a change of heart and agree to sell the rights/co-produce a movie, I can't help but wonder why Warner Bros or Jackson would agree to it-the amount of legal wrangling, financing and production issues are mind boggling in them selves, not to mention a decreasing profit margin, the pressure to out epic The Hobbbit, (not to mention a far smaller fanbase than LOTR, the well known views of the author, and the dubious issues of adapting what is in effect an adapation of Tolkien's own drafts) and the on going legal issues.

On the other hand, if the estate decided to produce an adaption of their own in house, it could be seen as cashing in, or a bitter move for fans of Jackson's films.

I really can't see the benefit or likelihood of this happening, but I'm not going to entirely dismiss the idea of it-the Tolkien Estate are apparently backing one of the Biopics in pre production at the moment...




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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:21 pm

malickfan wrote:According to this article, the copyright to to The Silmarillion IS in Christopher Tolkien's name, so (if I understand things correctly) he could open a separate trust deed for it, and later works, ensuring they don't pass into the public domain until 70 (or longer if copyright extension is taken into account-I think the copyright on the Sil was renewed by the 2nd edition in 1999) years after his death.

http://nerdalicious.com.au/books/why-peter-jackson-will-never-film-the-silmarillion/

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1180-on-the-possibility-of-a-silmarillion-movie.php

Even if the Tolkien Estate did have a change of heart and agree to sell the rights/co-produce a movie, I can't help but wonder why Warner Bros or Jackson would agree to it-the amount of legal wrangling, financing and production issues are mind boggling in them selves, not to mention a decreasing profit margin, the pressure to out epic The Hobbbit, (not to mention a far smaller fanbase than LOTR, the well known views of the author, and the dubious issues of adapting what is in effect an adapation of Tolkien's own drafts) and the on going legal issues.

On the other hand, if the estate decided to produce an adaption of their own in house, it could be seen as cashing in, or a bitter move for fans of Jackson's films.

I really can't see the benefit or likelihood of this happening, but I'm not going to entirely dismiss the idea of it-the Tolkien Estate are apparently backing one of the Biopics in pre production at the moment...

Hey, this effectively knocks the feet from under my joke. Mad

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:22 pm

Sounds interesting though. I'll give the links a read. Wink

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:20 pm

I hadn't heard anything about the Estate being involved with the biopics, but I haven't been following those closely anyway. Was there an article or something you could share? I'd be curious to know more.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:37 pm

Eldorion wrote:I hadn't heard anything about the Estate being involved with the biopics, but I haven't been following those closely anyway.  Was there an article or something you could share?  I'd be curious to know more.

I said 'apparently' because I swear reading the other night the biopic on tolkien/lewis was being developed with the advice of the estate, but looking at the various articles they all seem to be saying the same stuff and I can't find a source, I was probably mistaken, I wouldn't really expect any public comment at the stage anyway Shrugging

All three of the biopics are still in pre-production and I haven't seen any recent updates (though an interview with one of the attached directors:
http://www.thewrap.com/tolkien-lewis-why-i-chose-to-tell-this-fascinating-story-guest-blog/), will be interesting to see if any are endorsed (or actually make it to production) in the coming months.


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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:13 am

No prob. I don't think the biopic-makers are legally required to get permission to make a biopic, though the Estate has been touchy about the use of Tolkien's name and identity in works of fiction before. But generally speaking, I don't think you can copyright a person's life.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:09 am

You're right in that, Eldo. Wink

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:13 am

A clarification on copyright: Christopher Tolkien holds the authorial copyright on The Silmarillion, not J.R.R. Tolkien. Harper Collins has confirmed with us that, under current copyright laws, the copyright will therefore not expire until 70 years after Christopher’s death, and not in 2043 when the copyright on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien will expire. (Updated 25/01/14)

I found this an odd statement though, to the degree it must be apocryphal. Tolkiens (JRRs) contribution to the Silmarillion has obviously earned copyright protection. And even with works released after the authors death this lasts at least 50 years after that date. (70 in the UK.) Now what that statement tells me is that Christopher Tolkien has a copyright in the Silmarillion too, but I don't see how it could be the only one. Shrugging

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:14 pm

IIRC Christopher is considered a coauthor of The Silm for copyright purposes (which he more than earned through his work on the book), and since he outlived his father, the copyright lasts until 70 years after Christopher passes away.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Yeah, were in agreement on that. And I think we might have talked about it before.

I'm surprised though that it refers to Christopher as the sole copyright holder. As the Silmarillion must obviously be seen as a combined work with JRR. Now, I don't know exactly what happened in as much as Tolkiens inheritance, but I'd say it's more than likely the Silmarillion copyright of JRR Tolkien is in the hands of the Estate. And I'd think that means that while they're effectively both in the hands of one person now, Christopher, that might not necessarily be the case in the future.. scratch

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Tolkien's will appointed Christopher his sole literary executor with the power to do whatever he wanted with his father's unpublished writings. I have no idea what specific powers Christopher had ceded to the Estate as an entity, but since he heads the Estate, it's probably six of one, half a dozen of another. (Though I understand lawyers probably don't think like that. Razz)
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:57 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Yeah, were in agreement on that. And I think we might have talked about it before.

I'm surprised though that it refers to Christopher as the sole copyright holder. As the Silmarillion must obviously be seen as a combined work with JRR. Now, I don't know exactly what happened in as much as Tolkiens inheritance, but I'd say it's more than likely the Silmarillion copyright of JRR Tolkien is in the hands of the Estate. And I'd think that means that while they're effectively both in the hands of one person now, Christopher, that might not necessarily be the case in the future..  scratch

Someone posted this on IMDB months ago, I saved the post (the link is no longer active) as I thought it was legit, but I've got no idea if it's accurate or not, as I don't know much about copyright laws (not to mention, copyright can be extended...):

These discussions keep coming round because most people are not familiar with estate law and misunderstand Christopher Tolkien's role and powers. That's doubly understandable because he has two separate roles.

(1) CRRT is Tolkien's literary executor. As such, he was granted by JRRT total control over JRRT's unpublished manuscripts. He could burn them, edit them, rewrite them, publish them as is, or whatever he deemed best. JRRT had complete confidence in Christopher's judgement on these matters. Thank goodness he did NOT decide to burn the lot! What he will ultimately do with the remaining unpublished material is unknown, but he has probably made arrangements for them, possibly to donate them to a university collection, a la Marquette.

(2) CRRT is the executor/trustee of the Tolkien Estate and Trust. This is a clearly defined legal role: he is entrusted with carrying out JRRT's instructions in founding the Tolkien Estate (which is, confusingly, not the same thing as Tolkien's personal estate. You and I and most people when they depart this earth leave behind a personal estate of varying value, which is dispensed in accordance with a will if there is one. The Tolkien Estate and Trust however is a different kind of organization, a family estate trust, which is completely separate. However, the person who set it up (the settlor) stipulates what the estate trust will do and its operational parameters. The executor/trustee must follow these directives. He or she cannot override them. These organizations are audited and monitored for compliance..

CRRT's two roles are very different. In the first, he has considerable, virtually total, discretionary power. In the second, he has very little.

Now, PPP made the point that Tolkien sold the film rights to LOTR and The Hobbit to United Artists "because he needed the money." This is true, but misleading. WHY did he "need the money?" He was doing very well, thank you, since after his retirement from Oxford he was getting substantial income from royalties, and for the first time could provide his wife with pleasures that meant a lot to her (he moved to Bournemouth, where she enjoyed living in a resort setting and mixed with a less intellectual set. Edith never really felt comfortable in Oxford).

So why did he need a large sum of money? Not for himself, but to set up the Tolkien Estate and Trust. You need money to do this. He established trusts for each of his children and grandchildren (and made provisions, we can be sure, for ones not yet born), provided for a charitable arm of the Trust, and in a document usually called a trust deed he specified the purpose, activities and restrictions on the operation of the TE, to take effect on his demise. It's purpose, as the TE endlessly repeats, is to "promote and protect JRRT's literary legacy." We can be sure that came direct from JRRT himself, and it is likely -- because it is one of the purposes of establishing an estate trust for intellectual property -- that it also restricted sale of copyrights or other rights to any of his literary works.

This is a major reason why authors set up an estate trust before their death: to control their intellectual property. It's kind of ironic that in order to set up a mechanism to prevent sale of film or radio rights to his works, Tolkien had to sell the rights to some of his existing works -- but it's not really a contradiction. JRRT did view both TH and LOTR as "commercial" ventures (not in a negative sense), and said to friends that popular success had been surprisingly gratifying, as it had enabled him to give his wife a better life and for both of them to enjoy small pleasures that they would earlier have been unable to afford. But his other works, including and especially The Silmarillion, were another story. He authorized Christopher to burn it, but not to sell movie rights to it!

The trust deed that set up the TE is not a public document, so his exact instructions cannot be verified. However, it is a virtual certainty that he included prohibition on further sale of film rights, copyrights or authorization of commercial products. The TE board of directors cannot overturn its founder, and even when CRRT passes on to Valinor the next director/executor/trustee will have to follow JRRT's instructions as well. He or she does not have a choice.

Those who are hoping for some change of policy after CRRT's death are hoping in vain. Even if a band of film buffs succeed to the board of the TE, they will not be authorized to overrule their founder.

Beyond that, since under UK law Christopher is a joint author of the Sil, he can make it a condition in his own estate that the rights not be sold.

So expecting a change of policy is a vain enterprise. Legally, it can't happen. We will just have to wait for the material to go into the public domain, which it will -- someday.

Meanwhile, if anyone were keen to do it, further Middle-Earth films could be made from the stories in the appendices to LOTR. I doubt there's a market, though]


There's also this tidbit:

http://sacnoths.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/tolkiens-will.html

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:27 pm

Ah, thank you. Mm. Yeah, I think you posted that before.

I'd say it clears a lot of things up, but it still leaves some ambiguous. Namely;

The trust deed that set up the TE is not a public document, so his exact instructions cannot be verified. However, it is a virtual certainty that he included prohibition on further sale of film rights, copyrights or authorization of commercial products. The TE board of directors cannot overturn its founder, and even when CRRT passes on to Valinor the next director/executor/trustee will have to follow JRRT's instructions as well. He or she does not have a choice.

Beyond that, since under UK law Christopher is a joint author of the Sil, he can make it a condition in his own estate that the rights not be sold.

All this is conjecture to some degree, in my opinion. We do not know what the trust deed says, and the danger of sale of ilm rights to a then unreleased work might not have seemed important to Tolkien when setting up the trust. Also we do not know what legal stipulations Christopher will make. (Though it's quite apparent that selling movie rights is quite high on the list of things he'll want to ensure doesn't happen, I'd agree.)

So

Legally, it can't happen. We will just have to wait for the material to go into the public domain, which it will -- someday.

I'd say improbable, not "it can't happen."

It does not quite clear up the situation with the Silmarillion though. Or where JRRs copyright lies. Personal Estate? Public Estate? Either way it could lead to two different people controlling each of those two copyrights at some points, but as that IMDB thing say, they're course of actions will be limited by the limits Christopher and JRR respectively have set.

Still surprised it claims Christopher as sole copyrightholder though, I can't see how that could be the case. And if he acts like it, perhaps the Estate might have to go to the courts or something.. Razz

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:32 pm

Well at least that means Jackson will likely be too confused to attempt to get the rights Razz


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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:42 pm

That would certainly be one positive thing to come out of this. Very Happy

I'd say that IMDB thing is probably right, but we don't know. Securing future movie rights might not have seemed so important to Tolkien when setting up the estate. But as Christopher would say no anyway, it's pretty much a moot question.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:56 pm

Bluebottle wrote:I'd say improbable, not "it can't happen."

Yeah, this is probably the more accurate statement, but I would say the probability is so slim as to be mostly negligible.

It does not quite clear up the situation with the Silmarillion though. Or where JRRs copyright lies. Personal Estate? Public Estate? Either way it could lead to two different people controlling each of those two copyrights at some points, but as that IMDB thing say, they're course of actions will be limited by the limits Christopher and JRR respectively have set.

I don't know how definitive it is, but the copyright page in my edition of LOTR (the 50th Anniversary paperback version) lists the original copyright as belonging to J.R.R. Tolkien (naturally), and the renewal in the 1990s as belong to his children: "Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R. Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien and Priscilla M.A.R. Tolkien". I'd imagine they represent the Estate in that capacity, though I can't be certain. As for the posthumous works, I don't have my copy of The Silmarillion with me, but this version on Amazon lists the copyright as belonging to "The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust and C.R. Tolkien", which I suppose meshes with the coauthor idea.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:02 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:It does not quite clear up the situation with the Silmarillion though. Or where JRRs copyright lies. Personal Estate? Public Estate? Either way it could lead to two different people controlling each of those two copyrights at some points, but as that IMDB thing say, they're course of actions will be limited by the limits Christopher and JRR respectively have set.

I don't know how definitive it is, but the copyright page in my edition of LOTR (the 50th Anniversary paperback version) lists the original copyright as belonging to J.R.R. Tolkien (naturally), and the renewal in the 1990s as belong to his children: "Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R. Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien and Priscilla M.A.R. Tolkien". I'd imagine they represent the Estate in that capacity, though I can't be certain. As for the posthumous works, I don't have my copy of The Silmarillion with me, but this version on Amazon lists the copyright as belonging to "The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust and C.R. Tolkien", which I suppose meshes with the coauthor idea.

So, it lists the current holders of the copyright. That makes sense, as it would be them who licenced the use of the work by the publisher.

Also the Silmarillion one kind of confirmes that Harper Collins statement as being wrong.

Thank you. Smile

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:06 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:I'd say improbable, not "it can't happen."

Yeah, this is probably the more accurate statement, but I would say the probability is so slim as to be mostly negligible.

Almost insignificant, yeah. Laughing I'd agree with that.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:37 pm

Bluebottle wrote:So, it lists the current holders of the copyright. That makes sense, as it would be them who licenced the use of the work by the publisher.

Also the Silmarillion one kind of confirmes that Harper Collins statement as being wrong.

Thank you. Smile

No problem. I'm not sure about the Harper Collins statement being proven wrong, though. Wouldn't the copyright last until 70 years after the death of the longer-lived coauthor?
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:04 pm

Yes, that's the time the work is protected. But there would still be two distinct copyright holders in the combined work that is the Silmarillion until the protection ends. One Christopher Tolkien, and two JRR Tolkiens heirs, which seems to be the estate, through The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust. Harper Collins said only Christopher had copyright in the Silmarillion. Wink

The way copyright rules work for combined works, at least in fjordlandia, is that both the first release and releases in new mediums, like a movie adaptation, would have to be an unanimous decision by all the copyrightholders. Which makes selling the movie rights pretty unlikely whoever will end up holding them.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:50 am

Fair point.  I wonder if those were Harper Collins' exact words, or if something was lost in repetition by the author of the blog post.  This doesn't really seem like the sort of thing that HC should be confused about.

One potential variable is whether Christopher sets up his own literary estate type thing, or if he just wills all of his rights to the JRRT Estate and Trust.  A lot of people speculate that pro-film factions within the Tolkien family might inherit control of the Estate after Christopher passes, and while I don't think this will happen, it might be a moot point if Christopher puts his own restrictions on what people can do with his co-authored works.
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