[photopress:Lord_of_the_rings.jpg,full,alignright]CDC Games has signed an exclusive distribution license in China for the online game, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, the official online game based on the original literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The agreement is between CDC Games and the developer of the game, Turbine.
More than 200,000 players in the United States and Europe have already signed up for its Beta Program. CDC Games and Turbine, will work together to localize the game for the China market with an expected launch in 2007.
The Lord of the Rings Online is the first and only massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Dr. Xiaowei Chen, CEO of CDC Games, said, ‘We are committed to delivering the best online gaming experience to our players. With that commitment in mind, we are very excited to bring The Lord of the Rings Online to China.’
The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien’s works for almost 30 years.
But can Saul Zaentz possibly own these rights?
In 1925 Tolkien was Oxford as a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford.
During his time at Pembroke, Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien completed The Lord of the Rings in 1948 by which time he was Merton Professor of English at Oxford. When it came to publishing he was a babe in arms.
Certainly as early as 1960 it was known Tolkien did not own the literary rights to his own works in the United States. At that time you had to register a work and Tolkien, or his agent if he had one, did not do this.
Which means that in 1960 Tolkien had lost all control of the copyright of his works. So from where did the Saul Zaentz Company acquire its rights?
Source: Press release