Lord Of The Rings Mod Hit With Takedown Just As Tolkien’s Works Are Up For Sale

Lord Of The Rings Mod Hit With Takedown Just As Tolkien’s Works Are Up For Sale
Screenshot: Lord of the Rings

Ownership of the Lord of the Rings series has somehow been in the news twice this week. Firstly and most prominently because the rights to the series are going up for sale for the first time since the 1970s. Secondly, and more bizarrely, because this week of all weeks a prominent Lord of the Rings mod was hit with a copyright notice.

The bigger news first: the Saul Zantz company has owned most of the rights to Tolkien’s works since the 1970s, and almost everything that has been made based on the books since in the fields of “film, video games, merchandising, live events and theme parks” has had to be negotiated and paid for accordingly. Variety reported this week though that the company is moving to sell those rights, for a sum that’s expected to be around the $US2 ($3) billion mark (with Amazon expected to be front of the line to make the purchase).

So it’s weird, then, that given the timing of that sale, Warner Bros. — who currently licenses the rights to Lord of the Rings video games — have chosen February 2022 of all times to go after a prominent and highly-anticipated mod for the Total War series called Rise of Mordor.

This mod has been around for yearswe wrote about it in 2018! — and has quietly gone about its business with the assumption that, like its popular predecessor Third Age, nobody really cared. Only now somebody clearly does, because Rise of Mordor’s Mod DB page has been hit with a takedown notice.

While the project’s Nexus Mods page is still up and running, the team have decided to make some changes regardless, and as Gamewatcher report recently polled fans for input on a name change. Maybe this was a case of Warner tidying up loose ends before handing over the licenses, who knows, but equally uncertain is what happens to projects like this when the rights actually change hands.


  • “…equally uncertain is what happens to projects like this when the rights actually change hands.”

    Surely they would just be at the mercy of the new holder of the rights to the LoTR franchise, no?

    • If they already have a contract for their current projects they are good as long as their is no milestone/oversight requirements (like approving final artworks). New owners can’t break contracts unless they are in bad faith or breach of the law.

      The issue is expiration dates on IP contracts that could result in games being removed from digital stores… like how a lot of Marvel games have in the past.

  • Like pretty much every story ever about take down notices, the author again presumes that an actual person was somehow involved somewhere in the process.

    In reality the vast, vast majority of take down notices are algorithmically driven by bots constantly trawling the net for keyword and hash values. There is literally no thought involved, it’s just what happens when you outsource the legal process to computers.

  • It’s such a sad state of affairs the companies go after free mods for games like this. Quite sad. Just let people have fun mods and stop being 100% dicks!

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