The Hobbit was a 1982 illustrated text adventure game released initially on the Spectrum, based on the Tolkien novel of the same name.

According to https://www.filfre.net/2012/11/the-hobbit/

Unlike more naive characters like the Austin brothers, Milgrom knew that he needed to work something out with the Tolkien estate before releasing a commercial game based on the novel. About six months in, with some demonstrations ready to show them, he made contact. As Milgrom put it in later interviews, he had “contingency plans” if the Tolkien people should turn him down — presumably, filing the proverbial serial numbers off and releasing the game as a generic fantasy adventure after all. But luckily they were very receptive. As I write this, we’re awash in hype over the imminent release of the first of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies. It’s amazing to consider that thirty years ago the Tolkien estate was willing to entrust the property to a tiny publisher like Melbourne House employing a few kids working part-time when not at university. Tolkien was then, as he is now, the premiere fantasy writer. It’s just that the position of fantasy fiction within popular culture has changed incalculably, in no small part due to trends whose roots I’ve been chronicling on this blog.

It seems to me that most of the time, the profit in licensing deals, goes to the IP owner, not the developer. (A contemporary example: the notorious E.T. videogame, for which Atari wildly overpaid for the license.) But I'm curious about how true that is in the general case, and this looks like a good test, being an early case where the IP owners were still not accustomed to the situation.

In the above quote, the writer is amazed that the IP owners were willing to sign a licensing deal at all, on any terms, no matter how onerous. Does that mean the terms of the actual deal were generous?

Just what were the terms? I have not been able to find anything on that matter so far.

  • 2
    I'm not seeing why a licensing agreement between a company and a copyright holder is 'retrocomputing'.
    – dave
    Jan 6 at 19:29
  • 6
    @another-dave well it is definitely "microcomputer game history". Jan 6 at 21:41
  • 4
    I am afraid this question never will be answered, unless someone who signed the contract hapens to see this question and answers it. This type of licenses are often seen as trade secrets, so they will be burried deep down in some locked archieve.
    – UncleBod
    Jan 7 at 10:21
  • 1
    law.stackexchange.com might be a better fit for the question.
    – Therac
    Jan 10 at 10:44


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