Turkish doctor in hot water over LOTR meme, but his lawyer has a brilliant strategy

Lord of the Rings
Confusing Gollum with Smeagol is the sort of thing that you might get chewed out for on obscure Internet forums, but the distinction between the two personalities of Tolkien’s precious-obsessed creature is taking on great significance in a high-profile Turkish court case.

In Turkey, it’s currently a crime to insult a public figure, a crime that doctor Bilgin Ciftci is alleged to have committed when he shared the meme below, which the court believes compares Turkish President Recep Tayyip to the corrupt and murderous Gollum. While you might be inclined to laugh the photo off, it could net Ciftci up to two years in prison and has already cost him his job.

While comparing anyone to Gollum would undoubtedly be insulting, if you look at the meme closely, all three images on the left hand side appear to feature Smeagol, the good-natured, amiable Hobbit that fights Gollum for control over the body that they both inhabit. Ciftci’s lawyer Hicran Danisman believes that, if he can prove that President Tayyip is being compared to Smeagol in the photo, the prosecution can no longer allege that the meme is insulting. Considering that the freedom of expression argument has reportedly gotten the defense nowhere, this is a pretty brilliant tack to take.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the issue has received such attention that Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson and screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have issued the following statement in effort to clear up any confusion on the matter:

“If the images [in question] are in fact the ones forming the basis of this Turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically: None of them feature the character known as Gollum. All of them are images of the character called Smeagol.”

Game, set and match … right?

Well, not so fast. The judge in Ciftic’s trial has called upon five LOTR lore experts to help clear the matter up, and because Jackson & Co. were not consulted for the trial, their statement may not hold water legally.

That said, you have to believe that these so-called experts should be able to explain the situation to the judge. We’ll have to wait and see, and in the meantime, if you’re reading this from a country that won’t jail you for poking fun at a public figure, you may want to take a second to count your blessings.

Music

Tidal faces legal jeopardy over fake stream numbers accusation

In another challenging chapter for music subscription service Tidal, Norwegian authorities have begun a formal investigation into charges that the company faked millions of streams for artists such as Kanye West and Beyoncé.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Movies & TV

‘Sopranos’ prequel ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ adds ‘The Punisher’ star

The upcoming movie The Many Saints of Newark, based on HBO's hit series The Sopranos, will serve as a prequel to the show. It will focus on Tony Soprano as a boy, as well as the race riots that rocked Newark in 1967.
Movies & TV

Oscar-winning FX master explains why ‘First Man’ is a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later.
Movies & TV

CBS recruits Michelle Yeoh for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ spinoff

Yet another Star Trek show is on the way. CBS confirms that Michelle Yeoh will return to play her Star Trek: Discovery character, Philippa Georgiou, in a spinoff centered on Starfleet's clandestine Section 31.
Movies & TV

First ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ trailer offers a peek at life after ‘Infinity War’

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have released the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, set in the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Movies & TV

Curious about 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'? Here's everything we know so far

Despite some mystery surrounding Spider-Man's future after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters in July 2019. Here's everything we know about the movie so far.
Deals

Stream UFC Fight Night 143 for free with this ESPN+ trial offer

If you're looking for a way to watch UFC Fight Night 143 and other upcoming sporting events on mobile, then ESPN's premium mobile service has you covered, and you can even take advantage of a seven-day trial to stream it totally free.
Movies & TV

How much does Netflix cost? Here’s a pricing breakdown of its plans

Wondering how much a Netflix subscription costs? You're not the only one. That's why we put together a quick-hit guide covering all the Netflix plans, whether you want to opt for 4K streaming or a disc-based option.
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.