Tolkien’s Estate Has Lawyered Up and Filed Its Own Suit against the Author Who Recently Sued It for Copyright Infringement

Image: Amazon Studios

In a somewhat expected move, J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate has lawyered up and filed its own countersuit against Demetrious Polychron. The fanfiction author recently filed a $250 million lawsuit against Amazon, including its former president and CEO Jeff Bezos, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate claiming that Amazon’s streaming series The Lord of Rings: The Rings of Power infringed on his novel The Fellowship of the King: The War of the Rings. The writer managed to obtain a copyright for his work and claimed to contact Tolkien’s son regarding his work and had no response. Meanwhile, J.R.R. Tolkien’s trust has moved forward with its own lawsuit.

From Radar Online:

In the suit, the Trust said the lawsuit was brought due to Polychron’s “willful and blatant violation” of its copyright interests in the Lord of the Rings franchise.

The Trust said despite the author being aware of its rights in Tolkien’s work, he decided to “write, publish, market and sell a blatantly infringing derivative sequel to the Tolkien Trilogy entitled The Fellowship of the King (the “Infringing Work”). In addition to clearly mimicking the title of the first book in the Tolkien Trilogy, the Infringing Work constitutes a blatant, wide-ranging and comprehensive misappropriation of Professor Tolkien’s creative opus.”

The Trust said its aware that Polychron plans to release up to six additional books — all based on Tolkien’s characters.

“The Infringing Work is currently being offered for sale on various online platforms in the United States for $17.99 – $26.99 a copy,” the suit read.

The suit explained, “Neither Professor Tolkien nor the Tolkien Estate has ever authorized any written sequels to the Tolkien Trilogy. Not only was the Infringing Work unauthorized, but the Tolkien Estate had already expressly refused the [Polychron’s] request to publish any work of this nature, in keeping with its longstanding policy.”

The Battle Rages On

At this point, the battle is now relegated to the lawyers and courts in a case of who said or allowed what and whose copyright will hold up. According to Radar Online, the trust claimed it attempted to resolve its differences peacefully but the author would not adhere to cease and desist orders and it is now seeking an injunction to prohibit further sales of his book. It was not revealed in the article what damage awards the trust was seeking in its case.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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