Lord Of The Rings | Tolkien Estate wins new legal battle

rings of power
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Author Demetrious Polychron claimed his 'ambitious sequel to JRR Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings' bore a lot of similarities to Amazon’s Rings Of Power series. Turns out a judge agreed.

In an entirely unpredictable turn of events, the US-based author of an unofficial sequel to Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings has been forced to, er, stop selling sequels to The Lord Of The Rings.

Demetrious Polychron published The Fellowship Of The King at the beginning of 2023, describing new events in the 22nd year of High King Elessar’s reign. There are blue wizards, hobbits, and a whole lot of named characters from The Lord Of The Rings.

In what we’ll generously call a bold move, Polychron filed a lawsuit against the Tolkien Estate and Amazon in April of this year, claiming that Amazon’s TV series The Rings Of Power infringed the copyright in his book. The Tolkien Estate have, and continue to be, the custodians of all copyright surrounding the Middle-earth saga. Also, The Rings Of Power arrived on Prime Video in 2022, but we’ll ignore that detail for now.

That lawsuit was pretty quickly thrown out by the US District Court, who pointed out Polychron’s own book was in breach of copyright, which let the Tolkien Estate submit its own lawsuit preventing the author from profiting off the Estate’s IP.

The court also ruled in favour of the Estate in this latest case, preventing Polychron “from ever distributing any further copies of The Fellowship Of The King, his planned sequels to that book, or any other derivative work based on the books of JRR Tolkien. He is also required to destroy all physical and electronic copies of his book and to file a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that he has complied.”

Read more: Warner Bros reportedly ‘courting Peter Jackson’ for new Lord Of The Rings films

The court also awarded attorney fees of $134,000 to Amazon and the Tolkien Estate, describing the original lawsuit as frivolous.

According to the Apple Books website, The Fellowship Of The King was published by a company called Fractal Books. We’ve had a look for them online, but it seems like their website has been closed and there’s no trace of their offices at their LA address.

The Estate’s UK solicitor, Steven Maier of Maier Blackburn, commented: “This is an important success for the Tolkien Estate, which will not permit unauthorized authors and publishers to monetize JRR Tolkien’s much-loved works in this way. This case involved a serious infringement of The Lord of the Rings copyright, undertaken on a commercial basis, and the Estate hopes that the award of a permanent injunction and attorneys’ fees will be sufficient to dissuade others who may have similar intentions.”

It’s all very odd. We’ll put our Hobbit 2: The Trench script back in the drawer.

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