A fanfiction writer of Lord of the Rings faces a backlash from the Tolkien estate due to a copyright claim.
The author of a fanfiction based on The Lord of the Rings has been unsuccessful in a copyright lawsuit against JRR Tolkien’s estate for releasing their own sequel to the beloved series. This legal dispute has proven to be counterproductive for the writer.
In 2022, author Demetrious Polychron, based in the US, released a book titled The Fellowship of the King. He believed it to be the perfect follow-up to the Lord of the Rings and envisioned it as the first installment of a seven-book series influenced by the franchise.
However, in April of the following year, Polychron made an attempt to take legal action against both the Tolkien estate and Amazon for their spin-off TV series, The Rings of Power. He claimed that the show had violated the copyright of his book. The case was dismissed by a California court when the judge determined that Polychron’s text was indeed infringing on Amazon’s prequel, which had been released in September 2022.
The Tolkien estate brought a new legal case against Polychron, seeking the destruction of all physical and digital copies of The Fellowship of the King and a permanent ban on the distribution of any fanfiction series.
The Tolkien estate and Amazon were also granted $134,000 (£106,000) in lawyers’ fees by the US court as a result of Polychron’s lawsuit.
Judge Wilson stated that Polychron’s request for copyright protection was not reasonable or serious, as his creation heavily relies on characters from The Lord of the Rings.
The solicitor for the UK estate, Steven Maier of Maier Blackburn, stated: “This is a significant victory for the Tolkien estate, as they will not allow unauthorized authors and publishers to profit from JRR Tolkien’s beloved works in this manner.”
In this instance, there was a significant violation of the copyright for The Lord of the Rings, which was done for profit. The estate desires that the granting of a permanent court order and reimbursement for legal expenses will discourage others with similar plans.