Tolkien Estate, Amazon Win LOTR Copyright Lawsuits

Fan fiction writer claimed Amazon series infringed on copyright of his sequel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2023 1:20 PM CST
Tolkien Estate, Amazon Win LOTR Copyright Lawsuits
This image released by Amazon Studios shows Benjamin Walker, from left, Morfydd Clark and Robert Aramayo from "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."   (Amazon Studios via AP)

A Lord of the Rings fan fiction author who sued JRR Tolkien's estate and Amazon after publishing an unauthorized sequel has lost his lawsuit and those filed against him. According to District Court of California documents issued last week, Demetrious Polychron's lawsuit was thrown out after Judge Stephen V. Wilson said his book was infringing on the estate's copyright, not the other way around, Deadline reports. Polychron sued the estate and Amazon in April, claiming the Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power infringed on the copyright of his book The Fellowship of the King, which he described as a "pitch-perfect sequel" to Tolkien's trilogy, reports the BBC.

Wilson called Polycron's lawsuit "frivolous and unreasonably filed," noting the "fantasticality" of trying to claim copyright for a work based entirely on characters created by Tolkien, Variety reports. According to court documents, Amazon and the estate countersued after the judge dismissed Polychron's lawsuit in August and were awarded $134,000 in legal fees. Polychron was also barred from selling his book—and the six sequels he had planned. And while he won't have to throw them into Mount Doom, he has been ordered to destroy all physical and electronic copies of the book.

"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," Steven Maier, a lawyer for the estate, said in a statement. He said the estate hopes "the award of a permanent injunction and attorneys' fees will be sufficient to dissuade others who may have similar intentions." (More Lord of the Rings stories.)

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