Lord of the Rings: the Judge Closed a Bizarre Copyright Case!

MOVIE NEWS – A verdict has finally been reached on the recent lawsuit between Amazon and the Tolkien Estate, which was brought by a third party, a Lord of the Rings author who has no connection to the two companies and does not own the copyrights – and yet he claimed that his copyright has been infringed. The case has now come to an end with the judgment of the trial.


The Lord of the Rings is a J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy franchise based on his novels and poems. The late J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate vigilantly protected his intellectual property rights and did not grant permission for adaptations or sequels to his works. But that hasn’t deterred some fans and writers from trying to capitalize on the success of the original trilogy, which was adapted into a blockbuster film series by Peter Jackson.

One such writer, Demetrious Polychron, claims to have written The King’s Friendship, an unauthorized sequel to LOTR. He also claims that Amazon and the Tolkien estate infringed his copyright by filming The Rings of Power, which he claims is based on his novel.

Demetrious Polychron, a fanfiction writer who has been creating LOTR-inspired stories since 2017, registered his novel with the US Copyright Office earlier that year and published it in 2022. He claims that although his novel is inspired by The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien, it is still a completely original work.

Polychron has made serious allegations against Amazon and the Tolkien estate, claiming that the Lord of the Rings series has appropriated many elements from his novel The Rings of Power, which will debut in 2022. He claims that characters, poems, plot points and themes from his work have been used without his consent or acknowledgment. He is demanding $250 million in damages for copyright infringement, Deadline reported.

In 2019, Polychron contacted J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson, Simon Tolkien, to present his novel and request a review of the legacy. However, she claims that Simon rejected her proposal without giving her any feedback or guidance. After that, in 2020, he sent a copy of his novel to Simon’s residence, but he did not receive a response, reports IGN.

After discovering that the novel The Rings of Power was being made based on LOTR, Polychron took legal action against Amazon and the Tolkien estate in April 2023. He filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on April 20, 2023, seeking $250 million in damages for copyright infringement.


What was the decision in the LOTR trial?


Judge Steven V Wilson recently ruled on Polychron’s lawsuit against Amazon and the Tolkien estate. The judge rejected Polychron’s claims, describing them as unjustified and frivolous, writes The Guardian. He also restricted Polychron, preventing him from selling any copies of his book and from publishing any planned sequels.

In his ruling, the judge found that Polychron had not made a valid claim of copyright infringement because it could not prove how Amazon or the Tolkien estate had copied any protected elements of its novel. The judge also found no evidence that Polychron registered or published his novel before Amazon or the Tolkien Estate produced the series.

The judge pointed out that Polychron only registered the novel in one online database after publication, contradicting its claim that it registered the novel before making it freely available online under a Creative Commons license. The judge also found that there was no evidence that Polychron had sent a copy of his novel to Simon Tolkien, Amazon or any representative of the Tolkien estate before taking legal action.

That is, the judge concluded that Polychron had effectively created an unauthorized derivative work by publishing an online version of his novel without obtaining permission from Amazon or the Tolkien Estate. Therefore, he could not claim ownership or authorship of their serial production based on his novel.

The judge also rejected Polychron’s claim for $250 million in damages, deeming it excessive, baseless and against public policy. Polychron was ordered to destroy all physical and electronic copies of his book and to plead guilty to perjury. He was also ordered to pay $134,000 in legal fees to Amazon and the Tolkien Estate. According to the BBC, the British lawyer for the Tolkien Estate, Steven Maier of law firm Maier Blackburn, issued a statement after the verdict:

“This is an important victory for the Tolkien Estate, which will not allow unauthorized authors and publishers to monetize JRR Tolkien’s popular works in this way. This case involved serious, commercial infringement of The Lord of the Rings copyrights, and the estate hopes that the final injunction and attorneys’ fees award will be enough to deter others who may have similar intentions.”

A lawsuit between Polychron and Amazon and the Tolkien estate over The Lord of the Rings controversy was dismissed by a judge, ruling that Polychron did not have a valid claim for copyright infringement. The judge’s ruling allows Amazon and the Tolkien estate to continue producing and distributing his series to the public. The lawsuit also highlights the legal risks for fan fiction writers who attempt to profit from the works of others without their permission or acknowledgment.

Source: GameRant

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