The Estate of JRR Tolkien has won two lawsuits against US-based author Demetrious Polychron over his book titled The Fellowship of the King.
Polychron published and commercially promoted the book, claiming it was “the pitch-perfect sequel to The Lord of the Rings.”
Polychron then commenced 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 US District Court summarily dismissed that case, finding that Polychron’s own book was an infringment and could not be used as the basis for a claim.
The Tolkien Estate filed a separate lawsuit against Polychron for an injunction to prevent The Fellowship of the King from being further distributed.
In Judgments issued by Judge Steven V. Wilson on 14 December, the Court awarded the Tolkien Estate summary judgment on its claim, granting a permanent injunction which prevents 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.
The Court also awarded attorney’s fees totalling $134,000 to the Tolkien Estate and Amazon in connection with Polychron’s lawsuit, which the Court found to have been frivolously and unreasonably filed.
Lance Koonce and Gili Karev of Klaris Law, New York, represented the Tolkien Estate.
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.”
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer and philologist. In addition to The Lord of the Rings, he also penned the high fantasy works The Hobbit. From 1925 to 1945, Tolkien was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and a Fellow of Pembroke College, both at the University of Oxford.