Tolkien fans may have been aware of an odd case going through the courts. In 2022, a writer named Demetrious Polychron self-published a book called The Fellowship of the King, claiming it was the ‘pitch-perfect sequel to The Lord of the Rings‘.
In April of this year, Polychron attempted to sue the Tolkien Estate and Amazon (for $250 million!), claiming that The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power TV series infringed copyright on his book. (This court document reveals letters Polychron wrote to Simon Tolkien – it makes for fascinating reading.) This case was dismissed by a judge – but Polychron had been unwise to draw such attention to his writing. The Tolkien Estate in turn filed a lawsuit to prevent distribution of Polychron’s derivative book, and the six sequels he had planned. Here’s what the Estate’s official press release tells us, about the conclusion of this extraordinary tale:
TOLKIEN ESTATE SUCCESSFUL IN COPYRIGHT CLAIMS OVERINFRINGING LORD OF THE RINGS ‘SEQUEL’
The Estate of JRR Tolkien has been successful in two lawsuits concerning a book named The Fellowship of the King by US-based author Demetrious Polychron.
Polychron published and commercially promoted the book, which he claimed to be “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 infringing 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 December 14, 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.”
Last night, Prime Video held a premiere celebration for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in Culver City, California. Making use of their new Culver Studios location (and the next door movie theatre), Prime Video hosted cast and crew with a Middle-earth themed red carpet, complete with drone show. Simon Tolkien, the Professor’s grandson, was also in attendance, along with many of the cast, creators and crew.
Here’s Prime Video’s official press release:
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – On Monday, August 15th, Prime Video hosted a Red Carpet and Premiere Screening event in celebration of “THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER” at The Culver Studios. Fans and industry alike erupted with excitement as the cast of THE RINGS OF POWER arrived at the beautifully constructed Middle-earth themed red carpet, which was inspired by some of the character costumes seen in the show. The screening opened with remarks by: Jen Salke, Head of Prime Video, followed by Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
Afterward, the cast, creators and guests celebrated the series’ premiere at The Culver Studios closing out the night. Guests were surprised when, 45 minutes into the party, a drone show filled the night sky over the Mansion, consisting of images they had seen during the screening of the first two episodes. It opened with the beautiful white paper swan from the opening shot of the series. The drones then morphed into other images including symbolism and iconography from the series before concluding dramatically with the Prime Video logo.
Showrunners: JD Payne and Patrick McKay
Executive Producers:Lindsey Weber
Director/Executive Producer:JA Bayona
Composer: Bear McCreary
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Charles Edwards, Charlie Vickers, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Ema Horvath, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Leon Wadham, Lloyd Owen, Markella Kavenagh, Maxim Baldry, Megan Richards, Morfydd Clark, Nazanin Boniadi, Owain Arthur, Robert Aramayo, Sara Zwangobani, Sophia Nomvete, Trystan Gravelle, Tyroe Muhafidin
In an exclusive report by Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly confirms the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher’s oldest child Simon, as a consultant on AP’s Rings of Power series.
In his very own words to EW: “I have enjoyed assisting Amazon Studios in connection with the series, and in particular providing input to JD Payne and Patrick McKay on matters including my grandfather’s original writing.”
Showrunner Patrick McKay had this to say about Tolkien’s influence on their work: “His insights, attention to detail and passion for both the characters and the overall architecture of The Rings of Power are woven throughout the pages of our story.”
Roheryn writes: The Professor’s grandson Simon Tolkien will be interviewed in the second hour of NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” today. Check local public radio listings. An archived audio file of this program will be available after the program airs. More..