A judge in California has ordered the destruction of all electronic and physical copies of Lord of the Rings fanfiction sequel The Fellowship of the King.
The novel was described by author Demetrious Polychron as a “loving homage” to his hero JRR Tolkien and “the obvious pitch-perfect sequel” to the epic fantasy of The Lord of the Rings.
However, as the New York Times reports, US District Judge Stephen V Wilson sided with the Tolkien estate and ruled that Polychron had violated copyright protections.
Wilson wrote in his ruling that there was “direct evidence of copying” and barred Polychron from further distributing the book or any others in the author’s planned series.
Polychron first approached the Tolkien estate in 2017, when he emailed and then hand-delivered copies of his book to Tolkien’s grandson Simon. Although the Tolkien estate declined to grant rights for a third-party publication, Polychron self-published the book himself.
That case was dismissed in August 2022, when Judge Wilson found that Polychron’s book was in fact infringing the Tolkien estate’s copyright.
The Tolkien estate filed its own lawsuit against Polychron in June, seeking an injunction to prevent the further distribution of his novel. They accusing the author of “willful and blatant” copyright violation.
The Tokien estate’s British-based solicitor, Steven Maier of Maier Blackburn, said in a statement: “This is an important success for the Tolkien estate, which will not permit unauthorised authors and publishers to monetise 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.”
Earlier this year, Warner Bros announced that a new series of Lord of the Rings movies are in the works – leading to a chorus of dismay from fans of Peter Jackson’s trilogy.