Lord of the Rings Fanfiction Author Fails to Sue Amazon, Has to Pay $134,000

An unexpected journey of the Fellowship of the King writer.

Image credit: Amazon

A hobbit challenging a Balrog is a sight to behold, admirable but pointless as you know the outcome immediately. This is what happened to Demetrious Polychron, the creator of The Fellowship of the King, a book that he saw as a sequel to The Lord of the Rings, who has lost his lawsuit against Amazon and the Tolkien Estate and now owes them $134,000.

Now, you might be confused, so I'll tell you a brief tale of a very bold fanfiction author and his legal battle. As PC Gamer reports, Polychron wanted a review of his book from Simon Tolkien, director of the Tolkien Estate and grandson of Lord of the Rings author, and then a collaboration on the project but was ignored. So he published the book in 2022 and Amazon released The Rings of Power the same year. The writer was then struck by a great idea to sue both the company and Simon for infringing on his book with the series, demanding $250 million as he claimed that The Rings of Power borrowed ideas from The Fellowship of the King. 

Image credit: Demetrious Polychron

Admittedly, it was a gutsy move, but I'm sure you've guessed the results. According to BBC, Judge Steven V Wilson called the lawsuit "frivolous and unreasonably filed" and granted the permanent injunction, preventing Polychron from selling this book and its planned sequels. Moreover, the unlucky author now has to pay $134,000 of lawyer's fees to the Tolkien Estate and Amazon. 

"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," said the Tolkien Estate's lawyer Steven Maier (via BBC). "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."

What a fantastic journey with, unfortunately, a very predictable ending. I haven't read Polychron's book but I hope it has a better finale. 

What I don't like about such stories is the attention they bring to fanfiction writers. This one could very well set a dangerous precedent that might encourage rights owners to start a witch hunt against their biggest fans, fueled by views similar to the ones Robin Hobb shared in her infamous Fan Fiction Rant.

Still, I hope it never comes to this, and people will have the freedom to create their own endings, as long as they don't try to bite more than they can chew.

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