Tolkien Estate Says Just Mentioning Tolkien Infringes; Tolkien Censorwear Appears In Response

from the that's-not-how-this-works dept

We've been mentioning a bit about how the estate of JRR Tolkien has been overaggressive in trying to enforce (sometimes non-existent) intellectual property rights related to Tolkien. The estate has been like that for a while, but in the last few weeks it's seemed like the number of such stories have been ramping up. The latest one is particularly ridiculous. Boing Boing points us to the news that the Tolkien Estate has threatened a guy for having a button that merely mentions Tolkien:
If you can't see the image, the button reads: "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion." That's not infringing in any way, shape or form. Yet, the Tolkien Estate sent Zazzle (where the button was being sold) a cease and desist. Ridiculously, Zazzle simply complied. That's disappointing as well. In cases of obvious overreach, Zazzle should stand up for the rights of its users.

Of course, where Zazzle fails to stand up for its users, its users seem to be more than willing to stand up for themselves. A bunch of protest merchandise has suddenly been showing up on Zazzle, such as the following two shirts, which joke about Christopher Tolkien's desire to censor any mention of his father that he hasn't approved or been paid for:


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Oh look, a childish response in a t-shirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    A programmer's guide on how to make copyright infringement a million times in less than a minute:

    1- Open python console
    2- Write " print "Tolkien "*(10**6) "
    3- Enter
    4- Jail
    5- ???



    And then they wonder why programmers have 0 respect for I.P. laws.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      chamalulu, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:45am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

      That's really memory efficient.
      Programmers... Hmpf...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:55am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

        Ah fine. Effect won't be exactly the same, but, what the heck:


        for x in xrange(10**6):
        print "Tolkien"


        Now, please, don't make me implement a fast exponentiation algorithm :)

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:57am

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

          Curse you Techdirt and your leading whitespace removing demons!!!

          Let's try that again:

          for x in xrange(10**6):
          ....print "Tolkien"

          where . is supposed to be a space.

           

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          •  
            icon
            vivaelamor (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

            let's
            test
            pre
            tags


            If that came out cascading then pre tags work =)

             

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

            LoL
            LoL
            LoL

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              vivaelamor (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

              Blockquote is cheating (and not very useful for code).

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 5:06am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

                How about  ?

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  icon
                  vivaelamor (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 5:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

                  It works, but is kinda cumbersome. I had a look for any likely addons that could auto replace leading spaces with nbsps where appropriate but didn't find anything less complicated than greasemonkey. I suppose it's not like people need to post code on Techdirt anyway.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:23am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

                    Brute force approach.

                    I just use Gedit to replace all spaces, noting that if you have only one space it will get mangled so you just need to be careful and put two spaces whenever you want something to appear indented.

                    No need to be fancy LoL

                    It ain't pretty but it does work.

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:50am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

                      To be clear, I just replace every space with 2 nbsp and don't use tab to indent anything, then it is just copy & paste.

                       

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

              Using nested <blockquote> like this:
              <blockquote>LoL<blockquote>LoL<blockquote>LoL<blockquote><blockquo te><blockquote>

              Result:

              LoL
              LoL
              LoL


              Or using &nbsp; like this:

              &nbsp;LoL
              &nbsp;&nbsp;LoL
              &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;LoL

              Result:

              &nb sp;LoL
                LoL
                 LoL

              Source:
              HTML Entities

              Other entities:

              &ensp;          en space
              &emsp;         em space
              &thinsp;        thin space
              &zwnj;          zero width non-joiner
              &zwj;            zero width joiner

              ps: Please note that the Techdirt filter mangles the result sometimes, so you can be left we part of the entities dangling out or a space where there should be none.

               

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 5:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

            Using nested <blockquote> like this:
            <blockquote>LoL<blockquote>LoL<blockquote>LoL<blockquote><blockquo te><blockquote>

            Result:

            LoL
            LoL
            LoL


            Or using &nbsp; like this:

            &nbsp;LoL
            &nbsp;&nbsp;LoL
            &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;LoL

            Result:

            &nb sp;LoL
              LoL
               LoL

            Source:
            HTML Entities

            Other entities:

            &ensp;          en space
            &emsp;         em space
            &thinsp;        thin space
            &zwnj;          zero width non-joiner
            &zwj;            zero width joiner

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      vivaelamor (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

      Re:

      "And then they wonder why programmers have 0 respect for I.P. laws."

      Wouldn't that be better expressed as null respect?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 6:28pm

      Re:

      Responding to a humorous post seriously, I rather suspect it's because they're simply not afraid of technology and what it allows. Out of all the programmers and other engineers (people that develop technology for a living) I know professionally and personally, only one has ever told me in private (as opposed to on the job when their superiors are listening) that they consider digital piracy a serious problem in need of a solution.

      In fact, the percentage of professional programmers/engineers I know that are self-confessed pirates and/or free-culture advocates is way higher than the percentage of non-technology people.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

      Re:

      10 print "Tolkien"
      20 goto 10

      LOL. Damn I used to love BASIC

       

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      •  
        identicon
        mirradric, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:40pm

        Re: Re:

        that was infinitely harmful...

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          IP law: the only place in the real world where you can do an infinite amount of damage to anything (at least in the eyes of the law). And as an added bonus, you can do said infinite damage while at the same time doing 0 actual damage (and that's provable).

          I've never used the term "imaginary property" before, but when you consider that, it sure is hard to consider IP (as defined by current law) as anything but imaginary.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    AG Wright (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Tolkein

    I can't help but to want to have the word Tolkein in every post I do for a period, /. sig, FaceBook post and everything else. Nah, too much trouble.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Hum...something that's bugging me.

    Supposed some random dude named Tolkien decides to sell, I dunno, Tolkien brand helicopters. Is he going to be sued for trademark/copyright/whatever infringement? If yes, can someone please stop this world? I want to get out!

     

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  •  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    The first law of Toklien Club is

    you don't ....

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Joe T*lkien, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:57am

    Just sayin'

    When I see the letter "T" followed by a censor, "Tolkien" would not be the first word that springs to mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      vivaelamor (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Just sayin'

      'When I see the letter "T" followed by a censor, "Tolkien" would not be the first word that springs to mind.'

      Is it Tigger?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    ElSteevo (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Hey, the Levitts who built Levittown lost the right to use their own name.

    I wonder if a reprinting of "Bored of the Rings" is in the offing?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    VancouverDave, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Use it or lose it?

    Copyright lawyers always tell us that copyright must be vigorously defended in order to avoid losing it.

    I suggest that the same applies to human rights, only far more so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:21am

      Re: Use it or lose it?

      Copyright lawyers always tell us that copyright must be vigorously defended in order to avoid losing it.


      I think you mean trademark.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Atkray (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

        Mike,
        while you are technically correct I think the comment about copyright lawyers saying they need to vigorously defend copyright to avoid losing it is also a true statement. Sad thing is it seems most of the copyright lawyers think that way copyright works.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Atkray (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

          should be: that is the way

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

          while you are technically correct I think the comment about copyright lawyers saying they need to vigorously defend copyright to avoid losing it is also a true statement. Sad thing is it seems most of the copyright lawyers think that way copyright works.

          I doubt that they think that way - but I don't expect that to stop them from talking that way.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

          while you are technically correct I think the comment about copyright lawyers saying they need to vigorously defend copyright to avoid losing it is also a true statement. Sad thing is it seems most of the copyright lawyers think that way copyright works

          I really don't think that's true. Most copyright lawyers know that you don't need to protect copyright. There are some *copyright holders* who think you do, but I've never run across a copyright lawyer who thinks that's how it works.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

            But that wouldn't necessarily stop them from saying so in order to weasel a few more dollars out of unknowing clients.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            jsf (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 8:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Use it or lose it?

            The thing is there are now a lot of lawyers getting involved in copyright matters that are not really trained in copyright law. It is these lawyers that state that you must defend a copyright in order to keep it.

             

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:51am

      Re: Use it or lose it?

      Losing what? A paycheck?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      MrWilson, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:14am

      Re: Use it or lose it?

      IP lawyers will tell you that IP must be vigorously defended in order to avoid losing their paychecks.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Remo, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Copyright

    TolkienTolkienTolkienTolkienTolkienTolkienTolkien

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Jackie, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Good way to disappear

    Somebody should tell junior that an author or book unmentioned is soon forgotten.

     

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  •  
    icon
    RikuoAmero (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Any word from Gainax or ADV Films if they're pissed off as well about a small meaningless button merely mentioning the name of a popular show?

     

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  •  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    I'm just naughty...

    Tolkien walked into a bar. He said, "I'll have a 46 DC EA D3 17 FE 45 D8 09 23 EB 97 E4 95 64 10 D4 CD B2 C2" to the barkeep.

    "Sorry, sir. All we have are 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0. Will that do?"

    "It will"

    Tolkien moved down the bar, and set next to Holden Caulfield, who promptly said "I am a former employee of Cash 4 Gold. I did not know much about the company before being hired. On my first day of being hired, I was taught the "Cash 4 Gold Scam" from beginning to end."

    "Indeed?" said Tolkien, "and who told you about this?"

    "It was Xuxa Meneghel, when she was working on the set of 'Amor, Estranho Amor'"

     

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  •  
    icon
    Jimmy the Geek (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Tolkien

    Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    I wonder...

    ...if the letters are sent from the desk of Gandalf, Baggins, and Sauron (Esq).

     

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  •  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    I always thought...

    this parody image was missing something,

    http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/1962/poohwalken.jpg

    and now I've finally figured out what it was:

    http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/4638/poohwalkentolkien.jpg

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    The funny part of all of this is that Tolkien copied Beowulf, the Bible and a lot of other sources to make that crap.

    He basically remixed various tales from Norse Mythology, Fin Mythology and others to make that.

    Is just impressive how the stealing have been going on for so long.

    Anybody saw the new film called Thor? Who has the rights for the Norse God?

     

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  •  
    icon
    Jimr (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Tolkien

    And here I was going to name my kid/pet "Tolkien" or "Tolkien of middle Earth" in hopes they would be famous one day. What are my other kids; Gandalf, Baggins, and Sauron going to do now?

     

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    •  
      icon
      Gwiz (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

      Re: Tolkien

      Personally, I liked the names from "Bored of the Rings" better.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Not an electronic Rodent, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:24am

        Re: Re: Tolkien

        Personally, I liked the names from "Bored of the Rings" better.
        I'm fairly sure your child would never, ever forgive you and would likely consider patricide in later life if you named them "Dildo Bugger" :-)

         

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        •  
          icon
          Gwiz (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Tolkien

          I'm fairly sure your child would never, ever forgive you and would likely consider patricide in later life if you named them "Dildo Bugger" :-)

          Yeah, lol, so true. Luckily, my kids' mother nixed all the suggestions I had for their names....but, on the other hand, the cats have VERY interesting names....

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    When I was younger, age 7, I was given a big enormous fantasy style book, written by someone. It had all those things you'd expect in a fantasy book, elves and wizards and so on.
    It was really cool, when I was about 14 I had to buy a new copy 'cos the old one was falling apart.
    I also got the computer game of it and I had a poster of it. I'd like to tell you who it was by, but unfortunately no one is allowed to write the name.

    Sorry.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Vic, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    I just have checked Zazzle' site and looks like the button is back. I was able to add a couple to my shopping basket. Did not log in and did not check out, though...

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    a quote

    "If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world." J R R Tolkien.

    I guess the apple fell too far from the tree, and the son isn't like the father at all......

    Oh well, maybe true talent and genius just skips a generation?

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Copyright MUST be vigorously defended by lawyers, because the only way they can become aroused is by thinking of all the lives they've ruined.

    OH MY GOD! can you imagine if they all stopped procreating and we had to live in a lawyer-free world?

    /shudder at the thought of everyone dancing happily and creating stuff without having to worry about someone destroying their life!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

    Tall, But Not So Keen

    You can’t trademark your own name.

     

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  •  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    I think JRR himself said it best when he wrote

    “Dragons steal gold and jewels, you know … and they guard the plunder as long as they live (which is practically forever, unless they are killed), and never enjoy a brass ring of it. Indeed, they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad, though they usually have a good notion of current market value; and they can’t make a thing for themselves …” The Hobbit", J.R.R. Tolkien [emphasis added]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ClariNerd, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    ?

    Am I the only one in this thread who's worried about the state of mind of a person who'd rather watch a bunch of people being hugged and turned into tang rather than a great literary masterpiece?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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