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:

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Companies: zazzle

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Comments on “Tolkien Estate Says Just Mentioning Tolkien Infringes; Tolkien Censorwear Appears In Response”

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75 Comments
vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

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

Result:

LoL

LoL

LoL

Or using &nbsp; like this:

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

Result:

 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

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

Result:

LoL

LoL

LoL

Or using &nbsp; like this:

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

Result:

 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

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Richard (profile) says:

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.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

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.

Trails (profile) says:

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'”

Jimmy the Geek (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

hmm (profile) says:

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!

G Thompson (profile) says:

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]

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