Tolkien Estate 'Settles' Dispute Over Historical Fiction Book With JRR Tolkien As A Character

from the too-bad dept

In one of the many, many overreaches by the Tokien Estate, it threatened author Stephen Hillard, who has written a bit of historical fiction combined with literary criticism, called Mirkwood, which uses a fictionalized JRR Tolkien as a character. The Tolkien Estate sent a cease-and-desiste, and Hillard smartly sued for declaratory judgment. Apparently the two sides have worked out their differences and have settled the lawsuit, which will allow the book to be published. However, Hillard does have to make a few small changes:
According to the settlement, the book will now be released with a modified reference to Tolkien on the cover and will also include the disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher."
I certainly understand why a settlement would be reached, but really it's too bad that any changes were made. Hillard had a strong case, and the estate had little or no case. Yet, now that it was able to pressure the author into making some changes (even if they were small), it emboldens the estate to continue its silly and counterproductive campaign.

Filed Under: historical fiction, tolkien

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2011 @ 12:24pm


    Hillard most certainly was infringing on the Tolkien Estate's copyright, and the latter were well within their rights to complain.


    It isn't called "similar-right", it's called copyright. The uterus turds which currently make up the Tolkien estate are greedy little rats with no ability to earn their own income seeking to live in perpetuity off of another's efforts.

    Copyright protects expressions, NOT IDEAS.

    Apologies in advance: I haven't commented in a while and I'm in a terrible mood.

    You, and everyone who thinks like you, should be sent to some type of re-education camp to have the stupid beaten out of you. People can't own ideas, it doesn't work that way in theory or in practice. Virtually everything you have touched, looked at, eaten, or heard today was created, enhanced, or modified by human beings using their collective knowledge.

    You have never read a book that wasn't inspired by other books. You have never eaten a meal that wasn't developed based on centuries of research. You have never heard a song that wasn't influenced by the past and present.

    The attitude displayed by you, and others like you, is one of ingratitude. You are clinically incapable of realizing your dependence upon other human beings. Ideas and the ability to share those ideas are what separates human beings from other animals. Anyone who believes that ideas can be owned and shouldn't be shared are no better than animals and should be treated as such.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.