Lord of the Rings Fan-Fiction Author Attempting to Sue Amazon Over Rings of Power

Today in "lawsuits that won't make it that far," a Lord of the Rings fan-fiction author has filed a lawsuit against Amazon over their hit TV series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. According to documents filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, a writer named Demetrious Polychron has filed a suite against Jeff Bezos, Jennifer Salke (Head of Amazon Studios), Simon Tolkien (Grandson of JRR Tolkien), Patrick McKay and John D Payne (showrunners for The Rings of Power), The Tolkien Estate, and more. The suit alleges that the new TV show, which is based on Tolkien's franchise and the appendices that he wrote, ripped off his own published novel (which is itself derivative of Tolkien's work).

PC Gamer brings word of the litigation and the exorbitant tale being spun in its pages. According to the suite, Polychron published a book titled The Fellowship Of The King, which is part sequel to The Lord of the Rings but also tells part of the story of the Second Age and the history of The Rings of Power. Polychron reportedly registered the book, which is, again, based on Tolkien's work, back in 2017 with the US Copyright Office and attempted to contact The Tolkien Estate to no avail.

When hopes for collaboration were dashed by The Tolkien Estate, Polychron reportedly hand delivered a copy of his manuscript. After there was still no reply, Polychron claims to have sent a letter asking for his manuscript back and seemingly taking their silence as permission by noting he would be publishing it anyway (along with sequels). The book was published on September 30, 2022, the day that the fifth episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered on Prime Video. The book is available online, and was even for sale on Amazon but has been pulled from the retailer since the litigation was made public.

Pieces of Polychron's lawsuit have made their way online, including several tables wherein they point to moments in their book that are similar to moments in the TV show. This is supposed to support their claim of copyright infringement however it largely shows how close the fan-fiction work is to the original works of Tolkien. A dedication page even shouts out Tolkien and his son, before immediately using characters created by The Lord of the Rings author.

As you can perhaps guess, if you have not already, this lawsuit will likely go nowhere and appears to be done for the sake of publicity. Amazon clearly secured the rights to The Lord of the Rings story that they're telling by collaborating with the Tolkien Estate and developing other ideas for a Lord of the Rings TV series. Someone that perhaps will be interested to see this lawsuit is Embracer Group, the investment firm that purchased the rights to The Lord of the Rings outright and might not like someone publishing unauthorized works.