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Censorship Your Rights Online

Tolkien Estate Censors the Word "Tolkien" 433

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-my-name-out-of-your-mouth dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following their recent attempt to censor a work of historical fiction containing Tolkien as a character, the estate have now issued a takedown notice to someone making buttons with the words 'While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion' on them, claiming 'intellectual property right infringement.' Predictably, a new store has appeared offering a range of censored Tolkien items, and the 'offending' product has had vastly increased exposure as a direct result of the removal."
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Tolkien Estate Censors the Word "Tolkien"

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  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:24PM (#35333250)

    Apparently, the filter won't allow me to repeat Tolkien's name more than a few times in a row.

    Filter error: Too much repetition

    Didn't know slashdot caved, too.

  • by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:28PM (#35333270)
    It's not like the author played a big role in the censored story, though. It seemed like he was just thrown in to be there. Like, you know, a Tolkein character.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:29PM (#35333278) Homepage

    Can we please get off this hobby horse? The Tolkien estate isn't "censoring speech," it's protecting its trademarks, which it is required to do by law. If this guy had made a bunch of buttons for himself and as many of his friends as wanted them (all three), nothing would have happened. Instead he set up a store on Zazzle and tried to sell them. Zazzle has a clear policy that it will not sell items that violate copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property. These buttons do that. So the Tolkien estate complained, this guy's product was pulled, end of story. He wasn't sued, he wasn't thrown in jail -- in fact, he can still go buy a button maker and make himself some buttons and nothing would happen to him. The idea that he's being "censored" is silly, and there are lots of companies that are far more litigious about such things than the Tolkien estate.

    • nobody here dislikes tolkien or his estate. but everybody here dislikes the bullshit intellectual property laws that enable this behavior. your rant assumes the wrong target. nobody is gunning for tolkien or his estate, they are gunning for bullshit laws

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PCM2 (4486)

        nobody here dislikes tolkien or his estate. but everybody here dislikes the bullshit intellectual property laws that enable this behavior. your rant assumes the wrong target. nobody is gunning for tolkien or his estate, they are gunning for bullshit laws

        I don't know about that. Go back and see all the griping about the evil Tolkien estate on the last thread, a few days back.

        And let me throw something else into the mix. This guy seems to be reacting like the vast, evil Tolkien estate is bringing the hammer down on one hapless individual who made a few buttons. What he doesn't seem to grok is that the Tolkien estate isn't going after one guy, it is going after Zazzle, which, if it were allowed to print Tolkien-related products with impunity, could do the Tol

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          See, you can't trademark someone's name.

          I was chatting with Tolkien last week. His name is actually Rob Tolkien.

          If I were to print this, would it suddenly be taken down by the "Tolkien estate"?

          Or is it "reading Tolkien" that magically makes it some sort of infringement?

          WTF?

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            See, you can't trademark someone's name. I was chatting with Tolkien last week. His name is actually Rob Tolkien. If I were to print this, would it suddenly be taken down by the "Tolkien estate"?

            I don't think you understand how trademarks and licensing work.

            • by causality (777677) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:25PM (#35333688)

              See, you can't trademark someone's name. I was chatting with Tolkien last week. His name is actually Rob Tolkien. If I were to print this, would it suddenly be taken down by the "Tolkien estate"?

              I don't think you understand how trademarks and licensing work.

              I understand that the man is (unfortunately) deceased and has been for some time. Thanks to the legal fiction of his "estate" plus nearly perpetual copyright the rest of his family gets to sit on their asses and make money from his corpse since 1971. If that were how I obtained my livelihood I think I'd be a bit more meek about it.

              I definitely wouldn't be making legal threats over a button that happens to mention the author's name. This is like Kraft Foods threatening legal action because you made a bumper sticker saying "while you were drinking Maxwell House I was drinking Folgers." That's protected speech. It is the expression of a personal preference. It does not threaten Kraft's ownership of the Maxwell House trademark. Likewise, saying "while you were reading Tolkien I was watching Evangelion" is a statement of a personal preference -- no claim is made that this is an official licensed product or represents an official position of the Tolkien estate. If such a claim were made I would support this maneuver, but that just isn't the case.

              What a contrast to the way Hormel handled the use of the word "spam" to describe unsolicited commercial e-mail. "Spam" is a trademark of theirs. They could have gone apeshit and launched a ton of lawsuits over it if they really wanted. Instead they decided to allow this use. They were good sports about it. They earned some respect for that, because it's a respectable thing to do.

              It's time to separate your personal feelings about a man who was, without a doubt, a great author from the actions of his estate which seem determined to give him a bad name. If I could make money from work that was entirely done by a long-dead ancestor I'd consider myself unusually fortunate. I wouldn't feel threatened by every little use of said ancestor's name so long as there was no blatant infringement, which this definitely is not.

              • by JustOK (667959)

                While you were posting this, I was drinking a Tim Horton's coffee.

                • by grcumb (781340)

                  While you were posting this, I was drinking a Tim Horton's coffee.

                  Well in that case you've been punished enough.

          • by SudoGhost (1779150) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @08:06PM (#35333906)
            Well, you can, actually. It's not easy to do, but certain people have done it. Martha Stewart, for example. Personal names are included in the class of common words that may not secure protected trademark status until secondary meaning has attached. Tolkien would certainly fit in this category. What kind of elves are they? Tolkien elves you say? Certainly fits the criteria of a secondary meaning.
        • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:52PM (#35333476) Homepage

          This usage should fall under nominative use [wikipedia.org] use, though.

          The product or service cannot be readily identified without using the trademark (e.g. trademark is descriptive of a person, place, or product attribute)

          Check.

          The user only uses so much of the mark as is necessary for the identification (e.g. the words but not the font or symbol)

          Check, impossible to use any less than a single word.

          The user does nothing to suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder. This applies even if the nominative use is commercial, and the same test applies for metatags.

          I see nothing in "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion" that suggests endorsement by the Tolkien Estate, check.

          Additionally, this means the estate shouldn't have anything to worry about:

          Furthermore, if a use is found to be nominative, then by the definition of non-trademark uses, it can not dilute the trademark.[2]

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DJLuc1d (1010987)
          What I have a problem with is that this button is, to me, a criticism of Tolkien. While it may not be explicit criticism, i.e., 'Tolkien was a bad writer' I think it is very much implied. Under section 107 of the 1976 act, criticism is covered under fair use. Although the article doesn't say which law the Tolkien estate is citing, or even that they are using US law (although they have been fond of it in the past), I suspect it would have very little impact on "(4) the effect of the use upon the potential m
          • by PCM2 (4486)

            What I have a problem with is that this button is, to me, a criticism of Tolkien. While it may not be explicit criticism, i.e., 'Tolkien was a bad writer' I think it is very much implied. Under section 107 of the 1976 act, criticism is covered under fair use. Although the article doesn't say which law the Tolkien estate is citing, or even that they are using US law (although they have been fond of it in the past), I suspect it would have very little impact on "(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work"

            The problem with this story in general is that it's almost completely devoid of facts. The only links to further information are to the guy's original blog post, which is titled (helpfully enough), "The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate can go fuck itself." It doesn't say what the complaint was, nor does it even say definitively that it was the Tolkien Estate, Ltd. that filed the request. (It could have been some other company, for all we know, such as Middle-Earth Enterprises, which owns some of the merchandising righ

          • Well, you can't copyright a name, so this is probably a trademark case. The fair use doctrine of copyright would not apply. You may want to look at the (completely unrelated to copyright) fair use and nominative use doctrines of trademark law, however.

        • by russotto (537200)

          And let me throw something else into the mix. This guy seems to be reacting like the vast, evil Tolkien estate is bringing the hammer down on one hapless individual who made a few buttons.

          Because they are.

          What he doesn't seem to grok is that the Tolkien estate isn't going after one guy, it is going after Zazzle, which, if it were allowed to print Tolkien-related products with impunity, could do the Tolkien estate a lot more damage than one guy with some buttons ever could.

          Zazzle is just the printer. By goi

      • I had mod points all last week. Now, when I really need them, I don't. +1
      • by bunratty (545641)
        Oh, of course. We should banish all patents and copyrights, and now trademarks, too, huh? Can we for once get an explanation of how this would benefit society? If someone could finally make a good argument, something beneficial might happen. Continually whining that you don't like certain laws and making slogans like "information wants to be free" or "I don't believe in imaginary property laws" won't cause any change. Where can I find a rational, thoughtful discussion of the issues by someone who understand
        • by causality (777677) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @08:09PM (#35333930)

          Where can I find a rational, thoughtful discussion of the issues by someone who understands what they are?

          You can create one yourself. It's sort of like that saying "if your happiness depends on what other people do, I guess you do have a problem."

           

          Oh, of course. We should banish all patents and copyrights, and now trademarks, too, huh? Can we for once get an explanation of how this would benefit society? If someone could finally make a good argument, something beneficial might happen. Continually whining that you don't like certain laws and making slogans like "information wants to be free" or "I don't believe in imaginary property laws" won't cause any change.

          Banishing all of it would mean moving from one extreme to another extreme. It's a failure to appreciate that the extreme is the problem.

          Copyright was intended to be a balance, an equal exchange. The government is kind enough to grant creators a temporary monopoly over their works. That's society's end of the bargain. After that monopoly expires, the works become public domain and that enriches society by providing readily available art. That's the creator's end of the bargain. Simple.

          Now then. The original duration of copyright was 14 years. This was during the late 18th century. At that time, the physical printing press was the most advanced way to distribute a written work. Here we are in the Information Age. In fourteen years' time an author can reach a much larger audience at significantly less cost than what anyone in the 18th century would have dreamed possible. Therefore, if anything, the original duration of 14 years should be reduced to maintain the same balance we once had.

          That has not been the case. Instead copyright has been extended and in some cases it can be as long as the author's lifetime plus 120 years [cornell.edu]. There are no two ways about it: that means society is getting screwed over because the creators are no longer holding up their end of the bargain. It is no longer an equitable balance between the need to reward creators and the enrichment of the public domain. The reason why so many people no longer respect copyright is because it is no longer respectable. It has turned into a blatantly one-sided money grab. When people see that for what it is, they have contempt for what is obviously an unjust law.

          The problem with patents is that too many of them are granted for "inventions" that are too obvious and/or have abundant prior art. It's difficult and potentially very expensive to invalidate a patent that should never have been granted. The other problem with patents is their use as an economic weapon, especially what are called submarine patents. None of this serves to incentivize innovation and invention. Patents are not nearly so broken as copyright but they're on the same path.

          The problem with all of them, like the trademark in this case, is that the prospect of an extremely expensive lawsuit brought by an estate or corporation with very deep pockets is quite intimidating. This is not really an infringing use, but how many tens of thousands would someone want to spend to prove that? So Zazzle pulls the product because they are a business and even though they would likely prevail, defending against legal action brought by the Tolkien estate is not going to profit them.

          Perhaps we need a "loser pays" system specifically for intellectual property laws. If you defend the lawsuit and win, the plaintiff gets to pay all of your legal expenses plus any time you missed from work plus any transportation costs and other related expenditures. Then if you know you're not actually infringing, you can go ahead and hire the best lawyers money can buy. That wouldn't fix copyright law but it would go a long way towards curbing the abuses that keep occurring around IP law in general.

          • by ShakaUVM (157947)

            >>Therefore, if anything, the original duration of 14 years should be reduced to maintain the same balance we once had.

            While I agree that current copyright terms are too long (and, de facto unlimited due to Disney's lobbying in congress), if you shorten durations too much, there's the risk of companies sitting on a work and then publishing once it drops out of copyright, so that they don't have to pay royalties. Movie companies sit on scripts and completed movies alike, all the time, for various strat

        • by maxwell demon (590494) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @08:24PM (#35334018) Journal

          Trademarks should be restricted to what they were invented for: Identifying products.
          If I sell a soft drink and claim it's Coke when it isn't, that's bad. This is what trademark infringement was invented against.
          But if I make a button saying "I like Coke" or "I hate Coke" or "I didn't have a Coke today", or if I write a book with the title "My first Coke", then this should not be a trademark infringement.

    • > The Tolkien estate alleges these buttons do that.

      FTFY.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        > The Tolkien estate alleges these buttons do that.

        Fair enough. So this guy should challenge Zazzle's decision to remove the product. If they have no procedure for that, or if they won't budge, he should find another vendor or make the buttons himself.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:34PM (#35333316) Homepage Journal

      A historical figure is not, and cannot be, anyone's property. End of story.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        A historical figure is not, and cannot be, anyone's property. End of story.

        And yet Ford is a valid trademark. Weird, ain't it?

        • by Firehed (942385)

          Ford is a company named after its founder. Tolkien is an author. To my knowledge, there is no Tolkien, Inc. founded by said author.

          Also, you're able to use Ford freely when talking about the person, or in any context that's not Ford, Inc. Which is a good thing, otherwise my aunt would be a walking trademark violation after having married into the name (no relation to those Fords, though).

          • by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@nOspam.sympatico.ca> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:18PM (#35333648) Homepage

            And if the Ford Motor Company had taken this stance, Brave New World would have been banned, and Aldous Huxley would have been sued into penury.

            This is called rent seeking behavior, and it's almost always a bad thing, because it diverts resources and effort away from making things towards owning them. It blocks off whole fields of new enterprise, and it's entirely state dependent--if the law is stuck down, or the state loses the power to enforce it, all the wealth evaporates. So, if foreign countries decide to ignore our copyright laws, we're broke. But if we're still making stuff that they want, we're still in business.

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            Ford is a company named after its founder. Tolkien is an author.

            But the product licensing and merchandising associated with Tolkien's name and works is quite definitely a business.

            To my knowledge, there is no Tolkien, Inc. founded by said author.

            That would be the Tolkien Estate, Ltd.

        • by Cwix (1671282)

          Yea but is "Henry Ford" a valid trademark?

        • by green1 (322787) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:57PM (#35333522)

          It all depends how you use it. I can say that I drive a Ford, and that's perfectly legal. I can wear a button saying that I hate Fords, I can even publish a book about how Henry Ford lived, that's all perfectly legal. What I can't legally do is build a car and call it a Ford, Or operate any automotive business with the name "Ford", because that is protected by trademark law. (I could however start a landscaping company called "Ford's landscaping" and it would NOT infringe on the trademark because it's not competing in the same market segment as the car company by the same name (for example see apple computer vs apple records))

          If the person published a book and claimed to be Tolkien then the concerns of the Tolkien Estate would be valid. But that is not what is happening here, instead they are simply talking about the historical figure Tolkien which is perfectly legal and there's nothing (legal) that the Tolkien Estate can do about it.

          • by keeboo (724305)

            What I can't legally do is build a car and call it a Ford, Or operate any automotive business with the name "Ford", because that is protected by trademark law. (I could however start a landscaping company called "Ford's landscaping" and it would NOT infringe on the trademark because it's not competing in the same market segment as the car company by the same name(...)

            Sounds pretty much like the the VAX case btw.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by KingSkippus (799657)
        Dammit, I accidentally missed the "Insightful" on the pull-down list and hit the next item up, "Redundant." I'm posting to negate my moderation on this post. >:-(
      • by echucker (570962)
        Ever heard of Corbis? That's pretty much what they do. Einstein and the Wright Brothers immediately come to mind.
    • by Travelsonic (870859) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:36PM (#35333324) Journal
      It IS censorship, whether or not it is JUSTIFIABLE censorship is another matter entirely.
    • Except "Tolkien" in this case is a dead person's name, not a brand.
      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Except "Tolkien" in this case is a dead person's name, not a brand.

        So if I come up with a new salad dressing, can I put Paul Newman's name on it?

        • No, but you can put his name on a button. Just like you can't write a book and put Tolkien's name on it.
          • by PCM2 (4486)

            No, but you can put his name on a button.

            I wouldn't be so confident until I talked to a lawyer and did a trademark search.

    • by jimhill (7277) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:37PM (#35333342) Homepage

      The idea that a man's very name can be placed under legal protections this sweeping is utterly absurd and I think that's what has so many people in a tizzy.

      I have no problem with laws allowing the Tolkien estate to prevent someone from publishing "Gutter Sluts by JRR Tolkien" and using the 4-letter symbol on the cover. Being able to deny someone the privilege of even USING the name in another context? That's wack, yo.

    • The fact that you think a name should be trademarkable is nuts. I have a last name, should I have the ability to ban anyone else from using it to gather money? This lawsuit is insane.
    • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:39PM (#35333368) Homepage Journal

      Trademarks to WHAT?
      Did Tolkein sell a line of buttons also so that this is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers who thought they were buying a genuine Tolkein button when in fact they aren't?

      I mean, that was after all the reason and justification for ALLOWING trademarks (notice I said allowing not recognizing. This is not a right being recognized by law, it is a privilege granted by law given certain provisos)

      Trademarks are supposed to be limited to a type of industry. That's why Apple Computers and Apple Records and Apple Rubber Company can co-exist and it was only when Apple Computer got into the music business that Apple Records had any complaints.

      Seriously. The guy wrote books, and therefore his estate should be allowed a blanket trademark on ANYTHING bearing the name Tolkein? Even cultural references? No, that's nonsense.
      And it's also nonsense that the law requires them to complain. The law requires them to complain about INFRINGEMENT, meaning someone selling a competing product using their TM or passing something off as made by them OR liable to cause confusion. NOT anything that simply MENTIONS the name.

      • ... oh, and while we're at it - the Tolkien Estate also claims ownership over the fictional languages created by JRRT - so Quenya, Sindarin, Khuzdul, Adunaic etc. They claim it's copyright, though how you copyright a language is beyond my understanding. Anyway, if you try to use some word from any of said languages in a company or product name or advertising - even if it's something innocuous like a word for "river" or whatever - they sue. Also, if you e.g. distribute any materials about the language for co

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:42PM (#35333390) Journal

      The Tolkien estate isn't "censoring speech," it's protecting its trademarks, which it is required to do by law.

      Quoting Cory Doctorow, from the BoingBoing coverage: "a writer I admire was forced to put a series of books that in no way infringed upon Tolkien's copyrights out of print because the estate threatened to make her publisher's life a living nightmare (not naming names, because the writer has chosen not to go public with the story)."

      Zazzle has a clear policy that it will not sell items that violate copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property. These buttons do that.

      A very, very dubious claim. Simply using a word is not wholly sufficient for trademark infringement.

      More generally, this is a fine example of what's wrong with intellectual property law. The guy's not only making his money from work his father did almost sixty years ago, but preventing others from even using his father's name. Trademarked or not, it's worthwhile stopping and questioning whether the legal framework that allows and encourages this is in the public interest or not. Again, quoting Doctorow "The professional descendants making millions off a long-dead writer have become a serious impediment to living, working writers -- and readers. If this isn't the greatest proof that extending copyright in scope and duration screws living creators and impedes the creation of new works, I don't know what is."

      • by initialE (758110)

        I don't know about whether this is representative about what is wrong about IP law in general, what it really shows is what is wrong in what people perceive IP law to be. Remember this premise was never tried in a court of law, so far all that have been passing around are a bunch of dubious threats.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      Watch this: Microsoft. I just said a trademarked brand name, and yet no laws have been violated.

      You can't trademark someone's name unless actively being used in commerce, and only for a specific field. Further, they weren't claiming to be Tolkien, they were simply referencing him, which is completely legal in nearly all circumstances, trademarks be damned.

    • by Bogtha (906264)

      it's protecting its trademarks

      No it isn't. A trademark is not ownership of a word. It is a tool to allow the public to know that they are getting the genuine thing when they buy something. Referring to somebody else's trademarked goods is fine. Representing your own goods with somebody else's trademark is not. These buttons merely referred to Tolkein, they did not give the impression that they were one of his works.

      If merely referring to a trademarked good was infringement, your comment would be

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Why? There's been a steady progression of increasing asshattery shown by the various articles.

      If Christopher Tolkien wants to act like a giant douche while living off someone elses work, what's to stop us from talking about it?

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      It's a guy's NAME! What next, political protestors being silenced for using the name of a politician?

  • If the name Tolkien is Tolkien's imaginary property, that would mean that Tolkien made up the name. Wikipedia's page on Tolkien claims that JRR didn't made up the name.
    So, Tolkien Estate is trying to "steal" imaginary property? Isn't that illegal?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Depends, there are some protections from individuals trading on somebody else's fame, but I'm not really sure that it applies in this case. The name is used as a minor character in historical fiction. I'm not sure how this would be any different than say: Young Einstein [imdb.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:35PM (#35333320)

    He would slap the hell out of his entire family for pulling this kind of crap.

    Way to honor the memory of your author ancestor.. By being a douchebag.

    • Can they censor misspellings? "While I was reading Tolkin..."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShakaUVM (157947)

      If Snorri Sturluson was still alive, he'd slap the shit out of the Tolkien estate for ripping off his compilation of Nordic sagas that he ripped off the skalds that retold the stories that they heard from other skalds...

      And if you guys have never read a biography of Snorri, you should. Besides having a kick-ass name for a troll, he lived a very interesting life, and is a good example of why, if you're looking for peace, you shouldn't dismiss your army before the battle as a "sign of good will". =)

  • Doh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aighearach (97333) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:38PM (#35333348) Homepage

    Are they suggesting that the fictional Tolkein is a marketed as a real author, or that the real Tolkein is a fictional character?

    Because your legal name is a fact, and people can talk about you all they want.

    Trademarking names only works when it is not really your name. In that case, they'll have to say his legal name to show some chain of ownership regarding this supposed trademark. And then we can start fixing the references to him.

    But in any case, they would have to argue that a reasonable person would be confused and think that the fictional Tolkein was really Tolkein.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:39PM (#35333364)

    Go to Japan this summer and drop by the Tokyo Big Sight convention center. If you go at the right time, you might run into Comiket, the world's largest convention, with a million attendees and over 30,000 groups (circles) selling merchandise, such as comics, video games, and music. For three days, millions of pieces of human culture trade hands.

    The vast majority of this merchandise infringes copyright.

    Yet the world is far better off for it existing -- even the companies whose copyright it infringes. Most companies have long ago realized that this is a massive, massive boon to their profits. Some companies have explicitly started to leverage this power, with franchises like Vocaloid making ridiculous amounts of money.

    Meanwhile, in the West, we sue over buttons containing the names of long-dead public figures.

    • Most companies have long ago realized that this is a massive, massive boon to their profits.

      ...which is why there is no problem. Legislating good business practice is rarely a good idea, because such laws are almost always redundant (since companies almost always gravitate to good business practices naturally) and/or myopic (since good business practices tend to change fairly quickly).

  • by grapeape (137008) <`moc.rr.ck' `ta' `7epopm'> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:58PM (#35333526) Homepage

    Is anyone surprised? Christopher tried his hand at continuing his fathers legacy but despite turning anything written by his father be it incomplete manuscripts or scribbles on a napkin into publishing deals he has shown he is nothing but a pale shadow...milking his fathers legacy is all he has left.

  • by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:04PM (#35333568)
    Here is my new Tolkien novel, in its entirety. The title is Screw the Tolkiens:

    There once was was a man named Tolkien. He was nuts, and I don't care about him or his stupid family of bullies who misuse and abuse DMCA take-down notices. The End.

    The preceding was a work of fiction which sprung purely from my imagination. As such, any similarity to actual events or persons is strictly coincidental. Now give me $5 since your read my book and probably enjoyed it.

  • Does this mean me or my son will get sued for copyright infringement?
  • by Maow (620678) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:20PM (#35333656) Journal

    I do hope that their royalty cheques stop flowing due to this.

    Publisher: "Sorry, Junior, cannot use the word 'Tolkien' anymore, so your royalty cheques are being put in escrow."

    One can dream...

  • actually i may or may not have just Tolkiened. But im not so sure after leaving the Tolkien and coming to the living room. I stopped by the kitchen to Tolkien my Tolkies, but the Tolkien setting was not on par with the Tolkiness of the situation.

    So i think i Tolkiened my Tolkies .....

    Or, 'imaginary property' rights may have hit rock bottom, and the heirs of a person who tried to share positive and enlightened principles through fiction may have foaming at the mouth out of their base, despicable greed.
  • I am Tokien. No, I am Tokien... etc. Now we can get sued by the Tolkien estate, and whoever wrote Spartacus.

  • Look, I don't really agree with the position, assuming the summary is representing it correctly - but what's with this particular submitter's morbid obsession with how the Tolkien estate is pursuing their purported intellectual property (or publicity) rights? Was he hoping to sell a line of Bilbo blow-up dolls?
     

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:35PM (#35333754) Homepage
    Eg: http://www.123people.com/s/tolkien [123people.com] that turns up Tolkiens by the page full — do you think that some of them might have something to say about their name being grabbed by the estate of an author — even if he was a good one ?
  • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:45PM (#35333804)
    Congratulations to the Tolkien Estate, on ensuring that I will never again spend money on anything that has the slightest chance of putting a penny in your grubby mits.
  • It's now forbidden to be tolkien about Tolkien?

  • While you were reading Tolkien®, I was watching Evangelion

    Or if it's not registered...

    heck add a little footnote:

    *Tolkien isn't the name of an author it is a trademark owned by The Tolkien Company.

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