COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK
Film, Television
The Saul Zaentz Company dba Tolkien Enterprises, Inc. and New Line Cinema Corporation, Plaintiffs v Kultur International Films, Defendants

The companies that own the rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien “Lord of the Rings” books and related movies and merchandise have sued a New Jersey company for publishing a four-volume DVD set about the books. The suit filed by the Saul Zaentz Company, which has owned the trademarks and intellectual property rights since 1976, and New Line Cinema, allege that Kultur International Films has infringed on the Tolkien trademarks and copyrights by importing, making and selling the set “Inside Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings”.
Each of the defendant’s four DVDs focuses on an individual volume of the Tolkien books, the suit said. The defendants have created a ‘mapped’ Middle Earth where the Lord of The Rings fantasy is set and have included new original artwork and illustrations. Bonus features include an interview with the DVD illustrators and new music inspired by The Lord of the Rings performed by folk group Mostly Autumn. The plaintiffs seek to stop the defendants’ alleged infringement and dilution of the Tolkien rights. They also seek damages, costs, legal fees and injunctive relief for the defendant’s alleged violations of federal and state copyright and trademark infringement as well as unfair competition.

See : http://www.entlawdigest.com/story.cfm?storyID=314
For a brief article on the issue of copyright in fiction characters see Gary Scanlan’s article at:http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/~ra317/articles/IP.htm