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J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

The Tolkien Society in row with fans after it spent £18k on author pics

8 January 2022 | The Sun } Julia Atherley | Jed Neill

The row blew up after fans’ podcast The Council of Elrond tweeted on Monday a snap of the late literary great to celebrate what would have been his 130th birthday.

The Tolkien Society … then asked if they had permission to use” the image, [adding] It’s our photo, we own the copyright, which we bought for £18,000 at auction.” …

The Council of Elrond podcasters insisted they were unaware of the copyright ownership”. They told The Sun: We feel they were a little heavy-handed in their handling of the situation.”

The Tolkien Society defended its auction purchase, insisting it was incredibly excited” to have acquired the 64 photos of the writer, who died in 1973. Chairman Shaun Gunner added: We are grateful for being able to use these photos for many years — and now we are confident their future is secured as part of our growing archives.” The group said it hoped to generate a modest income” through the copyright ownership.


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Hobbit-loving fans took to social media to mock the vast expense of the purchase.

One said: Good to know how my membership would be spent’Credit: New Line

One user jibed: I was about to join the society. Good to know how my membership would be spent.”

The row blew up after fans’ podcast The Council of Elrond tweeted on Monday a snap of the late literary great to celebrate what would have been his 130th birthday.

The Tolkien Society, a Lord of the Rings-loving education charity, then asked if they had permission to use” the image.

The Frodo Baggins specialists added: It’s our photo, we own the copyright, which we bought for £18,000 at auction.”

Fans were quick to point out that the picture was readily available online.

One tweeted an edited version of the photo and said: You can use mine, got it at a yard sale for $1.50.”

The Council of Elrond podcasters insisted they were unaware of the copyright ownership”. They told The Sun: We feel they were a little heavy-handed in their handling of the situation.”

The Tolkien Society defended its auction purchase, insisting it was incredibly excited” to have acquired the 64 photos of the writer, who died in 1973.

Chairman Shaun Gunner added: We are grateful for being able to use these photos for many years — and now we are confident their future is secured as part of our growing archives.”

The group said it hoped to generate a modest income” through the copyright ownership.

[Full text is provided here in the event that the original news story is no longer available. If possible, please read the original story at The Sun.]

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date recorded 📅2022-01-09
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