Tolkien Collector's Guide

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The red book of Westmarch
By Red
Just can't stay away

The red book of Westmarch

Dec 20, 2018 (edited)

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookD ... p=snippet-_-srp1-_-title1
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Dec 20, 2018

Urulöké wrote:

My understanding (as a complete layman in this field) is that this is a unique creation, i.e. "fine art", and does not need permission from the Estate. Just like Warhol could make a painting of a Campbell's Soup can without permission from Campbell's.


Warhol was sued by Campbell's on multiple occasions and they only relented when they realized his art was free advertising so they gave him permission.

In this case I suspect the artist would be sued and would lose. He has not produced a piece of art, he has reproduced a copyrighted work and added a font. The art alone is beyond question as copyright infringement.
Dec 20, 2018
I can find no evidence that Campbell's sued Warhol. They did send him a thank you note and a case of soup though...

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/07/ ... you-like-tomato-soup.html
Dec 20, 2018
By the way, the facsimile of this original is only at 2500€ on Tolkien Shop :
http://www.tolkienshop.com/contents/en-uk/d11_01.html
Dec 21, 2018

onthetrail wrote:

Urulöké wrote:

My understanding (as a complete layman in this field) is that this is a unique creation, i.e. "fine art", and does not need permission from the Estate. Just like Warhol could make a painting of a Campbell's Soup can without permission from Campbell's.


Warhol was sued by Campbell's on multiple occasions and they only relented when they realized his art was free advertising so they gave him permission.

In this case I suspect the artist would be sued and would lose. He has not produced a piece of art, he has reproduced a copyrighted work and added a font. The art alone is beyond question as copyright infringement.


It would, of course, require the Estate to care enough to sue over something so unimportant. There is also the matter of damages, and I suspect damages awarded in a case like this would be close to zero (as the damage caused would be close to zero). If he starts selling lots of copies, the situation might be different, but as is -- I suspect common sense is going to apply for all parties.

Are you able to provide any citations for Warhol having being sued by Campbell's? I can't seem to find anything (and in fact everything I have read seems to indicate that they did not ever do so).
Dec 21, 2018
I recall however that - after the interview, i was contacted by the Tolkien Estate to get in contact with the artist. They also wanted to know how many copies were sold and asked me to remove all available copies from my website. I did so. They were not against someone making this work, but did not find selling it was an option. I did not follow up upon their conversation with the artist after that, but suppose he must have made some kind of arrangement.
Dec 21, 2018

Beren wrote:
I recall however that - after the interview, i was contacted by the Tolkien Estate to get in contact with the artist. They also wanted to know how many copies were sold and asked me to remove all available copies from my website. I did so. They were not against someone making this work, but did not find selling it was an option. I did not follow up upon their conversation with the artist after that, but suppose he must have made some kind of arrangement.


I would imagine selling copies would be the problem, rather than the one-off.
Dec 21, 2018
My apologies, it was not Campbell's who sued him, I misread. He was sued many times for copyright infringement but Campbell's went the other way as pointed out here. My bad.

My point about the book though still stands, it is an infringement, especially as it has been reproduced in facsimile and is listed for sale. I wonder if it would make its way through an auction without being flagged?

I think it is a lovely work, but to reproduce a work in full book form and claim it to be art is rather laughable and any artist stating "look, I am not a lawyer" does not negate the realities. The estate does not want it sold as clearly mentioned "I recall however that - after the interview, i was contacted by the Tolkien Estate to get in contact with the artist. They also wanted to know how many copies were sold and asked me to remove all available copies from my website. I did so. They were not against someone making this work, but did not find selling it was an option. I did not follow up upon their conversation with the artist after that, but suppose he must have made some kind of arrangement."

That said, I don't care either way, I was responding to the points raised here about it. The facts seem fairly obvious though. I am all for the sharing of knowledge and am not a fan of the over use of copyright laws but a handwritten book for $116,830.87 is a different beast all together.
Dec 21, 2018
Price of the original notwithstanding, I find the selling of the facsimiles to be a bit offensive, or just plain ridiculous.
Dec 21, 2018
(edited)

Berelach wrote:
Price of the original notwithstanding, I find the selling of the facsimiles to be a bit offensive, or just plain ridiculous.


Yeah, I think the selling of the facsimiles is the key problem. And that is what Beren had for sale, I think (and is *obviously* dodgy without an agreement). In terms of selling the original single copy, I still don't really see why anyone would care too much. If it takes a year or two to hand-write another copy, it isn't like anyone is losing money on sales of the Lord of the Rings because of it. Total loss to the estate for the ONE copy is probably a couple of pounds.

It is all speculation as we don't know what arrangements - if any - he retrospectively has in place with the estate and official publisher.

All that said, I doubt he will ever sell it for the asking price. Just because something took a long time to create doesn't make it intrinsically valuable. That said, if he does, good luck to him. You would have to pay me more than $100,000 to get me to handwrite that. Life is way too short.
Jan 11
I'd love to own that!

4844_5c38271610c90.jpg 587X393 px
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