Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Black Riders of the Internet II

I was not able to get all the maps in one posting, so this is the sequel, so if you have not had your fill of Middle Earth maps quite yet:

So if for some reason you find yourself transported there, then you have no excuse for getting lost. Now this is a list of some of the websites and parts of websites which have been closed down by these lawyers (information courtesy of The One Ring fansite):

Annals of Arda: Maps- Star map still available, others had to be dropped. Licensing attempted.
Map of the Shire -Removed due to lawyers.
Map of Arda - Removed due to lawyers.
Fangorn Area- Removed due to lawyers.
LotR Maps - Removed due to lawyers, whole site.
Jeroen Map of Rohan, Gondor up to Mordor - Removed due to lawyers.
Rolozo's Tolkien Map Collection - Removed due to lawyers.
r3t's LotR Maps -Removed entire site due to lawyers. Forum also removed.

These sites were not ones making money, they were fan sites. Many of the maps were drawn by fans, so this was not a copyright issue. In addition, the law is being applied inequitably as it appears only English-language sites are targeted, not for example, French-language ones. In addition, removing forums is clearly suppressing freedom of speech, there are no grounds on which to claim that a discussion infringes copyright. I also thought that challenges to anything I posted would come from the government not from a group of profiteering lawyers pretending somehow to defend the legacy of an author who died in 1973 (we have to wait until 2044 until the copyright is clear, it having been extended from 50 to 70 years in the UK). I am sure Tolkien himself would have loathed such an attitude especially when it suppresses enthusiasm about his work. I always thought 'The Lord of the Rings' was about geeks have anorak fun, but clearly it is now about free speech in the face of attacks by faceless minions something both Tolkien and his fans could appreciate. Read this before it gets (il)legally suppressed!

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