The company I work for sells several products. One has a title that lines up very well in the One Ring poem from Tolkien's LOTR. I would essentially be replacing the phrase One Ring with the product title, and either leaving the rest the same, or perhaps a slight modification to the last line. Is there any way this falls under fair use or would I need to get permission to do this?

The product in no way relates to anything Tolkien or fantasy or fiction for that matter. I don't believe it could be seen as an endorsement.

1 Answer 1


You breach copyright when you substantially copy or create a derivative work from a literary work. A poem is a literary work; you need permission. From The Tolkien estate you won't get it.

  • That's what I figured. Thanks for confirming!
    – Nathan
    Dec 14, 2015 at 20:49
  • Is it possible that, because this will take a work of fiction/fantasy and use it in a new scientific context, it would be considered transformative? Although I would be replacing few words, the market space is science and most of the wording actually applies in a very unique way to this particular area of science?
    – Nathan
    Dec 14, 2015 at 22:01
  • That is a defense against trade mark infringement, copyright is universal.
    – Dale M
    Dec 14, 2015 at 23:01
  • I seem to find a lot of information that contradicts that statement. fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors being one.
    – Nathan
    Dec 15, 2015 at 14:28
  • I read what you linked - I think it supports what I said.
    – Dale M
    Dec 16, 2015 at 1:29

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