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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 15:43 GMT
Tolkien estate demands net names
JRR Tolkien
JRR Tolkien is considered by many to be the first fantasy author
A file-sharing website has been ordered to reveal the names of users who posted copies of JRR Tolkien's novels online by a US district court in New York.

Several of Tolkien's works, including The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, appeared on the eSnips site last year.

The site agreed to remove the documents but the author's estate is worried that people will simply resubmit them.

The Tolkien estate's lawyer said they wanted to notify the people in question that this activity was "unlawful".

The lawyer, Steven Maier, said the Tolkien estate was "sensitive" to the fact that most of the offenders were fans and did not seek commercial gain.

"We would hope that any further action would not be necessary," he added.

Time to object

A spokeswoman for the eSnips site said it "cared about copyright owners such as the Tolkien estate" but would not divulge private information about its users without a court order.

"We have asked the Tolkien estate to give our users a limited period of time to object to the subpoena," Hagit Katzenelson said.

"If they do not do so, we will co-operate with the Tolkien estate and forward to them any information we may have."

Tolkien's estate routinely takes action against internet infringers.

Last month, it obtained damages of $4,000 (2,050) from an IT professional in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who repeatedly offered Tolkien's works for download.

It also won a cyber-squatting case against a Canadian company that registered the jrrtolkien.com domain in 2004.

The estate has given publishers Harper Collins exclusive licence over the sale of books, audio tapes and other merchandise related to the late academic.

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