The Tolkien Estate is the legal body which manages the copyrights of J.R.R. Tolkien's works. It mainly holds the copyright over the literary texts. The late Christopher Tolkien and the late Priscilla Tolkien were former executors. Current executors of the estate include Christopher's wife Baillie Tolkien and Christopher's nephew Michael George Tolkien. Cathleen Blackburn of Manches & Co. has been the estate's solicitor for many years.
The film and merchandise rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were sold by J.R.R. Tolkien, and are currently owned by Middle-earth Enterprises, formerly Tolkien Enterprises, a company controlled by Saul Zaentz until his death in 2014.
On 13 November 2017, it was announced that Amazon Studios had acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, committing to a multi-season television series. The series will not be a direct adaptation of the novel, but instead will feature stories that are set before it. Amazon said the deal included potential for spin-off series as well. The press release referred to "previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings". Amazon will be the producer in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate itself, and The Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema.
- Samuel Axon, "Amazon will run a multi-season Lord of the Rings prequel TV series" dated 13 November 2017, arstechnica (accessed 22 March 2021)
- Sandra Gonzalez,, "Amazon announces 'Lord of the Rings' TV show" dated 14 November 2017, CNN Edition (accessed 22 March 2021)