This morning I heard from Steven Maier, partner at the Oxford law firm of Manches LLP, on behalf of the Tolkien estate. He wrote to say that the estate was not involved in Zazzle's takedown of a badge reading "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion." According to Maier, "Zazzle has confirmed that it took down the link of its own accord, because its content management department came across the product and deemed it to be potentially infringing."
Which is odd, because Adam Rakunas's post on the subject implied that Zazzle had told him they'd written on behalf of Tolkien's heirs. I've written to both Rakunas and Zazzle for an update.
I suspected Zazzle was more to blame than this, simply because you hear a lot about companies taking down content as a preemptive measure against claims of copyright infringement. They're so anxious that a claim could be made that they do it themselves. You see it all the time on Youtube.
I'm sorry for misidentifying the Tolkien estate as responsible for this inanity. While they have used copyright threats to censor at least three novels tangentially involving Tokien's characters or personage (that I know of), this button wasn't their fault, it was Zazzle's.
For Christ's sake, could they have picked a more loaded word than "censor"? I'm aware of The Last Ringbearer and Mirkwood, but what's the third one? And can they really be considered only tangentially involving Tolkien's characters or personage?
Again, I'm not commenting on the moral/ethical/whatever rights of the Tolkien estate to protect the creation of a man who's been dead for almost 40 years, but I strictly believe that in the eyes of the law, they have a fair point.