Thus, it is with great interest that I found that a fan of the Lord of the Rings made a 40-minute movie, The Hunt for Gollum which was released today. U.K.-based Chris Bouchard wrote and directed the movie. It tells the story of what happened between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. Isn't he afraid of being used for copyright infringement?
The New York Times online has this to say
How can Bouchard make a movie based on an intellectual property he doesn’t own? Well, he won’t make any money on it, for starters.
We got in touch with Tolkien Enterprises and reached an understanding with them that as long as we are completely non-profit then we’re okay. We have to be careful not to disrespect their ownership of the intellectual property. They are supportive of the way fans wish to express their enthusiasm.For a company built on Middle Earth, that’s very forward thinking. For a long time, Lucasfilm, which owns Star Wars, wouldn’t officially acknowledge serious fan fiction for legal reasons. Read more
I have watched it and it is quite good. I hope more copyright holders are as forward looking as Tolkien Enterprises and allow their fan base to develop their intellectual properties i.e. please do not be too greedy and selfish.
Note: Even if you do not made money out of it, copyright holders can still sue you. Also note that their definition of 'fair use' is very elastic.