Stephen Fry slams legal action over 'The Hobbit' pub
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:52a.m.
By Dan Satherley
British actor Stephen Fry says legal action against an English pub called 'The Hobbit' is "pointless, self-defeating bullying".
The Saul Zaentz Company, which owns the worldwide rights to works by JRR Tolkien including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has ordered the Southampton pub to change its name.
The Hobbit, run by landlady Stella Roberts, has been in business since 1989. Popular with students, the pub sells cocktails named after Lord of the Rings characters like Gandalf, Legolas and Frodo.
"We were absolutely stunned," Ms Roberts told the BBC. "It was completely unexpected, we never intended to infringe anyone's copyright.
It would cost thousands to rebrand the pub, but she says she has no choice.
"We don't have the financial resources to fight it - I can't fight Hollywood."
A campaign has been launced to save The Hobbit – the pub – which within a day of going live already has over 9000 fans on Facebook and 650 followers on Twitter.
Fry, one of the stars of the upcoming film adaptation of The Hobbit, says he is "ashamed" at what's happening.
On his Twitter account, he wrote: "Honestly, @savethehobbit, sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying."
Ms Roberts doesn't think she's done anything wrong.
"Are we doing any harm? I don't think so. We're bringing people to the books and the stories who haven't heard of JRR Tolkien."
The Saul Zaentz Company, which does not represent Tolkein's estate, was behind the films The English Patient and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, reports the Daily Mail.
It refused to comment on the reports.
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15/03/2012 8:13:01 a.m.
I don't know about the UK laws on copywriting, but in the US- Titles cannot-be copywritten!I'd be free to call my future book - "Gone With The Wind", if I wanted to. Has Mr. Fry or Ms Roberts checked the laws? Good luck
15/03/2012 6:06:59 a.m.
This is ridiculous -- absolutely it's bullying. They should be proud to have a private sector fan base bringing awareness and free advertisement, instead -a lawsuit? They themselves should be in support of the idea and be friendly...and the fact that someone in Hollywood, CA is picking on someone in the UK..is unbelievable. I'm not going to put a name out there, but where I'm from, we have a very similar establishment that I frequent with my children. I support The Hobbit in the UK..they need to be free to carry on as usual, they aren't hurting anyone or anything..and they definitely aren't dipping into anyone's financial gain.
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