Save The Hobbit

I hope everyone is enjoying FanstRAvangaza week so far. My first F3 post will be this evening (Central Standard Time).


In the meantime: This isn’t really Armitage related, but he his in the movies, so I guess it ties in. Has anyone else been paying attention to the plight of this pub called The Hobbit. The pub has been operating under this Tolkien inspired name for more than 20 years. But now that Hollywood is finally in the picture, they are being forced to remove all traces of Tolkien’s work from the establishment. Menu items, decor, the sign out side and even their loyalty cards have to be changed according to the owner of the merchandising license for The Hobbit.

Forgive me, I get that someone paid to own licencing rights. But someone please explain to me how a pub that has already been in business for sooo long is in any way a threat to either the movies or the profits for Saul Zaentz Company, the company that owns the merchandising rights. It seems to me this is just a matter of corporate greed. The pub proprietors have already said that they can’t fight this, they don’t have the money to go up against a big corporation with seemingly unlimited funds. I appreciate people like Stephen Fry, who use their voices to stick up for the little guy:

The Hobbit pub isn’t the first establishment that the Saul Zaentz Company has gone after. Back in November they ordered The Hungry Hobbit, a sandwich shop, to remove all references to the book. Excuse me, the place is located on the street where Tolkien grew up! It seems to me they are just trying to pay their respects to the author in his own back yard. I like quirky places like this pub, and personally think it is a shame that they are being put through this legal battle.

Anyway, if you find this at all frustrating you can follow what’s going on via @savethehobbit on Twitter or on Facebook.

Update: Sir Ian McKellan has weighed in on this now too. Check out what he has to say here.


Don’t forget to check out the FanstRAvaganza 3 posts thus far! You can find all of the links here.

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13 thoughts on “Save The Hobbit

  1. Saul Zanetz is the same guy who sued John Fogerty for sounding like John Fogerty. Seriously.

    • I remember reading that post. Grrr, it makes me dislike the guy even more. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just seems like plain old greed to me.

      Let the little people have their fun!!!

  2. Thanks for drawing my attention to this!

  3. Steven Fry brought this to my attention. Well, not personally, we don’t chat as often now that he’s in NZ and well… I’ve never met him. Let me rephrase that. Stephen Fry twitted…
    This is just insane! I hate when big bucks win over common sense! I really hope something can be done!

    • I think Stephen Fry’s tweet is a large part of why this is getting so much attention. I really hope people make a big enough fuss that the big corporation backs down, however I won’t hold my breath.

  4. I’m a little surprised they aren’t fighting it. I’m not sure about copywrite laws in UK, but generally, if you’ve been around longer than the movie studio or whoever has the rights, courts will rule that you can continue using the names, etc. to a certain extent. But then again, it might depend on if judges consider the word “Hobbit” a free use word, or if they feel it is only a book title, and the book is not public domain yet.

    • I don’t have all the details, I just know that in one of the articles I read, the proprietor said they just didn’t have the money to go up against a giant company. That’s understandable. I hope something can be done. It isn’t just a matter of the word “Hobbit,” everything about the pub apparently has some tie in to the book.

  5. Oh, good grief!! In what way can this possibly harm anyone? I have always been one to pull for the underdogs in such situations. Good for Stephen Fry for speaking out about this. All this guy, Saul Zantez, is accomplishing is making himself look like a complete bully and a greedy one at that.

    • Bullying and greed are how I look at this as well. I just don’t see how this pub is in any way going to effect the profits of Saul Zantez. I love how Stephen Fry doesn’t seem to have much of a filter (or maybe even at all). The movie studios and the mechanizing companies can’t be pleased to have an actor from the films speaking out against them. Good for you Mr. Fry!

  6. I can understand them not wanting to fight this, deepest pockets usually wins 😦 Here’s hoping an on-line backlash will have the little guy 😀 prevailing for a change. I seriously doubt it in this case.

    I have a few conflicting thoughts though, Since I’ve only read this blog so far I’ll go check out the full story first.

  7. Corporate greed indeed! Grrrrr! Working in publishing, I’ve always understood that you can’t copyright the actual name of a book or character so I find it really disgusting that one company can actually own the rights in this way. This simply shouldn’t be possible!

  8. Pingback: Legenda 19: Stuff worth reading (post F3 edition) « Me + Richard Armitage

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