“Hobbit pub in Southampton threatened with legal action”

by Walter Olson on March 14, 2012

Sad, inevitable, or both? “I can’t fight Hollywood,” says the mistress of the pub and music venue in the south of England, which has operated for 20 years and has now drawn a legal threat from a California firm that owns many Tolkien rights. [BBC]

{ 4 comments }

1 J.T. Wenting 03.14.12 at 3:44 am

What do the Tolkien Heirs have to say about that? They’re the ultimate owners, not some lawfirm hired by a movie studio.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 03.14.12 at 6:56 am

@J.T. Westling–
I believe Tolkien or his heirs sold many of their rights, some of which the studio may have acquired legally.

If the pub were using images from the film, I would say the studio has a point. But if the pub is only referring to the books, published more than 50 years ago, then they deserve a pass (though the law may be against them).

3 Jeanne 03.14.12 at 7:52 am

It looks like they did go a bit too far and used likenesses from the film. They have a picture of Elijah Woods as Frodo on their loyalty card and images of the entire cast (drawn, but obviously them) on their sign. Other things, like the menu items named after movie characters is more innocuous, but my guess is they wouldn’t have caught the ire of the company without using the images first.

(Otherwise, Bilbo Baggins tavern in Old Town Alexandria, VA would be in trouble)

4 Flemur 03.14.12 at 11:05 am

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Hobbit
“The word (hobbit) also turns up in a very long list of folkloric supernatural creatures in the writings of Michael Aislabie Denham (d.1859), …”

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