The Hobbit Pub in Southampton
Back in March I reported on a Southampton pub called The Hobbit which had come under fire from the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) over use of the word ‘Hobbit’ in their name. SZC in California owns the worldwide rights to brands associated with JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and has been cracking down on what they call ‘infringement rights.’
The Internet erupted with this news and even veteran actors Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry got into the fray offering their support for the pub, with McKellen posting on his blog ‘…I haven’t yet talked to Stephen Fry about his disapproval of this Hollywood bullying but I’m with him all the way. All the way to The Hobbit pub once filming is over in July.’
After this huge outcry, SZC offered an olive branch of sorts in the form of a $100 [£65] a year licensing fee to allow the pub to continue using the word ‘Hobbit.’
Everything seemed like it was going to work out for the good, but as reported by The Daily Echo, almost four months later that amicable offer from SZC has not been put into writing and presented to the pub’s lawyers. Meanwhile the legal fees have been piling up.
“They said they’d give us this licence, but what does it entail and why is it taking so long?” said landlady Stella Roberts. “There are three lots of solicitors involved – solicitors for Punch Taverns, solicitors for Saul Zaentz and my own solicitor. If you think that solicitors cost £100 an hour, 20 hours is already £2,000 and obviously a lot more than that has gone in already. The economic situation is not helping pubs and if you then get a £15,000 or £20,000 legal bill you’re finished.”
In an effort to help offset these costs, the pub is planning on having a fundraiser. The event called simply ‘Save the Hobbit’ will feature live music from local bands, Tolkien memorabilia, and various items to be auctioned off – which Stephen Fry has already donated a signed book towards. Author Neil Gaiman is even expected to make an appearance via an Internet video link.
The ‘Save the Hobbit’ fundraiser will take place at the pub on Saturday, August 11. Ticket are just £10. For more information you can email the pub at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 023 8023 2591.
Possible Resolution in Sight for Hobbit Pub Clash
Sir Ian McKellen backs The Hobbit Pub
Save ‘The Hobbit’…Pub, that is
Save The Hobbit, Southampton Facebook page