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Lord of the Rings Idle

'The Hobbit' Pub Threatened With Lawsuit 388

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-does-not-do-to-leave-lawyers-out-of-your-calculations dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'The Hobbit,' a small pub in Southampton, England, has been threatened with a lawsuit by lawyers representing the Saul Zaentz Company in California. The pub, which has traded under the name for the last 20 years without incident, now faces closure if it does not change its name. It's yet another example of big business throwing its weight around to get its way. The pub's landlady said simply, 'I can't fight Hollywood.'"
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'The Hobbit' Pub Threatened With Lawsuit

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  • Re:Zieg Heil! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @09:31PM (#39347099) Homepage Journal


    Damn straight I'm a troll when it comes to calling out American thugishness around the world. Because you interfere in Canada, too, the same as you do everywhere.

    Jackboot is the KINDEST term I could have for your government and legal system.

  • Re:Zieg Heil! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @09:45PM (#39347235)
    I'd imagine most of their 20 years went by just fine because they weren't using movie stills in their advertising and promotional material on their public website.. []
  • Re:Zieg Heil! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:02PM (#39347407)

    So, if it's public domain, why the fuck hasn't somebody put it on Project Gutenberg already? It should be there.

    And as an enemy of copyright, I don't care HOW it lost copyright, we should seize every opportunity to take back any bit of the public domain we can.

    Fuck the estate!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:03PM (#39347425)

    This is absurd.

    The pub will never impact the business of these greedy bastards.

  • by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:13PM (#39347533)
    Or they could pick a random name from the Völuspá, which is public domain. "Gandalf's", perhaps.
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:44PM (#39347853) Journal

    You know, your snarky, self-righteous dismissal might come off as marginally less douchy if this guy wasn't some dickhead film producer who had fuck-all to do with the "success and work" of Tolkien.

    It might, but I doubt it.

  • Vague (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flimflammer (956759) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:23PM (#39348183)

    I felt sorry for this pub until I actually went to the website. The summary would have you believe the big guys are trying to crush the little guys over a little innocent naming. Not so-- Visiting the website will immediately welcome you with faces and figures from the films, trademark and copyright infringement everywhere.

    I don't feel sorry for a pub that is trying to leech from the popularity of the source material and the films. Maybe it didn't start out that way, but that's what it appears to be now.

  • Re:Zieg Heil! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:29PM (#39348229)

    I was all for supporting this pub until I actually visited their website. Now I'm on the fence.

    On the one hand, it seems like a trashy place blatantly abusing Tolkien IP, but on the other hand, fuck Hollywood.

    I think I've decided to go with "Meh. Who gives a shit." on this one, guys.

  • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:35PM (#39348289)

    Not if his name is Bilbo. I know people that have been named after characters in the book.

    I think where the "problem" lies is that the name of the establishment is the name of the book which might possibly be putting it under trademark law which forces you to "protect it or lose it".

    It's still bullshit of course. Books are over 60-85 years old and the man has been dead since 73'. Copyrights are rather disgusting when abused like this. His children can go out and get their own fucking jobs and write their own fucking novels.

  • Re:Vague (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:35PM (#39348299)

    It didn't start that way, the pub was there, using that name, long before the movies.

    I agree it's dumb/wrong of them to use film promo stuff on their flyers, however that's not what this suit is about (AFACIT), and the guy suing doesn't own any of that stuff. It is the name.

    I am biased because I used to live near there and drink there, it's a good place, and I think that the name should stay - The Hobbit was released in 1937 and is part of our culture now, it should be free for all to use. OTOH they definitely ought to cut that shit out with the flyers and use of film materials, assuming they don't have permission from whoever does own the copyright on those images, which is a pretty safe assumption to make.

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:38AM (#39348743)
    The guy suing is a dick for sure, but ffs stop being a racist/anti-semite. Such comments are vastly more douchy than the crap that Mr Zaentz is pulling. Thinking that those of the Jewish faith have a monopoly on money-grubbing shows an immature world view - plenty of races and religions are just as avaricious.
  • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justforgetme (1814588) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @01:32AM (#39349135) Homepage

    AFAIK all the legal stuff broke out once JRR passed away. Pretty much much the classic story of heirs becoming idiots.

  • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:58AM (#39349571)

    Not idiots. Not at all. Greedy is what they are.

  • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @08:33AM (#39351107)

    Pub has clear risk of losing as the whole thing is Tolkien/movie themed. Without approval by the rights holder. It's not just the name.

  • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Troyusrex (2446430) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @08:36AM (#39351127)
    The problem is more complicated than that. Companies that don't pursue any infringement they find out about vigorously often end up losing their trademark. This leads to these silly types of cases where the company doesn't really care that some small pub somewhere is using its trademark but if they don't come down hard on them the fact that they knew about it and didn't vigorously defend their trademark could cause them to lose a trademark decision against someone they do care about. Don't blame the company, blame the law that forces companies to act this way or risk losing their trademarks.
  • Re:Easy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zxsqkty (869685) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @10:47AM (#39352449)

    Or they could just extradite the landlady and try her in California. That's how it works, isn't it?

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