by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 14th 2012 8:07pm
saul zaentz company
As a whole bunch of folks have been sending in, the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC), which holds the intellectual property rights associated with The Hobbit, has stupidly threatened a small UK pub called "The Hobbit" which has used the name for over 20 years without any problem.
The article isn't clear if we're talking about copyrights, trademarks or both, but either way the whole thing is pretty silly. Yes, the pub "features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has 'Frodo' and 'Gandalf' cocktails on the menu, and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card." But is this really harming the rightsholder? I'm sure that SZC is doing all sorts of ridiculously lucrative licensing deals for the upcoming Hobbit movie, and so it's trying to clear the field of infringers, but all this does is make them look like massive, insensitive bullies. Hell, even Stephen Fry, who's starring in the movie, has tweeted how ridiculous this is, calling it "pointless, self-defeating bullying." But, you know, that's pretty much how Hollywood functions these days.
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