American lawyers threaten Southhapton’s Hobbit pub over copyright infringement
AMERICAN lawyers are threatening The Hobbit, a pub in Portswood, Southampton pub. The suits say the pub has committed copyright infringement by way of its name and Hobbit-themed signs.
The Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) of California owns the rights to lots of Hobbitt writer JRR Tolkien’s stuff. The pub has been called The Hobbit for the past 20 years. And that will no do.
We can only boggle at how much damage the boozer has done to the brand, but our expert says, “Depends how much money the American lawyers think you’ve got.”
SZC has sent a letter to landlady Stella Mary Roberts declaring its “exclusive worldwide rights to motion picture, merchandising, stage and other rights in certain literary works of JRR Tolkien including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit”.
“We don’t have the financial resources to fight it – I can’t fight Hollywood.”
But Punch Taverns, which owns the freehold to the building, might have. It says:
“We are aware of the situation and are currently consulting with our legal advisors.”
Look out for the Hobbit being renamed very soon to, we trust, something reflecting its recent past, like the Tosser and Lickspittle. Meanwhile, Mr Punch, of Florida, an infamous victim of domestic violence, is speaking to his lawyers about Punch Taverns. For reasons of historical claim, Mr Punch’s legal team appear as yellow-eyed, ball-munching crocodiles…