You may have noticed that I’ve added a banner to the sidebar of the blog; this isn’t me trying to monetize the site – far from it in fact – this is a little publicity for an issue that recently arose regarding The Hobbit Free House in Portswood, Southampton.
“What issue?”, I hear you ask. Well you obviously aren’t following Stephen Fry on Twitter, who waded into the argument surrounding the Saul Zaentz Company’s (SZC from hereon to stop me having to spell that annoying name) recent threat of legal action to The Hobbit’s owners, Punch Taverns, if they don’t remove all references to J.R.R. Tolkein’s book and its characters.
I do respect that SZC, and any other company or individual for that matter, has the right to protect it’s own intellectual property and copyrighted content, but it’s the timing that makes the act so disgusting. The first Hobbit film will be coming out later this year, and what SZC have done is either a clever publicity stunt (no news is bad news after all), greed or naivety on their part (let’s face it, people who want to go and see the film aren’t going to struggle to tell the difference between a pub and a cinema!).
According to Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge as we all know, SZC were sold the rights to the franchise in 1976 by then-owner United Artists, all fair and above board. So why, pray tell has it taken the SZC until 2012 to threaten legal action to The Hobbit (amongst other businesses) – The Hobbit pub has after all been trading under that name for 20 years now!
Anyway, this is a bit ranty (I know that’s not a word, but it’s just going to have to do – so there), but it is a subject close to my heart – in my student days I spent a lot of time in The Hobbit, and never had a bad word to say about the place – good drinks, friendly staff, great music and interesting punters. Also the beer garden was a bit like middle earth itself…