He's A Good Wizard: Gandalf Saves The Hobbit Pub After Copyright Owner Threatens Legal Action Over Name

March 22, 2012


Inb4 damn Gandalf, is that how you legal battle?

The Hobbit Pub, a small English drinking establishment that's been in business over 20 years with Middle Earth themed fare, was threatened by the Saul Zaentz Company (pronounced Sauron) to change its name, pay annual licensing fees, or face legal action. Aaaaaaand now Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Stephen Fry (Master of Laketown) have stepped forward and agreed to pay the fees to keep the pub the way it is. *makes plans to buy tickets to one movie and then sneak into the new Hobbit one instead just to spite the company*

McKellen described the company's actions as "unnecessary pettiness," while Fry called them "self-defeating bullying."

According to the owner of The Hobbit, "They've said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub."

Yay for happy endings! But seriously, I hate big companies throwing their weight around like that. Couldn't you just have gotten them to sign a contract agreeing to not start wholesaling Hobbit Brew or sell t-shirts with screencaps from the movie printed on them? Like, I don't know, THE ONES I JUST GOT MADE. Etsy store going live in 10-minutes folks -- get 'em while they're hot.

Gandalf Saves Hobbit Pub Of The Day [geeks.thedailywh.at]

Thanks to Christina "It's one of my locals and an awesome place!" and Bedlam "was one of my old drinking haunts at uni (college), f***ing terrible if the place goes, its been there for 20 years and where else would i get to sip on a Tom Bombidil cocktail?" Bert, who should both buy me a drink when I come to visit.

  • VoiceOfReason71

    I have to disagree with you about 'big companies throwing their weight around.' Tolkien willingly sold the rights back in the 70's, right before he died. If you owned the rights to something and someone just decided to make a living using something that lawfully belonged to you, would you sit back and do nothing? (In more current terms: How do you feel about identity theft?) Wouldn't you want them to either compensate you or stop? I knew that there was an amicable solution (and I'm glad it was reached), but this is NOT a big, bad monster picking on a little guy. 

  • McfeelySmackup

    Ian McKellan may be a really sweet old homo, but let's not pretend this is some "Big Corporation Ruthlessly Crushes Small Business" thing.  The bar owners really WERE infringing on legally owned copyrights, really were using the likenesses of characters and scenes owned by the production company.  This wasn't an innocent mistake, they were knowingly stealing and got caught.

  • LdyPharaoh

     The pub has been in business for twenty years, the production company hasn't. The pub is based on the books, not the new movie. How could it be considered stealing if the bar predates the film?

  • McfeelySmackup

     I'm really surprised I have to explain something this basic to an adult.

    1.  the bar was using PICTURES FROM THE MOVIES in their menus and posters.
    2.  The Lord of the Rings is not a public domain work, it is under copyright held by Tolkein's family, does not pass into public domain until 2021
    3.  This bar managed to steal BOTH from the movie production company AND the formal copyright holder.  They got away with it for many years, they should be grateful they weren't sued for back damages.

  • $20600237

     I thought it was just over the title, which is in the public domain (the copyright on the books is 80 something years old). Shocked that for once it was a legitimate lawsuit

  • McfeelySmackup

     The books were published in 1954, copyright is good for 67 years.

  • Orannis

    Ian McKellen is now on my list of Celebrities I Actually Want To Meet. It's a very short list since I already met the Fonz.

  • weaselmouse

    That's heart-warming.

  • grimbldoo

    I never get adds.

  • AthrunWilshire

    I currently live in Southampton where this pub is and I literally had no idea about this copyright suit until the day it was announced to be saved. I'd also forgotten it existed. Whoops.

  • Fuck you Saul Zaentz. Since I hate you and know you love money more than anything I will be happy not to give you any more of mine. 

  • I'd like to read it but this f'n t-mobile ad won't move, close or disappear

  • Dan

    That T-Mobile ad that drops down and covers the post image makes me feel like A PIECE OF SHIT

  • raditzzzz

    what will they do when they hear about the pub "the shire" in chicago???

  • Scott Reeser

     Or the pub in Alexandria, VA "Bilbo Baggins".

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