Tuesday 13 March 2012

75 Years English English until the American's say stop

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Opening lines of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 1937


In a street in Southampton, England there lived a public house. Not a nasty, dirty, wet pub, filled with the end of cigarettes and an oozy smell, not yet a drt, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was themed on a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

However, the Orcs of Hollywood movie lawyers didn't like the fact that a quaint pub named after a character from English literature had been there since 1989. I know I had a pint in there while I was a student on a visit to Southampton. Many of the patrons and staff are Tolkien fans, and by that I mean have read the books, and reread the books, and probably not just four of them. 

The lawyers for Middle Earth Enterprises who are trying to profit from the 75 year old icon of English literature because they have a film out later this year that they are charged with marketing. So they want the comfy hobbit water hole to rebrand. 

Rebrand as what?

How about Rivendell? Or maybe in light of the attack on them Minas Tirith? 

The Hobbit is Southampton is hardly likely to detract from the profits of Middle Earth Enterprises. For a start you have to go there, order a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. Apparently they own the copyright including the titles of the works, the names of characters contained within as well as the names of places, objects and events within them, and certain short phrases and sayings from the works.

So I may not be able to review The H*****, and tell you about how well Martin Freeman plays B**** B****** of B** E**. When the film comes out in December. May not be able to talk about T** R*** and how B**** B****** with the help of G****** the G*** and the rest including the dwarfs (see I think they are excluded from Saul Zaentz's copyright.

If you agree that this is just petty legal action and an American trying to encroach on what is English and British heritage then go an like their Save the Hobbit Facebook page.

Footnote There may, or may not, be other pubs called The Hobbit but i'm not telling Middle-earth Enterprises where they may, or may not, be.


  1. There may or may not be one near here...

  2. There is a precedent for this case- that of the use of the name McDonald for a long standing business in Scotland.
    Remember that other English/Canadian icon Winnie the Pooh has been McDiseyised (note that the latter word is spelled with an s)

  3. oops- McDisneyised. Speling a bit wobbly as of others who are friends of Pooh!