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Stephen Fry Lends Support To 'The Hobbit' Pub In Legal Spat

After operating for over 20 years with 'The Hobbit' name, California lawyers representing SZC ask the Southampton pub to remove all references to the characters. Stephen Fry speaks up in defense of the pub.

According to the BBC, the copyright infringement is being claimed by the Saul Zaentz Company, current owners of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings brand.

Via Twitter: @!/stephenfry

Stephen Fry, who has been cast in the upcoming Hobbit Film as the 'Master of Laketown,' took to Twitter, calling the threat of legal action, "pointless, self-defeating bullying."

Facebook: thehobbitpub / Via Facebook: SaveTheHobbitSouthampton

The Hobbit Pub has created a Facebook page to garner support for the pub in what could turn out to be an expensive legal battle, if SZC decides to push the suit.

The page prominently features a variation on the popular Boromir, "One does not simply..." meme, a decision that the SZC lawyers might not find so amusing.

As a number of reddit users have pointed out, one of the major points of contention is the pub's usage of imagery from the films in promotion and paraphernalia.

Many have suggested that it is essentially a slippery slope for IP lawyers to not defend their trademark, as not protecting it can lead to further infringement and the risk of losing the trademark rights altogether. This is not the case with copyright law, however, which seems to be the real issue here.

For this TAL editor, I find myself standing with the little guy, and agree with Stephen Fry.

However, intellectual property is an incredibly complex and hot-button topic.

Readers, where do you stand on this? Is the pub in the right? The lawyers? Neither? Both? Sound off in the comments below.

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