Stephen Fry backs campaign to save The Hobbit pub in Southampton

Daily Echo: Campaign to save Hobbit backed by Stephen Fry Campaign to save Hobbit backed by Stephen Fry

Actor Stephen Fry has backed a Southampton pub's legal battle against a Hollywood film company.

Hands off our Bilbo

Editor Ian Murray says hands off our Precious!
Read his blog here.

The Hobbit pub in Southampton was ordered by to remove all references to the books by JRR Tolkien or it will be taken to court.

Thousands have joined the campaign against the action by US production company Saul Zaentz Company, which owns the rights to Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

MPs, councillors and regulars have all shown their support for the pub, in Beovis Valley Road, which has been themed around the Hobbit for more than 20 years.

And last night they were given celebrity backing by Stephen Fry, currently in New Zealand when he is filming the Hobbit, due to hit movie screens before the end of the year.

The writer, actor and comedian posted on his Twitter site: “Sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying.”

Pub owners Punch Tavern has vowed to fight the threat of legal action against it.

Comments (25)

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9:48am Wed 14 Mar 12

lowe esteem says...

Glad to see we've bypassed the Prime Minister and Lord Charles
Glad to see we've bypassed the Prime Minister and Lord Charles lowe esteem

9:53am Wed 14 Mar 12

Gossie. says...

As long as it's got a late licence I don't care what it's called
As long as it's got a late licence I don't care what it's called Gossie.

9:59am Wed 14 Mar 12

The Salv says...

I remember hearing about a similar battle with a hollywood giant about a logo or something about a year or so ago. How did they get on?
I remember hearing about a similar battle with a hollywood giant about a logo or something about a year or so ago. How did they get on? The Salv

10:25am Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support.

Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment.

Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.
Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support. Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment. Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub. Sotonians_lets_pull_together

10:30am Wed 14 Mar 12

rudolph_hucker says...

Sotonians_lets_pull_
together
wrote:
Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support.

Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment.

Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.
Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry?
[quote][p][bold]Sotonians_lets_pull_ together[/bold] wrote: Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support. Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment. Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.[/p][/quote]Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry? rudolph_hucker

10:31am Wed 14 Mar 12

fedupofspongers says...

If the owners had called it a name they made up and Hollywood used their name and made a film based on it, you can bet your bottom dollar PUNCH TAVERN would be screaming fo their piece..

It's NOT their name, so why shold they steal Tolkiens idea and make money from it....

Typical spongers of today, always using others work to make money for themselves...

Fry, you should know better and somehow i think you do.
If the owners had called it a name they made up and Hollywood used their name and made a film based on it, you can bet your bottom dollar PUNCH TAVERN would be screaming fo their piece.. It's NOT their name, so why shold they steal Tolkiens idea and make money from it.... Typical spongers of today, always using others work to make money for themselves... Fry, you should know better and somehow i think you do. fedupofspongers

10:36am Wed 14 Mar 12

Shoong says...

Yes Stephen, because if they offered you a part in the film you would turn it straight down on principle.
Yes Stephen, because if they offered you a part in the film you would turn it straight down on principle. Shoong

10:38am Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

"Hollywood's take on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit could become the most expensive film ever made, with costs expected to reach $500 million (£315 million)"
http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/culture/film/
film-news/8053833/Th
e-Hobbit-could-be-mo
st-expensive-film-ev
er-made.html

Who is going to invest that sort of money if they cannot expect in law to be able to protect that investment?
"Hollywood's take on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit could become the most expensive film ever made, with costs expected to reach $500 million (£315 million)" http://www.telegraph .co.uk/culture/film/ film-news/8053833/Th e-Hobbit-could-be-mo st-expensive-film-ev er-made.html Who is going to invest that sort of money if they cannot expect in law to be able to protect that investment? Sotonians_lets_pull_together

10:45am Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

rudolph_hucker wrote:
Sotonians_lets_pull_

together
wrote:
Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support.

Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment.

Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.
Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry?
Good idea, maybe the pub should approach Stephen Fry to be allowed to call their pub after him, use his image, and any copyright work of his in their marketing without restriction.

He surely could not now say no without looking hypocritical?
[quote][p][bold]rudolph_hucker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sotonians_lets_pull_ together[/bold] wrote: Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support. Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment. Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.[/p][/quote]Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry?[/p][/quote]Good idea, maybe the pub should approach Stephen Fry to be allowed to call their pub after him, use his image, and any copyright work of his in their marketing without restriction. He surely could not now say no without looking hypocritical? Sotonians_lets_pull_together

10:52am Wed 14 Mar 12

Huffter says...

All those supporting Punch Taverns in their theft of intellectual property will no doubt be contributing towards the defence costs. The name of the pub should be OK, however - A "hobbit" is a Welsh unit of weight measurement, equivalent to 108 pounds.
All those supporting Punch Taverns in their theft of intellectual property will no doubt be contributing towards the defence costs. The name of the pub should be OK, however - A "hobbit" is a Welsh unit of weight measurement, equivalent to 108 pounds. Huffter

10:55am Wed 14 Mar 12

rudolph_hucker says...

Sotonians_lets_pull_
together
wrote:
rudolph_hucker wrote:
Sotonians_lets_pull_


together
wrote:
Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support.

Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment.

Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.
Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry?
Good idea, maybe the pub should approach Stephen Fry to be allowed to call their pub after him, use his image, and any copyright work of his in their marketing without restriction.

He surely could not now say no without looking hypocritical?
A Steven Fry theme pub? **shudder**
[quote][p][bold]Sotonians_lets_pull_ together[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rudolph_hucker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sotonians_lets_pull_ together[/bold] wrote: Nice for Fry to support the underdog I guess, but it seems a misguided cause to support. Its a good pub, but why should Punch Taverns be able to profit from wholesale use of someone else's copyright, where someone has paid a significant sum to for the rights. Of course the rights owner should be able to protect their investment. Time to come up with a new name and theme for the pub. May as well use this publicity to rebrand the pub.[/p][/quote]Maybe it could be renamed The "Pompous GuffBag" in honour of Steven Fry?[/p][/quote]Good idea, maybe the pub should approach Stephen Fry to be allowed to call their pub after him, use his image, and any copyright work of his in their marketing without restriction. He surely could not now say no without looking hypocritical?[/p][/quote]A Steven Fry theme pub? **shudder** rudolph_hucker

10:55am Wed 14 Mar 12

PrincessPea says...

This coming from a man who said Jade Goody was a 'Diana from the wrong side of the tracks' what a load of b***ocks! They are in the wrong no matter how petty it may seem. Get over it and move on.
This coming from a man who said Jade Goody was a 'Diana from the wrong side of the tracks' what a load of b***ocks! They are in the wrong no matter how petty it may seem. Get over it and move on. PrincessPea

11:21am Wed 14 Mar 12

likewatchingbrazil says...

whoopty do dang diddley do
whoopty do dang diddley do likewatchingbrazil

11:25am Wed 14 Mar 12

AndyVD says...

Anonymous are also backing the support of keeping the name...

https://twitter.com/
#!/YourAnonNews/stat
us/17968841508271718
4

https://twitter.com/
#!/AnonyOps/status/1
79691566577881090
Anonymous are also backing the support of keeping the name... https://twitter.com/ #!/YourAnonNews/stat us/17968841508271718 4 https://twitter.com/ #!/AnonyOps/status/1 79691566577881090 AndyVD

11:29am Wed 14 Mar 12

St Retford says...

Good on you, Sir Stephen. I think this is very commendable.
Good on you, Sir Stephen. I think this is very commendable. St Retford

11:36am Wed 14 Mar 12

pushamara says...

Some of you lot are really are quite sad. So what if a small, local pub is making a bit of money from a name, is it really causing that much harm to a multi-million pound company? Perhaps you should be supporting local businesses rather than trying to drive them into the ground by supporting these bully's.
Some of you lot are really are quite sad. So what if a small, local pub is making a bit of money from a name, is it really causing that much harm to a multi-million pound company? Perhaps you should be supporting local businesses rather than trying to drive them into the ground by supporting these bully's. pushamara

11:46am Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

Maybe they could argue that the author intended it to be public property, a mythology for England.... and therefore the copyright should be held to be unenforceable?

See this quote:

http://www.tolkien-o

nline.com/tolkien-an

d-mythology.html

Tolkien had great interest, as he once wrote to a reader, “in mythological invention, and the mystery of literary creation”. As a scholar of mythology, Tolkien was also quite aware, as he went on to write in the same letter, that “ had no stories of its own, not of the quality that I sought, and found in legends of other lands”.

Many understood this comment to mean that Tolkien had undertaken the writing of The Lord of the Rings and the rest of his Middle-earth mythology on the basis of creating a “mythology for England”.

Perhaps they could argue that the original creation of the word hobbit was not that of Tolkien... that there was prior art evidenced by Tolkien himself...

"Hobbits are perhaps JRR Tolkien’s most popular and original creation. As the legend goes, one day in 1928, while grading papers, Tolkien found a student

“had mercifully left one of the pages with no writing on it…and I wrote on it: ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’ Names always generate a story in my mind…I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like” (Letters of JRR Tolkien pg. 215)"

http://www.tolkien-o

nline.com/hobbits.ht

ml
Maybe they could argue that the author intended it to be public property, a mythology for England.... and therefore the copyright should be held to be unenforceable? See this quote: http://www.tolkien-o nline.com/tolkien-an d-mythology.html Tolkien had great interest, as he once wrote to a reader, “in mythological invention, and the mystery of literary creation”. As a scholar of mythology, Tolkien was also quite aware, as he went on to write in the same letter, that “ had no stories of its own, not of the quality that I sought, and found in legends of other lands”. Many understood this comment to mean that Tolkien had undertaken the writing of The Lord of the Rings and the rest of his Middle-earth mythology on the basis of creating a “mythology for England”. Perhaps they could argue that the original creation of the word hobbit was not that of Tolkien... that there was prior art evidenced by Tolkien himself... "Hobbits are perhaps JRR Tolkien’s most popular and original creation. As the legend goes, one day in 1928, while grading papers, Tolkien found a student “had mercifully left one of the pages with no writing on it…and I wrote on it: ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’ Names always generate a story in my mind…I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like” (Letters of JRR Tolkien pg. 215)" http://www.tolkien-o nline.com/hobbits.ht ml Sotonians_lets_pull_together

11:59am Wed 14 Mar 12

ssnaked23 says...

Just think that all needs to be said has been said and reading all the posts made there are obviously didvided opinions which is why we are a democracy.
Would like to see them keep the name because that isnt an issue but the selling of mechandise they definately are on a "sticky wicket"
Just think that all needs to be said has been said and reading all the posts made there are obviously didvided opinions which is why we are a democracy. Would like to see them keep the name because that isnt an issue but the selling of mechandise they definately are on a "sticky wicket" ssnaked23

12:25pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Gossie. says...

My last word on the subject, the pub has been called the Hobbit for over 20 years, Hollywood has had the rights for a short time. Can understand if the pub was just being renamed the Hobbit now, but it isn't, and as such should be left alone.
My last word on the subject, the pub has been called the Hobbit for over 20 years, Hollywood has had the rights for a short time. Can understand if the pub was just being renamed the Hobbit now, but it isn't, and as such should be left alone. Gossie.

1:25pm Wed 14 Mar 12

jondave says...

It's so great to see so many Sotonians who are so happy to simply bend over and left Americans do them up the bum. You are a credit to the city! I assume that all of you supporting Hollywood will be writing to Carnvial Cruises to alert them to the prescence of The White Star Tavern? Given that they are profiting from both the White Star name and the names of past White Star liners? Or maybe the use of Titanic for one of their rooms just be highlighted to RMS Titanic Inc, I am sure they'd be up for a scrap! Or perhaps the Royal Family should take acation against any pub named for past kings and queens? Or we could make it easy and just rename the pub "Soton Spackers" - might be more appropriate...
It's so great to see so many Sotonians who are so happy to simply bend over and left Americans do them up the bum. You are a credit to the city! I assume that all of you supporting Hollywood will be writing to Carnvial Cruises to alert them to the prescence of The White Star Tavern? Given that they are profiting from both the White Star name and the names of past White Star liners? Or maybe the use of Titanic for one of their rooms just be highlighted to RMS Titanic Inc, I am sure they'd be up for a scrap! Or perhaps the Royal Family should take acation against any pub named for past kings and queens? Or we could make it easy and just rename the pub "Soton Spackers" - might be more appropriate... jondave

3:05pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

The only source known today that makes reference to hobbits in any sort of historical context is the Denham Tracts by Michael Aislabie Denham. More specifically, it appears in the Denham Tracts, edited by James Hardy, (London: Folklore Society, 1895), vol. 2, the second part of a two-volume set compiled from Denham's publications between 1846 and 1859.

The text contains a long list of sprites and bogies, based on an older list, the Discovery of Witchcraft, dated 1584, with many additions and a few repetitions. The term hobbit is listed in the context of

boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies

In the December 2003 Oxford English Dictionary newsletter, in the "Words of Choice" section, the following appears:

4. hobbit — J. R. R. Tolkien modestly claimed not to have coined this word, although the Supplement to the OED credited him with the invention of it in the absence of further evidence. It seems, however, that Tolkien was right to be cautious. It has since turned up in one of those 19th-century folklore journals, in a list of long-forgotten words for fairy-folk or little people. It seems likely that Tolkien, with his interest in folklore, read this and subconsciously registered the name, reviving it many years later in his most famous character.

http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Hobbit_%28w
ord%29
The only source known today that makes reference to hobbits in any sort of historical context is the Denham Tracts by Michael Aislabie Denham. More specifically, it appears in the Denham Tracts, edited by James Hardy, (London: Folklore Society, 1895), vol. 2, the second part of a two-volume set compiled from Denham's publications between 1846 and 1859. The text contains a long list of sprites and bogies, based on an older list, the Discovery of Witchcraft, dated 1584, with many additions and a few repetitions. The term hobbit is listed in the context of boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies In the December 2003 Oxford English Dictionary newsletter, in the "Words of Choice" section, the following appears: 4. hobbit — J. R. R. Tolkien modestly claimed not to have coined this word, although the Supplement to the OED credited him with the invention of it in the absence of further evidence. It seems, however, that Tolkien was right to be cautious. It has since turned up in one of those 19th-century folklore journals, in a list of long-forgotten words for fairy-folk or little people. It seems likely that Tolkien, with his interest in folklore, read this and subconsciously registered the name, reviving it many years later in his most famous character. [Editor's note: although revision of the OED's entry for hobbit will of course take this evidence for earlier use into account, it does not yet appear in the online version of the entry.] http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Hobbit_%28w ord%29 Sotonians_lets_pull_together

3:12pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Huffter says...

Gossie. wrote:
My last word on the subject, the pub has been called the Hobbit for over 20 years, Hollywood has had the rights for a short time. Can understand if the pub was just being renamed the Hobbit now, but it isn't, and as such should be left alone.
Whether it's to do with Hollywood is not relevant - copyright in this country holds the same position - ie you may not copyright anything registered or protected without permission. All the management of the Hobbit has to prove is that it has permission.
[quote][p][bold]Gossie.[/bold] wrote: My last word on the subject, the pub has been called the Hobbit for over 20 years, Hollywood has had the rights for a short time. Can understand if the pub was just being renamed the Hobbit now, but it isn't, and as such should be left alone.[/p][/quote]Whether it's to do with Hollywood is not relevant - copyright in this country holds the same position - ie you may not copyright anything registered or protected without permission. All the management of the Hobbit has to prove is that it has permission. Huffter

3:30pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

It would seem sensible to stop using any fonts or artwork from the films, or content from the books...

however, the character names which existed prior to Tolkien using them could probably still be used? eg Hobbit, Gandalf, Durin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dvalin, Nar and Nain, Dain, Thrain, Thorin, Thror, Fili, Kili, Fundin, Frar, Gloin, Dori, Ori

http://www.sacred-te
xts.com/neu/poe/poe0
3.htm
and
http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Dwarves_%28
Middle-earth%29

Gimli is heaven in norse mythology so should be OK

Tom Bombadil, Legolas, Aragorn, Frodo, Gollum, Smeagol, Deagol, Nazgul etc can probably not be used

Bilbo may be OK as it is a type of sword.

Obviously using imagery from the films alongside the names would undermine the right to use them.
It would seem sensible to stop using any fonts or artwork from the films, or content from the books... however, the character names which existed prior to Tolkien using them could probably still be used? eg Hobbit, Gandalf, Durin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dvalin, Nar and Nain, Dain, Thrain, Thorin, Thror, Fili, Kili, Fundin, Frar, Gloin, Dori, Ori http://www.sacred-te xts.com/neu/poe/poe0 3.htm and http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Dwarves_%28 Middle-earth%29 Gimli is heaven in norse mythology so should be OK Tom Bombadil, Legolas, Aragorn, Frodo, Gollum, Smeagol, Deagol, Nazgul etc can probably not be used Bilbo may be OK as it is a type of sword. Obviously using imagery from the films alongside the names would undermine the right to use them. Sotonians_lets_pull_together

4:45pm Wed 14 Mar 12

Huffter says...

I have to say I find it a little bit worrying that Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Echo, Ian Murray, writes a Blog in which he appears to be unaware of the concept of copyright and the implications of infringement and the theft of Intellectual Property.
I have to say I find it a little bit worrying that Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Echo, Ian Murray, writes a Blog in which he appears to be unaware of the concept of copyright and the implications of infringement and the theft of Intellectual Property. Huffter

12:45pm Thu 15 Mar 12

ramptonfromsouthampton says...

I can't believe the number of pompous oafs posting here in support of a Hollywood business in its attempts to bully a small English pub out of business on the basis of it's name. Oh the irony of 'Sotonians-let's-pul
l-together's name. The Hobbit pub has been trading under that name for over 20 years and I didn't see any of the idiots posting here now against them raising any complaints about copyright infringement during this period. Honestly, some people should really take a good look at themselves. It really does beggar belief.
I can't believe the number of pompous oafs posting here in support of a Hollywood business in its attempts to bully a small English pub out of business on the basis of it's name. Oh the irony of 'Sotonians-let's-pul l-together's name. The Hobbit pub has been trading under that name for over 20 years and I didn't see any of the idiots posting here now against them raising any complaints about copyright infringement during this period. Honestly, some people should really take a good look at themselves. It really does beggar belief. ramptonfromsouthampton

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