It almost reads like a tale straight from Middle Earth. Gandalf the Grey, known to most as Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, who plays the Master of Laketown in Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit, are coming to the rescue of The Hobbit Pub. The Southampton, England establishment owned by Stella Roberts has come under attack from The Saul Zaentz Company who hold the copyrights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The pub is famous for not only its namesake but for serving Tolkien-themed drinks as well, all of which come under copyright infringement and would require them to pay The Saul Zaentz Company some egregious royalties. Roberts feared the license fee she’d be required to pay would, “be $100 this year and $20,000 next year.”
Thankfully the thespians have stepped in to put the whole matter to rest. McKellen and Fry have agreed to pay the fee and have also called out The Saul Zaentz Company’s actions as “unnecessary pettiness” and “self-defeating bullying.”
Roberts added, “They’ve said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub.” What an awesome ending to a battle between fan love and corporate greed. I can only hope their drinks will be on the house.