Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hobbit Pub Saved

It seems the Southampton's The Hobbit pub has avoided expensive rebranding after The Saul Zaentz Company had sent them a cease and desist legal notice. As I predicted was possible, the company has decided on a very generous license agreement with the pub to allow them to continue to use The Hobbit name and imagery.

Film producer Paul Zaentz has told the [Daily] Echo he does not necessarily want to remove all reference to Tolkien's work and "certainly doesn't want to run anyone out of business."

He wants to resolve the dispute "amicably" and suggested the pub could be asked to pay a nominal licence fee of $100 a year - about £63. Mr Zaentz said: “We’ve tried to be very gracious. We think asking for a nominal licence fee is very reasonable. Rather than engage in protracted and expensive litigation, (we) would prefer to resolve this matter amicably. We said we would be willing to consider any proposition they might make, but to my knowledge we’ve had no response yet."
The One Ring reports The Hobbit owners later responding via the support Facebook page.
"The SZC have stated that they would like to resolve the matter of our possible copyright infringement amicably. … They have asked that we arrange to operate by way of License and that they would grant this License for a nominal fee of $100 per annum."

"I [the owner of the pub] have just received a telephone call from Stephen Fry’s business partner. Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen will be visiting the Hobbit Pub sometime after filming is completed and they have even offered to pay for the license fee."
It sounds like a whole lot of win all around. In the internet age, it is amazing how much a simple attempt to work out better solutions can avoid bad PR problems rather than the demand and threaten first which is the default response once the layers get involved.

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