A cease-and-desist letter over a UK pub that calls itself “The Hobbit” has caused a Middle Earth-sized uproar in Southern England. The drinking establishment that serves cocktails named after popular Lord of the Rings characters like “Frodo” and “Gandolf” reportedly has received a demand from film rightholder Saul Zaentz Co. to change many of the pub’s features or face copyright and trademark action.
Stella Roberts, the landlady of “The Hobbit” pub, tells a local paper that she doesn’t have the resources to fight a “mutli-million pound power” like Saul Zaentz, so if the threat continues, she’s going to have to make changes.
That would include the name of the pub, the website, interior artwork, the names of menu items, and more.
Roberts seems to have some PR skills in getting sloshed Tolkienites to rally against legal heavy-handedness. One of her regulars compared the situation to “hobbits verses orcs.”
The outrage has also sparked a Facebook page, with more than 45,000 supporters thus far, and even got the attention of Stephen Fry, who is playing the Master of Laketown in the Hobbit film. The actor recently sent this tweet:
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) March 13, 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson, is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. in December.