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In a land, many many miles away (England), where dragons roar, nazguls ride, and trees walk among us, there is a pub.
A very small pub.
A Hobbit, if you will.
In fact, the pub is called the Hobbit. It's an integral part of the community in Southampton, England, where Tolkein enthusiasts might meet up to enjoy a drink in this highly reputed tavern surrounded by Middle Earth's incredible universe.
This pub is unlike any other, with Middle Earth inspired cocktails (such as the Gandalf and Frodo), Tom Bombadil music evenings, and fantastic wall art in the garden supplied by a local artist.
The patrons and staff alike are fans of Tolkein's work, and the pub has been serving weary "Striders" for over 20 years, with no prior complaints or claims. The pub is a tribute to the master author and his major works, and is loved by all the local community.
But evil is afoot.
It’s David versus Goliath, or rather, Frodo versus Sauron: A small English Hobbit pub versus a Hollywood giant with an evil eye.
Lawyers representing the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) in California have told the pub it must carry out a complete rebranding before the end of May, or face legal action.
SZC owns the worldwide rights to several brands associated with Tolkien, including the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as merchandise. It has yet to surface if the company owns the actual book rights.
The pub has been called The Hobbit for more than 20 years and copyright has never been a problem previously, but it is having to change the name of the bar and of its drinks, as well as painting over murals and removing posters. It's like losing an old friend, something so integral to our makeup.
The Landlady said "It has always been a tribute to Tolkien's work and not a case of us jumping on a commercial bandwagon. It's a real blow for me, our customers and staff. We are all Tolkien fans and I don't see what harm we are doing."
The pub is taking legal advice but cannot find the financial resources to fight a big company. They may now face closure.
But we are mustering the Rohirim.
A campaign to save the Hobbit pub name has been launched on the internet and attracted more than 8000 followers, and this figure is still rising.
The pub is considered a tribute to a wonderful author and a magical universe.
People wander in to enjoy themselves, laugh, make friends...Where else can you enjoy a Gandalf cocktail with Gandalf or rub elbows with a Nazgul? Maybe you'll visit one day, on your travels there and back again.
We treasure this pub. It has never been attacked by copyright previously and has been trading under the name and theme for over twenty years. If anything, it offers free advertising to the series.
Any of the customers will tell you that they will see the films and read the books, even if they hadn't visited the pub. Some even because of it - this local landmark has introduced many people to the wonderful series in the first place.
We are seeking aid in our fight against Zaentz.
We shall never boycott the films or wish harm on any of Tolkein's works. We are fans and consider Zaentz's attacks disrespectful towards this great author (especially considered that many say the company is not directly related to the filming). We merely seek support.
Please, if you could spread the word in any way (tweeting @savetheHobbit or #savetheHobbit, tweeting actors, commenting, or even joining the facebook internet campaign), we would be most grateful.
One does not simply rebrand the Hobbit.
This shall not pass.
The Hobbit has my sword, and the bows of over 8500 others.
Do we have your axe?
FOR THE HOBBIT!!!