Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nanny Bans Hobbit

As loyal readers know, Nanny tends to ban things that she doesn't understand or that threaten her authority over us. However, sometimes, the motivation for a ban or infringement of freedom is simply money.

Thus I am sorry to say that The Hobbit pub in Southampton (a pub that has been using that name for around 20 years) has found itself on the receiving end of the threat of litigation by US lawyers representing Nanny's chums from the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) in California.

SZC owns the worldwide rights to several brands associated with author JRR Tolkien, including The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

Unfortunately, the pub features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has "Frodo" and "Gandalf" cocktails on the menu, and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card.

Needless to say this has not gone down well with SZC, and as such it has asked that the pub remove all references to the characters.

The Hobbit pub has set up a Facebook page to help save it. However, given that SZC has more money than those who run the pub it will be a battle that can only be won if SZC shows some humanity and charity, and finds a legally watertight way to allow this "infringement" to continue as a "one off" (so that others are not tempted to infringe its rights).

However, that "Damascus revelation" of charity may be unlikely, the Hobbit pub is not the only UK business to be served with a litigation notice from SZC.

The Hungry Hobbit cafe in Birmingham was also served with one in the latter end of 2011 (they too have a Facebook page). Their proposed solution to the threats from SZC will be to rename the cafe the "Hungry 'Obbit". However, it is not yet clear as to whether SZC will accept this.

Brand value and trademarks are very important in commerce. However, sometimes the damage to a company's brand value by appearing to some to be petty minded and greedy exceeds any alleged loss of revenue stream from minor infringements; ie a degree of commonsense and flexibility is required and will reap rewards.

Sadly, as loyal readers know, Nanny has long since banned commonsense and is remarkably inflexible.

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  1. Many American corporations have similar policies to these bullies....Disney is another.

    The pub in question were using this theme long before the film came out and the rights were sold off.

    The landlady will have to comply in the end or the cultural Marxists in government will happily send her off to the USA to stand trial just in the way they have abandoned many other British citizens.

    1. Anonymous9:39 PM

      Disney did get their come-uppance in a case about pornographic parodies of Disney cartoons. The court ruled that no-one would believe that Disney preduced pornographic cartoons so there would be no confusuon or misrepresentation. Maybe the pub should change its name to The Horny Hobbit, with an appropriate pub sign.

  2. Why has it taken them so long to notice this?

  3. An excellent question!

    Sometimes people resort to litigation against one entity because they are frustrated by the failure of litigation against another, or because they have only just become aware of an alleged infringement; of course I have no way of knowing the motivation for the timing of this particular litigation.

  4. Archroy9:34 PM

    Maybe Jim Henson should serve notice on Goldman Sachs for misuse of the name 'Muppet'.

  5. Anonymous9:15 AM

    The problem is that these things are allowed to be retrospective. The people who own Thomas the Tnak Engine are equally nasty.

  6. Anonymous11:04 AM

    There goes my idea of a Tnak Engine Bistro.............

  7. I see on the local news that the American Corporation are back peddling a bit, perhaps due to the adverse pblicity and now offering the pub an annual license for £100.

  8. Lord of Atlantis1:54 PM


    1. I think you mean ker farking ching!