You know copyright law’s got out of hand when…
When it’s being used to attack an endangered species. Not a biological kind of species, because they usually have a queue of people trying to save them. This is a pub, and so the great and good are mostly absent with the exception of Stephen Fry.
Actor Stephen Fry, who’s in the cast of The Hobbit films, has accused their American copyright holder of bullying an English theme pub called The Hobbit.
Lawyers for California-based Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) have written to the landlady of the Southampton pub, demanding it changes its name and remove all references to author JRR Tolkien’s classic by the end of May or face legal action for copyright infringement.
Fry, who plays the Master of Laketown in The Hobbit being filmed in New Zealand, says he’s ashamed of being in the film business.
His tweet helped boost the cause of the Save the Hobbit, Southampton Facebook page, which quickly attracted more than 13,000 followers.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) March 13, 2012
He’s a funny bloke, Stephen Fry. Not funny ha-ha, though he certainly can be, but funny in that I really don’t know what to think about the guy. I once called him names because he defended political expense fiddling, but I’ve also blogged at how ridiculous it was that he had to cancel travel plans to Japan because of what someone else on QI said about one of the few double A-bomb survivors. In this instance, though, it’s very easy: I think Fry is absolutely right and I’d be fucking ashamed as well. What else can you think when a company who did not create the original works but have simply bought the rights is setting lawyers on to a member of a dying trade who’s highly unlikely to be able to afford to defend herself.
SZC are doubtless looking forward to a nice cheque from the movie studio behind the upcoming film, and this isn’t exactly promoting ‘The Hobbit’ (am I allowed to say that?) as a good brand. It’s tempting to suggest boycotting the film just so SZC, who are making money from doing fuck all I can see apart from buying the rights years ago – they’re not even making the fucking movie, for Christ’s sake – get less. I won’t because this isn’t the studio’s fault, but seriously, fuck Hollywood, fuck copyright abuse and fuck the parasites who live of this kind of thing. If a #BoycottTheHobbitmovie hashtag starts appearing regularly on Twitter I reckon it’ll be SZC who deserve the credit for it.