Actors Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen are paying the licensing fee so a Southampton, England pub can continue running the Hobbit.
Sometimes it really does take a wizard to come to the rescue: Gandalf the Gray, one of the Lord of the Rings most memorable characters, just rescued a middle-earth themed pub threatened with legal action.
About two weeks ago The Hobbit pub in Southampton, England, was threatened with copyright infringement from lawyers representing Saul Zaentz Company (SZC), a Berkeley-based film company that controls the merchandising rights to the famed J.R.R. Tolkien books.
The threat started a firestorm on Twitter where thousands of people, including English actor Stephen Fry (who will star in the upcoming film The Hobbit), tweeted their support for the business.
All seemed bleak until SZC backed down Wednesday and decided to “grant the pub a licence to use the name for $100,” reported Sky News. Instead of having the pub pay the annual licensing fee, both Fry and actor Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the film trilogy and will reprise his role in The Hobbit, picked up the bill.
The two “will be visiting the Hobbit Pub sometime after filming is completed,” said a post on the Save the Hobbit Facebook page. “How awesome are these guys?”
The news of the pub grabbed Reddit’s attention where more than 200 people cheered on the two actors in a front-page post
“I’m glad the actors did this, but I’m sad that the bullying tactics technically worked since the fee got paid in the end,” commented rogersmith25.
Photo by DraXus
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