Ian McKellen saves threatened Hobbit pub from dark copyright forces

There is a pub in England called The Hobbit that's been around for about 20 years. Popular with students—and, apparently, actors—The Hobbit serves drinks named after some of J.R.R. Tolkien's characters. And recently, they were told to change the name or shut their doors. Luckily, a pair of thespians working on The Hobbit stepped in.

Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, currently in New Zealand shooting The Hobbit for Peter Jackson, have agreed to levy their support behind The Hobbit, both emotionally and financially. See, The Saul Zaentz Company holds the copyrights to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and has threatened legal action against the pub unless they either remove any connection to The Hobbit or pay a license fee like everyone else who wants to make money off the franchise.

According to the BBC, the pub's landlady, Stella Roberts, was concerned that she wouldn't be able to afford the license fee, which could, in her words, "be $100 this year and $20,000 next year." Patrons of the pub even started a Save The Hobbit Facebook campaign to preserve their watering hole, which is now 58,000 members strong.

And that's when McKellen and Fry agreed to pay the fee, calling the Saul Zaentz Company's actions "unnecessary pettiness" and "self-defeating bullying."

Good for them. They've found a way to support a cause they believe in and ensure free drinks for life.

(via BoingBoing)

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