The Hobbit Pub

The Hobbit has been trading with the same name for more than two decades

Stephen Fry has confirmed he and Sir Ian McKellen will pay a copyright licence fee so a Southampton pub can carry on trading as The Hobbit.

The pub was threatened with legal action by Hollywood film firm the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) which accused it of copyright infringement.

It later offered to resolve the dispute over the pub’s name and decor by licensing it to use JRR Tolkien brands.


Landlady Stella Roberts said she had been shocked by the actors’ offer.

She said: “I had a telephone call on Saturday evening, while we were trading, from Stephen Fry’s business partner and manager. That’s when he told me.”

“I was very shocked. “They’ve said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub.”


However Ms Roberts said she was not celebrating just yet. She added: “Until everything is in black and white, on paper, we’re going to be a bit reserved because it could be $100 this year and $20,000 next year.”


“They have said to us they will offer us a licence to trade, but we don’t know whether it means trading as The Hobbit, whether we still have to get rid of all our artwork, cocktail names, everything. We just don’t know what’s entailed.”


Actor and presenter Fry, who is in New Zealand working on the forthcoming film The Hobbit, posted on Twitter: “Ian McKellen and I are pleased that The Hobbit pub appears to be safe.


“Between his FB and my tweet I hope we helped common sense prevail.”

His agent Hamilton Hodell confirmed that Fry and Sir Ian had agreed to pay the fee for the pub’s copyright settlement with SZC.


Source BBC