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Stephen Fry defends 'The Hobbit' pub from film industry "bullying"

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A Tolkein-inspired pub in Southampton, England has been issued with a cease-and-desist order by the US owners of the rights to the franchise.

Lawyers representing California-based Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) have accused the pub of copyright infringement for operating under the name 'The Hobbit' as well as naming a number of their cocktails after characters from the popular series.

Stephen Fry

© Rex Features / Jonathan Hordle

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

© Warner Bros.



Stephen Fry, who will appear in the adaptation of The Hobbit, has since defended the pub owners after being made aware of a Facebook campaign set up to protect the pub.

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The actor tweeted: "Honestly, @savethehobbit, sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying."

The campaign has since gained more than 14,000 followers.

Landlady of 'The Hobbit' Stella Roberts told BBC News: "We were absolutely stunned. It was completely unexpected - we never intended to infringe anyone's copyright.

"The pub has been called 'The Hobbit' for more than 20 years and it has never been a problem."

Roberts has been given until May to remove all references to the fantasy series or face expensive court action.

Watch The Hobbit trailer below:

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