You've probably heard that an old pub called The Hobbit in Southampton is under threat from the film company that controls the licensing for the Tolkien canon. After a public outcry, the company agreed to sell the pub a license to go on using the name it has had for decades. Stephen Fry and Ian McKellan -- who are both in the Hobbit movie (Fry is in NZ right now, shooting) -- decided that this was stupid, so they've paid the license fee themselves.
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."
...Sir Ian, who plays Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings films, described the film company's actions as "unnecessary pettiness" and Fry said it was "self-defeating bullying".
Hobbit pub copyright row: Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen to pay licence (via Techdirt)
Update: Simon Phipps writes, "The Hobbit is one of my locals, and I thought you'd like some background. I wrote about the case here. While the pub has existed for a long time, The Hobbit started opportunistically abusing their movie-related paraphernalia a while back and has been trading on it for years without seeking permission - presumably because someone there knew they'd never get it. They could have commissioned their own artwork but they didn't. Far from it being a case of a bully acting improperly, I think actually Zaentz acted uncharacteristically well here. This wasn't about the pub calling itself 'The Hobbit' primarily, it was about ripping off movie stills and using them for advertising. They challenged that abuse and then offered an amazingly easy settlement. Meanwhile, instead of any sign of a mea culpa, some people have been wildly slandering Zaentz. Given how much the law sucks and is being weaponised, I think we should be encouraging previously abusive companies like Zaentz to act this generously in future."
Back in 2017, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved the most controversial standard in its long history: Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME, which enabled Netflix and other big media companies to use DRM despite changes to browsers extensions that eliminated the kinds of deep hooks that DRM requires.
If you ever find yourself time-traveling to 1975 and need to impersonate a Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride-operator, we've got you covered: just remember that in 1975, food and drinks were absolutely not allowed past the main gate, and that E-tickets should be torn in half and placed in the ticket box. (Thanks, Changa!)
Randy Lubin (previously) writes, "New work is entering the public domain and Mike Masnick and I are hosting a game jam to celebrate. Designers have all of January to design analog and digital games about, inspired by, or remixing works from 1924. We have amazing judges, great prizes, and are excited to see what you […]
From OneDrive to Slack, there are numerous ways to store files online. Because many platforms offer a certain amount of free storage, it makes sense to mix and match. However, spreading your files across multiple apps can make things very confusing. Rethink Files offers a simple solution. By connecting to all your other cloud storage […]
Winter can be a difficult time of year for golfers. Between the freezing temperatures and frequent snow showers, maintaining your handicap can seem almost impossible. When the fairways are frozen solid, the PhiGolf simulator lets you practice at home. This device captures every nuance of your swing to provide virtual coaching. Better still, you can […]
Photoshop is one of the most widely used photo editing tools out there, to the point that it’s the default program designers think of whenever they need work done. Small wonder, too: The flagship software in Adobe’s creative suite is very powerful — if you know how to use it. There is a lot to […]