Tolkien lawyers threaten 'Age of the Hobbits' film with legal action

BIV

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Tolkien lawyers threaten 'Age of the Hobbits' film with legal action

Which one would you rather see?


Over the summer, it was reported that a low-budget studio, The Aslyum, had been preparing to film a movie titled 'Age of the Hobbits,' which would be released straight to DVD on December 11, a few days before Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' hit theaters. Now the Hollywood Reporter has discovered that lawyers associated with Warner Bros. and The Zaentz Co. (who own many of the Tolkien and Hobbit trademarks) are threatening the studio with legal action.

The Asylum has a known history of making cheap, obvious knock-offs or 'mockbusters' in an effort to make a quick buck off larger franchises. And this is hardly the first time they've dealt with legal action. The main issue here, it seems, is determining who owns the word 'Hobbit' in this context. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
The word 'Hobbits' has referred only to Bilbo Baggins and his bretheren since the Tolkien novel was first published in 1937, right? Not so, argues Asylum, whose lawyers have told New Line that the word is fair game because the Hobbits featured in Age of the Hobbits refer instead to an early hominid species.​
A spokesperson for The Asylum stated:
Age of the Hobbits is about the real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia which have been uniformly referred to as 'Hobbits' in the scientific community. As such, the use of the term 'Hobbits' is protected under the legal doctrines of nominal and traditional fair use. Indeed, a simple Google search of Hobbits and archaeology reveals dozens of articles containing the term 'Hobbit(s)' in the title.​
Here's the official description of the 'Age of the Hobbits' film:
In an ancient age, the small, peace-loving Hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders. The young Hobbit Goben must join forces with their neighbor giants, the humans, to free his people and vanquish their enemies.​
The Asylum spokesperson went on to say the studio had already taken steps to avoid confusion:
Age of the Hobbits is not about the creatures in Tolkien's novels. Indeed, the artwork contains a disclaimer immediately below the title to that effect.​
What do Tolkien fans think? Is a disclaimer enough to distinguish the films or should the low-budget film be forced to change its title? Is The Asylum's release date a clue that this is just another attempt to con a few Hobbit fans?
http://www.examiner.com/article/tol...ith-legal-action?cid=PROD-redesign-right-next
 

Neon

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Asylum might have a case here if they are correct and it is referred to as such by the scientific community...
 

d0uche_n0zzle

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#4
I'm sure cooler heads will prevail once the clown car of lawyers shows up.
 

LiddyRules

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I can't decide if "They're Not Tolkien's Hobbits...They're Real" is the best tagline ever or the worst.
 

NuttyJim

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black hobbits :haha7:
 

Falldog

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I like that their legal defense is as stupid as the movie.
 

LiddyRules

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InnerEarth?

(Combination of Inner City and MiddleEarth)
 

Stormrider666

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Lord of the Bling: The Fellowship of the Bling
Lord of the Bling: The Two Projects
Lord of the Bling: Return of the Baby's Daddy.
 

LiddyRules

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Gandalf The White...Shadow
 

LiddyRules

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Galadriel be needing herself a fine plump ass.
 

LiddyRules

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Hip-hop version of Over the Misty Mountain Cold, with mid-song rap by Rihanna
 

Neon

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The Mirror of Galadriel shows things that are, things that were, and some things that have not yet come to pass, but in portrait mode.

Middle Earth Star Hip Hop!
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#23
We must face the long dark of Martin Luther King Junior Blvd.