Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tolkien estate bans reference to 'hobbits'
It was, perhaps, inevitable that Homo floresiensis, the one-metre-tall species of primitive human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores, would come to be widely known as "hobbits". After all, like JRR Tolkien's creation, they were "a little people, about half our height". But a New Zealand scientist planning an event about the species has been banned from describing the ancient people as "hobbits" by representatives of the Tolkien estate.
Brent Alloway, associate professor at Victoria University, is planning a free lecture next month at which two of the archaeologists involved in the discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003, Mike Morwood and Thomas Sutikna, will speak about the species. The talk is planned to coincide with the premiere of The Hobbit film, and Dr Alloway had planned to call the lecture "The Other Hobbit", as Homo floresiensis is commonly known.
But when he approached the Saul Zaentz Company/Middle-earth Enterprises, which owns certain rights in The Hobbit, he was told by their lawyer that "it is not possible for our client to allow generic use of the trade mark HOBBIT".
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