October 31, 2012
"Hobbits" By Any Other Name Are Still "Hobbits"
In 2003, archaeologists discovered a "one-metre-tall species of primitive human . . . on the Indonesian island of Flores." Because of their small stature, many people began referring to these humans as "hobbits," based upon the characters from JRR Tolkien's literary works. Now, the estate of the late author has prohibited a New Zealand scientist from using the term "hobbit" in a presentation on the subject. From the information about the presentation, it is clear that the scientist, Brent Alloway, did reference JRR Tolkien's work. The presentation itselt was scheduled "to coincide with the premiere of 'The Hobbit'" and he planned to call the presentation "The Other Hobbit."
The lawyer that represents the Tolkien Estate told Mr. Alloway that he could not use the term Hobbit in his title. Mr. Alloway stated that he was disappointed by the denial and somewhat confused because of its general use throughout scientific literature. Nonetheless, Mr. Alloway has changed the name of this program to "A newly discovered species of Little People - unraveling the legend behind Homo floresiensis."
See Alison Flood, Tolkien Estate Bans Reference to 'Hobbits', The Sydney Morning Herald, Oct. 31, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
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