I've been busy doing a great many things this month. However, one thing has been brought my my attention last week. I belong to a special network for people who love Tolkien and general fantasy related things - The Middle Earth Network - and they have brought up the issue of the Saul Zaentz company and their over-zealous application of trademarks.
The Zaentz company have a number of trademarks related to Tolkien's Middle Earth but lately they have been attacking small businesses for using words that they have a trademark on. They use this trademark to sue anyone who uses the word. They have many trademarks already related to Tolkien beloved fantasy world myth. The founders of the Middle Earth Network and I believe that it is greed that fuels what they do, buying up anything related to Tolkien's world, ahead of fans of his work and even ahead of his surviving family.
Here is an eloquent note from the founders of The Middle Earth Network. It sets the stage for what is happening and the importance of this issue.
They have now moved to try and trademark the word "shire" and the Middle Earth Network is trying to raise awareness about the issue. This is a common English word with roots back in ancient times. Its ridiculous on its face that such a thing can be trademarked and used to bash other businesses who already used the name over the head in court.We feel that the SZC is over-reaching and acting out of greed, plain and simple. TMN has launched a new campaign called Save The Shire. Three small businesses are currently under attack from them but will it stop there?
To find out specific details of the issues please go directly to the site STS here. It is also at this site that you can get involved to let the SZC know that what they are doing is unethical and abuses the spirit of Tolkien's beautiful work. if you are a fan of Tolkien's work or even if you aren't but you are offended over corporate greed tactics. Tolkien certainly would not approve of what they are doing.
Here are some things you can do: go to "Save The Shire:
1. Get the word out via blog, email, Facebook, stumble upon, twitter, Pinterest whatever means you have.
2. donate. a donation system for this campaign will be in place soon at the Save the shire site.