Producers behind the impending Hobbit trilogy are suing the makers of a low-budget movie Age of the Hobbit for copyright infringement.
The group behind the hugely expensive Peter Jackson-directed epics want to stop Global Asylum from using the word “hobbits” branding the film “knock-off” and have called for all marketing material infringing copyright to be destroyed.
Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, MGM and The Hobbit producer Saul Zaentz have filed the suit according to The Hollywood Reporter which has published a copy of the legal papers.
Their complaint is that Global Asylum is "free-riding" on the worldwide promotional campaign for the forthcoming Hobbit films.
Global Asylum is known for making “mockbusters” and the release date for Age of the Hobbit is three days prior to that of the first Jackson movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The Hobbit studios threated Asylum with legal action three weeks ago.
"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," a rep for The Asylum told The Hollywood Reporter.
"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."
A synopsis of Age of the Hobbits suggests the story is quite different from that of the J.R.R Tolkein prelude to his Lord of The Rings series.