Themes
Report article RSS Feed MERP Campaign

A news post containing a campaign letter to send to WB about the MERP C&D.

Posted by Epoch_MEB on Jun 15th, 2013

MERP Fans, we call for your support one final time. A last concerted effort to raise awareness and combat the C&D sent by Warner Bros.

We are planning a concentrated letter campaign to show WB just how many people care, so we have written up a legally-informed letter that everyone who cares can print out, write out by hand or email to Warner Brothers and pressure them into at least picking up negotiations with us.
Bear in mind that a hand-written letter is worth a thousand emails. They are not simply ignorable, at least someone has to open the envelope and read the first line, rather than blocking the subject.

Our Letter:

MM/DD/YYYY

Dear Warner Bros,

This letter is in reference to the C&D (Cease and Desist) that was sent to the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Project) modification for Skyrim by Warner Bros (WB) Entertainment.

In case you are unaware what MERP is, MERP is a non-profit, total conversion modification of Bethesda Softworks' single-player PC game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, created by fans of Tolkien's works. It was a project that was set to create Middle Earth, from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, in an open-world Roleplaying aspect. MERP has been around since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and just recently moved its resources to the Skyrim engine. It was a massive undertaking that was years in the making, worked on by dozens of individuals over the years.

I am writing to say that I am very displeased that WB has chosen to shut down this great project. For such a project that seeks no economic gain of any kind, with years of people's lives poured into it, to be given a C&D seems incredibly unfair. This is a project that in no way seeks competition with Warner Bros Entertainment's game department, nor their rights to make games based off of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I believe it is also fair use, as the amount of copyrighted material in relation to original content that was supposed to appear in the mod would have been minimal. MERP is a project that only seeks to create an immersive RPG game experience for Tolkien fans; the game was created as a transformative work under Fair Use laws in the United States, and as the court ruled in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp, "fair use is a lawful use of copyright."

The MERP team has posted that they have asked WB to discuss this matter and work out a way for the project to go forward with continued development. While they haven't discussed with the public the state of any such discussions, since the project has not continued development, it seems clear that they feel they cannot do so because of the C&D letter, which causes a chilling effect to all fans who want to create transformative works. Even though MERP can and should be able to go forward with the project, the demand by WB makes it impossible for them to do so.

I would like to hope that if WB (along with the Tolkien Estate and Saul Zaentz Company) are not willing to rescind the C&D, they should at least give the MERP parameters that would allow them to feel comfortable to go forward with the project that they are legally entitled to move forward with under Fair Use, and if that is not possible, perhaps they are willing to grant a limited license to the MERP to use the names, characters, etc from Tolkien's mythos. They are a talented group of individuals that take Tolkien's works very seriously and would not make a work in mockery to the author.

I do hope that whoever is reading this will pass this up to Warner Brothers Entertainment's legal department. I refuse to buy any products licensed by WB until either the C&D is lifted or you at least consider making a fair deal with the MERP team.

- [Your name goes here]

By all means change the final paragraph to indicate your standing on the situation. If you feel that you'll only consider non-LotR products, then change it.
And a list of addresses... the more you can send to, the better.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Karen McTier
4001 West Olive Avenue
Burbank, California 91505
Ph: 818-954-7980

Director of Licensing
2600 Tenth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
fax. 510.486.2119
me@middleearth.com

London:
Warner House
98 Theobalds Rd, London
WC1X 8WB, UK

Burbeck:
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522, United States
+1 818-954-6000

Please share any other addresses you come across and we'll update this post.

A final note: PLEASE keep this in good taste, we do not want to offend anyone so do not add anything malicious that would give them a definitive reason to stamp us out for good.

Thank-you for your support through all this, we understand how frustrating it is not knowing what's going on. There are backup plans should this fall through that you'll hear about in good time should the day arise.

-The MERP Team

Post comment Comments  (50 - 73 of 73)
Cheebameister
Cheebameister Jun 18 2013, 7:07am says:

Done

+4 votes     reply to comment
Volumed
Volumed Jun 18 2013, 11:23am says:

This doesn't help at all... Become a pirate today! Stop whining MERP and grow some balls! There are enough third party's to help you. (Maybe you're already doing it) But this doesn't make any sense and it's a waste of your time and for everyone else, to spent more time to this criminal scum!

Is this out of love for Tolkien's work or your own attention and personal gain MERP team? If it's out of love then the decision should be easily be made!

United!

+6 votes     reply to comment
SS-Obersturmführer
SS-Obersturmführer Jun 18 2013, 1:45pm says:

This is entirely fair use. I don't even understand how they could just shut down someone's work, unless you're charging money for it.

Meh, I suppose this is the world we live in. Big companies in charge of everything and to shut something down because their jealous is laughable.

+4 votes     reply to comment
cordeirooo
cordeirooo Jun 18 2013, 9:04pm says:

A letter from Brazil is being sent!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jun 19 2013, 6:20am says:

I wrote an E-Mail from Germany...

+4 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jun 19 2013, 9:32am says:

I sent an email to the wb but I can not do more

+4 votes     reply to comment
moizzz
moizzz Jun 20 2013, 8:37pm says:

"I refuse to buy any products licensed by WB until either the C&D is lifted or you at least consider making a fair deal with the MERP team."
They wont like you making threats like that.

+3 votes     reply to comment
sagro004
sagro004 Jun 22 2013, 10:33am says:

Do you guys in MERP know about Avaaz? Avaaz.org
There you can start a petition online for anything you want to change and collect signatures. If you reach a certain amount you get help from the organization. It is very usefull! You have to try it if you haven't already!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Epoch_MEB
Epoch_MEB Jun 25 2013, 6:35pm replied:

We already have a petition.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jun 27 2013, 5:27am replied:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest Jun 22 2013, 4:29pm says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Epoch_MEB
Epoch_MEB Jun 25 2013, 6:36pm replied:

Yes, anyone who can help is a good thing.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sikaman
Sikaman Jun 22 2013, 4:35pm says:

It would be so wonderful to get one of the actors of The Trilogy on our side, Someone like Viggo Mortensen or Orlando Bloom. This hole thing might get popular, if a celebrity would support it.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Shwepps
Shwepps Jun 22 2013, 5:59pm replied:

Great idea! Though how to do that?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sikaman
Sikaman Jun 23 2013, 12:14pm says:

I think Orlando has a twitter, so why not try to bring the MERP project out there. And Viggo has an own website. There are forums, someone could do a thread there

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jun 24 2013, 7:19am says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest Jun 25 2013, 12:54am says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest Jun 25 2013, 5:31pm says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest Jun 27 2013, 9:06am says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

cordeirooo
cordeirooo Jun 28 2013, 3:15pm says:

Why 'one final time' and 'last concerted effort'? If they do nothing (as in, absolutely nothing, just stay idle), does it mean they win?

:(

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jul 2 2013, 8:50am says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

nicrlaitheking
nicrlaitheking Jul 9 2013, 4:32am says:

It was foolish of WB to base Lord of the Rings Online on the books. it is the most inaccurate game about LOTR ever made.
i think they fear MERP because they are so much better.

It's so sad that people like WB speak for Tolkien since Tolkien's wish was totally different. His idea about Middle Earth was that everyone could take part of it and expand the mythology.
The world have been waiting for a good LOTR RP game for ages. I say GIVE IT TO THEM!

these guys have my full support.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Feb 8 2014, 5:24pm says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

News
Browse
News
Report Abuse
Report article
Related Mods
Related Games
Oblivion
Oblivion Single Player Role Playing
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Single Player Role Playing
Related Groups
MERP Team
MERP Team Developer with 18 members