MERP TC has received a C&D letter from WB. Keep an eye out for news.

Posted by Epoch_MEB on Aug 31st, 2012

Middle Earth Role-Playing TC for Skyrim has received a cease and desist letter from Warner Bros. Enterprises. Development has halted in compliance with this but all is not over...
We have a lawyer from the Organisation for Transformative Works (OTW) on our side, currently aiding us in our appeal for being a transformative piece...

We also need our fans to support us too, use the twitter hashtag #SaveMERP to inform everyone; friends, celebrities and journalists of our situation. As many of you will ahve seen we have caused quite the stir on almost every gaming forum around so If we can show WB how many people are behind our mod we may be able to sway them in our negotiations.
There is now also a twitter feed at the side of this moddb page following MiddleEarthsBane and AlasdairHurst. You can also show your support by liking and sharing these pages and posts on Facebook!:
Facebook.com -Save MERP
Facebook.com - Official MERP Page

Stay hopeful, and most of all keep checking on our moddb page,our facebook and our bethblog thread for more news as it happens. Also Twitter. @middleearthbane or @alasdairhurst

"There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for!"
-Samwise Gamgee

Sign our petition, and get MERP back in development! Gopetition.com

Post comment Comments  (50 - 100 of 120)
Kyle07
Kyle07 Sep 1 2012, 7:04am says:

I hope WB will lose this battle

+10 votes     reply to comment
Mackey18
Mackey18 Sep 2 2012, 8:50am replied:

If it becomes a battle WB will win. What we want is them to turn away from the battle before it begins.

+3 votes     reply to comment
finfunxxx
finfunxxx Sep 1 2012, 8:13am says:

You carry the fate of us all, little one.

+7 votes     reply to comment
Zapp90
Zapp90 Sep 1 2012, 8:46am says:

Ok, so with the same logic I can draw some fan-art of the Lord of the Rings characters, say a picture of Legolas, put it up on deviantart and then Warner Bros can contact me and demand me to remove it.

Totally with the same logic. There's seriously no difference except what medium I do my fan art in.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Sep 1 2012, 5:13pm replied:

Actually, if you read the copyright law, there is a difference. The law has several complex factors.

+3 votes     reply to comment
exigopro
exigopro Sep 1 2012, 8:50am says:

This is like Lord Of The Rings all over again, with this project being Frodo and Sam and WB being Sauron XD
And we all know who won that battle eh? :)

+9 votes     reply to comment
Mav474
Mav474 Sep 1 2012, 9:08am says:

Facebook.com GO LIKE AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Stormraven40
Stormraven40 Sep 1 2012, 9:08am says:

Third Age Total War was okay but this isn't? Mother *******

+8 votes     reply to comment
Hannarr
Hannarr Sep 1 2012, 9:28am says:

Maybe Warner Brothers is on their Period.

+10 votes     reply to comment
Anglachel
Anglachel Sep 1 2012, 5:18pm replied:

Bloody Warner Brothers ;P

+5 votes     reply to comment
leo11048811
leo11048811 Sep 1 2012, 9:32am says:

A Google petition, like for the ACTA would be a good idea, no?
You can only win! "All volunteer!"

PS: You will interest a lot of people with this mod, they will have to buy skyrim for it... you could ask them!
And Mojang seems to love taking part of the small games studios, maybe mod?!

+7 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Sep 1 2012, 10:05pm replied:

Unlike the ACTA, which violated rights, constitutions, and was generally wrong and ineffective in its determined purpose, this is a case where the letter of the law is being debated between two groups. We would never get the support of Wikipedia or other such colossal groups.

+1 vote     reply to comment
RandomZombi3
RandomZombi3 Sep 2 2012, 3:42am replied:

This may be a dumb question... But does Bethesda have any say in the matter at all? You're using their game after-all. If THEY could be convinced to back you in anyway, would it change anything?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Sep 2 2012, 3:45am replied:

It may. Or it may just get them sued :P . It doesn't matter; this situation would be a business hot-potato. They would never touch it and I can hardly blame them.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Swapper
Swapper Sep 1 2012, 11:25am says:

Hold your ground!! Hold your ground!
"Fans of Skyrim , Fans of LOTR, My Brothers!
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me!
A day will come when the courage of Fans and Modders will fail, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of friendship, but it's not this day. An hour of Copyrights and Corrupt companies, with the Age of Mods comes crashing down, but it's not this day! This day we fight!!! By all that hold dear on this good Mod, I bid you to stand, Men of the MERP!!!!!!!"

+17 votes     reply to comment
Anglachel
Anglachel Sep 1 2012, 5:37pm replied:

Theoden: "Arise!! Arise, supporters of MERP! Companies shall be shaken, WB shall be splintered! A fair use day, A red day! Ere the sun rises!! Mod now! Mod now! Mod; Mod to ruin and WB's ending!!
MEEERRRPPP!!!"
Rohirrim: "MEEERRRP!!!!"
Theoden: "MEEEERRRRP!!!!"
Rohirrim: "MEEERRRP!!!"
Theoden: "MEEEEEERRRRP!!!"
Rohirrim + Merry + Eowyn: "MEEEEEEEEERRRP!!"
Theoden: "Forth Eorlingas!!"
Tinyurl.com

@swapper
Sorry for stealing your idea, but I thought it fitting :)

+4 votes     reply to comment
a_coathanger
a_coathanger Sep 1 2012, 11:33am says:

Post an email we can all write letters too to convince them in a nice way that shutting mods down is bad for buisness.

+7 votes     reply to comment
방탄_수도사
방탄_수도사 Sep 1 2012, 1:15pm says:

just call everything slightly different :P Rings of the lords for example :P you guys could be real ******** about it and just answer everything with O **** thats a coincidence, failing that send all work to be published (uploaded for public consumption) by a chinese member over a chinese server, because lets face it China does not give a **** about other countries 'laws' ^^ there are ways around this, I know you wanted to be 100% accurate as far as you COULD BE but... slight changes mean they have nothing.

Simply change your accounts, upload form internet cafe's that would be funny or do that once its done to multiple places.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MedicOnDuty
MedicOnDuty Sep 1 2012, 2:26pm says:

I saw this and I thought, "Why are these guys getting a C&D letter when they aren't profiting off the mod?" Then I realized that was why WB filed it: because they couldn't make any money off this through royalties, etc. if it was free. Sad, but true.

I hope this all works out well for you guys and you get this straightened out. I would be very sad if this project gets killed because of a greedy publisher.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Tal-Elmar
Tal-Elmar Sep 1 2012, 3:07pm says:

We stand behind you!

HOLD THE LINE

+3 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Sep 1 2012, 3:55pm says:

i'm just slightly concerned that it took you guys a while to share the letter with the rest of us...

anyways, I could ask the maker of skyrim mods weekly to talk about merp:D

+3 votes     reply to comment
Epoch_MEB Author
Epoch_MEB Sep 1 2012, 5:21pm replied:

Anything to gain exposure is awesome! Please tell everyone you can.

+3 votes   reply to comment
Baryonyx
Baryonyx Sep 1 2012, 4:59pm says:

Well I'm not doing buisness with warner bros, that's for certain. They can shove their overprice, low grade crap where the sun don't shine.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Headhunter128
Headhunter128 Sep 1 2012, 6:52pm says:

Ack! Those greedy bastards!

Just because REAL Tolkien fans know how to make REAL quality entertainment...

+5 votes     reply to comment
MeatbagWammo
MeatbagWammo Sep 1 2012, 8:53pm says:

If I was in your guys' situation, I would make sure that you stressed a few things:
1. MERP is a MOD.
2. MERP is NOT going to be sold
3. All of the assets being used are made by YOU, or came with Skyrim.
4. The mod is being called "Middle Earth Roleplay Project," not "Lord of the Rings: Skyrim," so it will rarely conflict with anything produced by WB, unless they decided to name their next game "Middle Earth" or something like that.

I'm pretty sure mods would be covered under the Fair Use Act as long as you use assets created by you. I've been following the MERP for a few years now and I haven't seen anything that you didn't make. Just try to keep a level head and make sure they understand what you guys are trying to do.

I think that this might be a case where the lawyers have nothing to do, and they "conveniently" stumbled upon something that might infringe on WB's copyrights. I almost consider lawyers separate from the company they work for. They're probably doing this just to keep there jobs.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Sep 1 2012, 10:04pm replied:

Lawyers can do a lot of underhanded things, but if they want to stay lawyers for long, they can't lie in legal notifications and negotiations. So they have a case, how strong is to be determined.

And yes, the lawyers are almost certainly separate. They likely work for a law firm whose client is WB.

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Sep 2 2012, 3:58am replied:

Layers lie all the time:) jk but usally to win a case a layer has to be baised and has to somehow stamp that same thinking process on everyone else.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MeatbagWammo
MeatbagWammo Sep 3 2012, 2:38pm replied:

Yeah, your right. I wasn't trying to say that they were making up stuff, or that they were doing it because their jobs were on the line.
(I just noticed how much it sounded like I was.)

I remember how much people where bashing on Bethesda when their lawyers filed copyright infringement against Mojang for Scrolls. So I wanted to make sure that people shouldn't boycott WB because their lawyers are aggressive.

I admit that I probably wasn't thinking straight and was a little angry, and that I probably should have put some more thought into that comment.

But like I said, you just need to stress that you are doing it with your own assets and that you don't aim to get money from it. You could maybe offer to change the name of the project if they try to get you for infringing the copyright of one of their games/products.

+1 vote     reply to comment
UltraElectroMagnetic
UltraElectroMagnetic Sep 2 2012, 4:38am says:

Sigh...I really hate Capitalism sometimes.

+9 votes     reply to comment
Shirby
Shirby Sep 2 2012, 5:52am says:

Hmm, maybe you should ask bethesda what they think about the mod? so you could get some serious big support from them if they like your mod? Just a suggestion ^^ might be worth the try hmm? :3

+3 votes     reply to comment
davidt0504
davidt0504 Sep 2 2012, 9:53am says:

Can I ask a question about the legality of this? Does WB own the rights to the Lord of the Rings lore? Can't you go the route of saying your making it based on the books and not the movies?

+4 votes     reply to comment
Macrobius
Macrobius Sep 2 2012, 10:32am says:

You're not making any profit off of the mod's development, nor do you plan on making something that will earn profit for anyone after it's made. It's a god damn mod. How is this illegal or in violation of Warner Bros' terms?

Shame on you, Warner Bros.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Doyle_138
Doyle_138 Sep 2 2012, 12:02pm says:

This is just stupid of WB. I really hope they get many bad PR about this.

+2 votes     reply to comment
abhmul
abhmul Sep 2 2012, 1:18pm says:

As I understand it, a Cease & Desist letter is just a threat of legal action. Any lawyer can draft one up, and they are often sent by large corporations to scare smaller organizations. If it was drawn up by a judge, that's a C & S order, which is an actual legal order. I sincerely doubt it's the C & S order, as that costs time & money to get one drawn up by a judge, and you need a fairly strong legal case. That, and C & S letters are sent out by corporations like coupons. It's basically a formal threat.

If the project continues, it is likely WB would send out more threats, but to make an actual legal case, they would need to prove that this project would cost them money by hurting a project that is currently in development. Otherwise, it is simply a not-for-profit fan mod.

It is truly a shame that in today's world good people are bossed around by aristocratic large corporations who care only about money.

+1 vote     reply to comment
abhmul
abhmul Sep 2 2012, 1:43pm says:

You guys should probably consult a lawyer and get his opinion on this and see if this mess can be sorted out. I'm thinking you guys should be able to continue you're work but just be more careful about it; however, I am no expert on legal matters. Personally, if I were you(and this applies to future projects as well), I would wait to give out any news until the release in order to avoid any more of these situations and to actually get the mod on the internet so that if the mod on moddb gets taken down it'll still be elsewhere on the internet and you're legacy will live on.

I love you guys and you're work and I hope that this project will get the attention it deserves!

And sorry about the double post it wouldn't let me edit.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Talic
Talic Sep 2 2012, 2:16pm says:

Full Ringbearer storyline

That is the reason why C&D letter arrived, I am 90% sure of that.
Basicly it means you are recreating the events of the book/movie and Warner Bros holds rights to show those events of the movies. Obviously this mod has some scenes that appear both book and movies. Places and items look same as in the movies too.

Send message to them that you are ready to discuss and change plans so that you still can make MERP happen. Most of us want to see after all LOTR world in skyrim and maybe even get Sauron back in physical form via ring (which means killing Frodo :V).

If I remember right, Third Age group also either got contacted by some C&D letter or they asked themselves Warner/Peter Jackson/Other groups and/or their lawyers about usage of story/music/things etc. You could ask help from them too.

+2 votes     reply to comment
GoodSmurfin
GoodSmurfin Sep 2 2012, 2:24pm says:

Warner Bros. man, why do you gotta be so damn difficult?!

+3 votes     reply to comment
abhmul
abhmul Sep 2 2012, 2:27pm says:

I did a little more digging using my trusty friend Wikipedia and found some things the MERP team could do. I'm guessing if you went to a lawyer this is what he would tell you. According to Wikipedia,

"In the US, a recipient of a cease-and-desist letter who is placed in a "reasonable apprehension" of litigation may respond through a request for declaratory judgment proceeding in his own jurisdiction".

+2 votes     reply to comment
abhmul
abhmul Sep 2 2012, 2:30pm says:

and how it can be used to respond to a Cease & Desist,

"The filing of a declaratory judgment lawsuit can follow one party sending a cease-and-desist letter to another.[6] A party contemplating sending such a letter risks that the recipient, or a party related to the recipient (such as a customer or supplier), may file for a declaratory judgment in their own jurisdiction.[7] This may require the sender to appear in a distant court, at their own expense. So sending a cease-and-desist letter presents a dilemma to the sender, as it would be desirable to be able to address the issues at hand in a candid manner without the need for litigation. Upon receiving a cease-and-desist letter, the recipient may seek a tactical advantage by instituting declaratory-judgment litigation in a more favorable jurisdiction.[8]
Sometimes the parties agree in advance of discussions that no declaratory-judgment lawsuit will be filed while the negotiations are continuing. Sometimes a lawsuit is filed, but not served, before sending such a notice, to preserve a jurisdiction advantage without engaging the judicial process fully. Some parties send cease-and-desist letters that make "an oblique suggestion of possible infringement" to lower the risk of the recipient filing a declaratory-judgment lawsuit.[9]"

I don't think WB will repeal this letter so you're only course of action to keep this project alive will probably be through the legal system.

Here are the links to the Wikipedia articles for Cease and Desist and Declaratory Judgement:

Never mind it wouldn't let me post them so go to Wikipedia Cease and Desist and Declaratory Judgement

+1 vote     reply to comment
BurningSky93
BurningSky93 Sep 2 2012, 5:28pm says:

I reckon this is because of the upcoming release of the "The Hobbit" films, which will probably have video game tie-ins.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Dangerdane111
Dangerdane111 Sep 3 2012, 4:09am says:

Good Mods deserve to live so heres to voting in your favour... You Have My Vote! ;)

+2 votes     reply to comment
mindero
mindero Sep 3 2012, 10:18am says:

Sons of Skyrim! Of MODDB! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me!
A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
An hour of corps and Warner Bros when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the Net!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Aramateli_dev
Aramateli_dev Sep 3 2012, 12:55pm replied:

TODAY WE SHAL FIGHT AGANIST OPRESSION!

+1 vote     reply to comment
방탄_수도사
방탄_수도사 Sep 3 2012, 11:36pm replied:

Someone already said they hate Capitalism :P

+3 votes     reply to comment
Aramateli_dev
Aramateli_dev Sep 3 2012, 12:54pm says:

In my opinion,I think you should contact bestheda softworks, and see what they have to say about this porject, if they agree, WB will have a bad time winning a law batle aganist you, so you should contact bestheda, and ask for support. Cheers, and I will try to spread the word in Portugal, and may we see on the plains of rohan riding aganist orcs ;)

+2 votes     reply to comment
abhmul
abhmul Sep 3 2012, 1:19pm says:

Has the MERP team decided to take any action whatsoever?

+3 votes     reply to comment
Nuhallis
Nuhallis Sep 3 2012, 8:25pm says:

ummm
On what Ground Do Warner Bros have to demand this. thought they only have authority over the movies..

+1 vote     reply to comment
THEWULFMAN
THEWULFMAN Sep 3 2012, 9:02pm says:

I'm very sorry to hear this guys, more so as a modder and less so as a fan. Not that I'm not a fan, it's just as a modder I know how painful this must be for you guys. I'll spread the word a bit myself, and good luck.

I hate corporations. Which is why I refuse to work for one. I'm starting an indie developing company so I don't have to be a part of the machine that Warner Bros resides in.

+3 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Sep 7 2012, 7:27pm replied:

Bethesda and Ubisoft are still okay.

+1 vote     reply to comment
noliver3
noliver3 Sep 4 2012, 3:42pm says:

What does warner bros base this C&D letter on? Isn't what you are doing perfectly legal? It's not like you're infringing copyright or something. They can't order you to stop your project.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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