Skyrim ‘Middle Earth’ Mod Hit With Cease & Desist from Warner Bros.

A mod endeavoring to turn The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim into The Lord of the Rings‘ Middle Earth has been hit with a cease and desist order from Warner Bros., surprising no one.

The mod, known as the Middle Earth Roleplay Project, was a pretty ambitious one. It would have allowed players to take on the role of Frodo and carry the ring throughout the entire LotR storyline, and intended to make the world about nine times bigger than what’s currently in Skyrim. That’s, uh…that’s insane.

However, unfortunately, it was probably only a matter of time until Warner Bros. made a move to protect its LotR licenses. The company has been churning out Lord of the Rings titles for quite a while now, and there’s a whole copyright risk for it to allow mods such as this one to exist. It sounds like a big corporation dropping the hammer on modders just looking to have a good time, but in copyright law, if Warner didn’t send a C&D, the next time it goes to court with a real copyright claim, a case could be made against it that it didn’t give a crap enough to protect its copyright in the past.

Anyway, the sad part is, that means the MERP is effectively dead — and this is a project that originally started on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and was ported to Skyrim. And that means that the C&D kills about eight years of work.

According to a post on the Bethesda forums, that doesn’t mean its team will stop modding Skyrim, however. Hopefully something equally ambitious, but not already copyrighted, will be the result.

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7 Comments on Skyrim ‘Middle Earth’ Mod Hit With Cease & Desist from Warner Bros.

SweetPea

On September 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Wow, that sucks.

T Wal

On September 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

This sounds like it had the potential to be one of the few good Lord of the Rings games.

Axetwin

On September 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Anyone else remember a Quake 3 mod known as Bid for Power? It was a DBZ themed full conversion mod that the guys spent years working on only to be hit with a C&D letter from Funimation months before its release. The mod did see release with small changes and under a different team of developers that had been working on it in secret.

Point is, this LotR mod WILL see release. If there’s one thing we can count on the gaming community for its for them to say “Challenge Accepted” when theyre told they cant do something. Mark my words, this isnt the end of this mod. They might change the names of the characters and it might rely on word of mouth to advertise its release because of its secrecy.

quicktooth

On September 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

Guys- just send it out over the interwebs (torrents?), and claim some kind of leak. Why the hell not. You don’t need an “official” launch, and we can all enjoy your fine work. Stupic copyright crap.

quicktooth

On September 4, 2012 at 6:42 am

You know; I’d but Skyrim to play this mod. I know at least one parent bought Quake 3 for their kid to play Bid For Power back in the day…

SweetPea

On September 4, 2012 at 6:45 am

@Axetwin
Well, they said they could change the name of the characters, places, but it wouldn’t feel like LotR anymore.
Plus they stopped working on it and “hiding in anonymity wouldn’t work because due to the great ambitions MERP needs publicity to sustain the life force of the team.”

Chad Meadows

On September 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Good God, they just need to change the name of the damn thing, then problem solved. Also warner bros, nobody plays their LOTR games to begin with.