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.