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Skyrim Mod Nuked in Nick of Time, Warner-Licensed LOTR Games Rescued from Quality Hazard

brave new texts

brave new texts

War in the North is a great game if you have the episodic memory of a lobotomized squirrel.

Warner sez:

“The release of MERP into the marketplace will likely result in customer confusion and cannibalization with respect to such legitimately licensed LOTR/Hobbit games and will detract from the value proposition bargained and paid for by legitimate licensees of the LOTR/Hobbit properties.

Furthermore, projects and games like MERP will diminish and erode Warner Bros.’ ability to manage and protect the brand, reputation and quality of the LOTR/Hobbit properties that it has invested significant resources to cultivate over the years.”

I didn’t remove the extra quotes around this blockquote because between humans and IP lawyers, we need all the distance we can get.

The modders have a petition up which you should sign—won’t be of any practical use, I reckon, except for that warm glow of having done at least something, as a kind of advance payment on the far-future bonfires of Intellectual Property regulations.

Also, I’m pretty sure our valiant modders’ll be heading straight into nowhere with their attempt to claim a “fair use” exemption for “transformative work.” First of all, “transformative” is quite a stretch when your declared goal is “to be faithful to Tolkien.” After all, the content industry shells out big bucks by the tanker truck to various license holders precisely because they want to bulldoze faithfully transform a preexisting work into a mangled mess of projectile vomit movies and games.

Moreover, even if the Skyrim modders managed to outsmart the lawyers from Warner Bros., though this will never, never happen, nothing is gained—they will only face further rows of lawyers from the Tolkien Estate, and the Tolkien Estate, like practically all “estates” from famous dead writers, is crazier than Tom Bombadil on meth and as tight as a line of snare drums in an Uruk-hai drum and bugle corps.

A representative from the Tolkien Estate

A representative from the Tolkien Estate

Good luck with that.

Negotiating with Warner didn’t work in the first place because you need at least some position of power to negotiate, and this power will come from numbers, not magically appear from accommodating and buying popcorn. The digital is real, the culture war in full swing, and we have to fight IP and its minions wherever they rear their hideous heads to spit legalese fire while hoarding our cultural heritage.

(For further reference, I urgently recommend watching these TED Talks by Clay Shirky and Larry Lessig.)

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