Middle-earth Enterprises sends cease-and-desist letter to LOTRO rogue server project

'Honestly, it breaks our hearts to post letters like this one' the company says

    
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Some Lord of the Rings Online players may have been aware of an unofficial rogue server project that was set to release this month called Echoes of Angmar. Aiming to create a true vanilla version of LOTRO, trait lines and map-less Old Forest and all, the server ran the real risk of drawing legal ire down on its head because of the unlicensed use of a very much still-operating and still-in-development MMO.

And in fact, the Echoes of Angmar’s team received a cease-and-desist letter from Middle-earth Enterprises today demanding the cessation of all work and operation: “It is thus with a heavy heart that we must ask that you immediately cease all of your unauthorized use of Echoes of Angmar, and all other Tolkien-related IP on all platforms.”

We should note that this may be one of the nicest C&D letters we’ve ever seen, saying, “We’re here to acknowledge your enthusiasm, and thank you for your fandom […] Honestly, it breaks our hearts to post letters like this one.”

While participants in the emulator’s Discord are being understandably combative, the rogue server doesn’t seem fazed and hasn’t issued a statement.

You can read the full letter – as posted by SSG on the LOTRO forums, presumably out of contractual fealty – below:

Dear Echoes of Angmar team,

We have noted the Echoes of Angmar game that you have posted and we appreciate and share your enthusiasm for the Tolkien works, and specifically for the developers and creators of the epic MMO, The Lord of the Rings Online. Judging from your website and Discord, you are individuals who possess a boundless enthusiasm for LOTRO, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. We’re here to acknowledge your enthusiasm, and thank you for your fandom. Unfortunately, we, as trademark holders and stewards of the Tolkien works, more often than we’d like, must deliver some potentially difficult news. As your business is using the Tolkien works and trademarks in an unauthorized manner without benefit of a license, we must ask you to cease.

As stewards of the Tolkien works, we take our role very seriously in order to protect the works for all time, on behalf of fans everywhere. As owners of the intellectual property rights, we are charged with protecting those rights both morally and legally. Unfortunately, Echoes of Angmar uses specific content from the books and from our Licensee for The Lord of the Rings Online without the benefit of a license. Honestly, it breaks our hearts to post letters like this one. It is not uncommon for fans to create things reflecting an affection for the Tolkien works. It is thus with a heavy heart that we must ask that you immediately cease all of your unauthorized use of Echoes of Angmar, and all other Tolkien-related IP on all platforms, including Discord, Youtube and on https://www.echoesofangmar.com/.

We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have on the subject, and wish you all the best in your future duly authorized endeavors.

Kind regards,

Middle-earth Enterprises

Source: LOTRO
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