You might remember that we posted this hilarious mod titled ‘An Idiot In Skyrim’ — a genius concept wherein sound bites from Karl Pilkington, and an uncanny likeness, were integrated into Skyrim. It was genius. But now… it’s gone.
Apparently Karl Pilkington’s manager has sent an email to the mod’s creator demanding that the mod and all references to the mod be removed on account of copyright infringement.
The creator of the mod, Joel, got in contact with us to inform us that he had been in contact with Pilkington’s management, and directed us to this blog which explains the entire situation.
An email from a member of Karl Pilkington’s management team stated the following.
We appreciate very much the effort you have put into “An Idiot in Skyrim”; however, you must understand we have enormous sums invested in the intellectual property rights in and to the Work, and have contractual responsibilities to our investors and licensee around the world to protect same. We do not want to dampen your enthusiasm for the program, podcasts, audiobooks, or your loyalty to Karl Pilkington, but must insist that you abide by certain restrictions.
It has come to our attention that you are using clips of Karl Pilkington’s audio which incorporates elements and/or is substantially similar to our copyrighted Work. Specifically find: ”An Idiot In Skyrim” http://deck16.net/pilkington#Download
Permission was neither asked nor granted to reproduce our Work and your Work therefore constitutes infringement of our rights. Under federal copyright law, we are entitled to an injunction against your continued infringement.
Joel doesn’t blame Karl’s management, but does make a good point in his blog — no-one’s making any money from this, there’s no loss of income here, or any damage to the Karl Pilkington brand. So why be so heavy handed?
Firstly, as I said above, I never thought it’d be a big thing. I thought I’d have a small audience of at most a few hundred. (I’m talking people actually using the mod, not people looking at the YouTube videos etc.) If a high-school band plays “We Will Rock You” at the yearly dance does the RIAA bust in with a legal notice from Queen?
Secondly, and more importantly, I genuinely believe this would’ve done nothing to harm the Karl Pilkington brand. It wasn’t causing any loss of income — the mod was free and there were no official Karl games or mods that it could’ve been competing with (at least, as far as I know). It wasn’t denigrating Karl (the title “An Idiot in Skyrim” was a reference to An Idiot Abroad, not a personal attack). And I wasn’t claiming that the mod was official (though I admit I could’ve been more explicit in saying it wasn’t).
Indeed I personally think works like this add to the brand they are based on. It keeps Karl Pilkington in people’s minds. It may introduce newcomers to the wonders of Karl. Ironically I think Ricky Gervais may realise this — how often did he encourage and showcase people painting Karl, drawing Karl, sculpting Karl and remixing his quotes into music?
In the meantime Joel has stopped working on the ‘An Idiot In Skyrim’ mod, and has taken it down from the site.