The community manager for The Lord of the Rings online shared an official cease and desist letter to the operators of the Echoes of Angmar private vanilla server project sent by Middle Earth Enterprises, owners of the rights to Tolkien’s works. The letter requests that all development and actions on Echoes of Angmar be stopped and that all related materials referencing Tolkien’s work be removed since the project does not have an official license.
“As owners of intellectual property rights, we are responsible for protecting those rights both morally and legally. Unfortunately, Echoes of Angmar uses specific content from the books and 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. It’s not uncommon for fans to create things that reflect an affection for Tolkien’s works. It is therefore with a heavy heart that we must ask you to immediately cease all unauthorized use of Echoes of Angmar and all other Tolkien-related IPs on all platforms, including Discord, Youtube and at https:// www.echoesofangmar. com/. »
Since the Echoes of Angmar team does not maintain any public social channels or official community, there has been no response yet, and the project’s website remains active as of this writing. The project’s Discord was also not found in a search today.
When it comes to private servers, there are some projects where IP holders, usually dead MMOs, may have some leeway to look away (and sometimes bless) private server development. However, the Tolkien domain is notorious for fiercely protecting its proprietary rights, which are worth considerable sums, given that they relate to one of the greatest fantasy IP addresses.
A first round of testing is scheduled for August 19, but it seems likely we’ll see a shutdown instead.