(a brief overview of a
case in progress)
"Staggering" "Outrageous" "Non-coincidental"
These words have been used by academics and professionals to describe the similarities between Sky TV's Britannia - the most expensively produced drama in that broadcaster's history - and Tribus: the original, academically submitted and copyrighted creation of Ben Krushkoff (created whilst a mature student at Bath Spa University). Based on the growing opinion of those in academia, including the head of the UK’s ‘flagship Creative Writing course’, this would make it arguably the biggest case of intellectual property (IP) fraud in the history of television.
© Ben Krushkoff (2014-16)
© Sky UK (Ltd) (2017)
Both Tribus and Britannia (Season One), were written as nine-episode, multi-season, fictionalised televisual dramas, about the tribes of Ancient Britain during the Roman Invasion of 43AD. Both are told through multiple perspectives (protagonist and antagonist Celtic tribes, the Druids and the Roman invaders). Both have ‘a clash of civilisations’ as their central theme. And the genesis of both stories occurs during their respective all-important first episodes: Britannia’s was written by acclaimed English screenwriter Jez Butterworth (Richardson’s ex-brother-in-law) and his brother Tom 'around the time of Brexit' (June 28th, 2016); the intended title of Krushkoff’s own pilot episode (submitted on March, 2016) was ‘Once Upon a Time in Britannia’.
But the alarming amount of similarities only just begin with the titles...
Definition of 'hack' (Cambridge Dictionary):
If you're new to the story and case, the best place to start is by watching the following video, detailing the link between the two bodies of work in question - Tribus (Krushkoff, 2014-16) and Britannia (Episode One: Butterworth and Butterworth, 2016) - through the only person outside of the university to have ever been given a full copy of Krushkoff's script: television journalist and editor, Karen Hyland (The Sun, The Mirror, Entertainment Daily). Hyland had described Tribus as 'the greatest story that's never been told'.
The above video merely touches upon the substantial amount of similarities, described as 'staggering' and 'outrageous' by highly respected academics and industry professionals. To see a full breakdown of those similarities, please scroll down to the next section and look at the videos, directly below. Alternatively, if you're interested in Part Two of the above story - the 'what happened next' - and want to find out about what a growing amout of people consider a deeply sinister connection between Krushkoff's next door neighbour and James Richardson, please go straight to the video in the legal case section.
Part Two:THE SIMILARITIES
(why it is believed
Britannia had to be
a re-write of Tribus)
Nobody is accusing Britianna of being a line-for-line copy of the Tribus (spec script or treatment). It isn’t. However, if anybody wanted to replicate an original work of literature and hide the fact (which would naturally be the case if they didn't want to credit - and pay - the source), then it would be absurd to expect such a copy would be made verbatim.
Rather, it is believed that an adaptation of the fictionalised story told in the pilot script of Tribus, a totally original creation by Krushkoff, had to have been used by Jez and Tom Butterworth when writing the first episode of Britannia (regardless of whether they were they aware of where the material had come from or not). In both instances, the first episodes were the genesis of the entire stories in both shows. Furthermore, a number of entirely fictionalised elements of the pilot script, along with elements of Krushkoff’s treatment and show bible, can also be seen mirrored in different parts of Britannia's first season.
The following three videos analyse some of those similarities accordingly (for details of the area of law which prohibits adpatations taking place, please go straight to the legal case, below):
a) An overview of all similarities, which asks 'in which work do these elements come from - Tribus or Britannia' (a rhetorical question, answered at the end):
b) How a group of small odds, in just one scene comparison (the inciting incident between the tribes in both shows), accumulate to form a 150-million-to-one+ chance of probability of indepent creation:
c) A detailed breakdown of how the above comparison videos were made, through the deconstruction of one scene (the inciting incident/wedding scene, featured above); includes a reading from the Tribus spec script:
Please come back to the site in the near future for a written breakdown of all the above, along with further videos detailing the presumed (and numerous) adaptations to characters and names, etc.. alongside more individual scenes with script readings. Alternatively you can subscribe to Krushkoff's YouTube channel or follow the main social media sites for updates on his quest for accreditation (links available here)
Part Three:THE LEGAL CASE
(as will be testified
to under oath)
Given the fact that from an academic standpoint it can be (and is being) argued that Britannia's first episode has to have been a re-write of Tribus's pilot script, one would imagine that prosecuting those that are believed to be responsible would be relatively straightforward. However, as the final video (below) notes, the costs of bringing about a prosecution in the High Court for such a case, makes starting a law suit so expensive to the point that it is prohibitive. And then there is the small matter of what seems from the outside, at least, to have been a potential leak of classified information, by one of the solitictors involved in the case...
The specific area of UK copyright law that it is believed has to have been infringed upon (but not exclusively) is section 21 of The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, which deals with adaptations:
In particular, a number of key arears of both narrative and dramatic structure are believed to have been adapted from Krushkoff's pilot script of Tribus and can be seen in Episode One, Season One of Britannia. It is the architecture of both, the structure that underpins the respective stories, that can be described as being remarkably similar, to the point whereby a coicidence becomes a near mathematical impossibility. These are most notable in the three narrative strands that have been highlighted in the similarities video, above.
However, as the videos and some of the comments in this website allude to, it is not being suggested that the synopses of the two are identical, nor the dialogue, as one would expect following adaptations and a re-write.
What people are saying
The following is a mixture of quotes from industry professionals, academics and members of the public, about the similarities this site highlights and the case in general:
"I do find the similarities to Britannia quite staggering. In my view, they are too many and too exact to be dismissed as mere co-incidence, or as the inevitable confluence of ideas when drawing from the same historical sources. The material of Tribus invents far beyond the source. That so much of its invention is reflected in Britannia is, in my opinion, cause for question..."
- Head of Scriptwriting, BSU
"As the university's appointed expect in this field, the faculty support his (Head of Scriptwriting's) opinion in this matter."
- Head of Creative Writing, BSU
"I knew Ben when he spent years of long days and nights writing his manuscript for Tribus. It was an original and creative work. Having seen the evidence about the similarities between Tribus and Brittannia I support his demands for fair compensation. This case is exactly the reason we have copyright law.."
D.R. (Norfolk, UK)
"I've watched your video & it makes a compelling argument.
The 1st few similarities I thought were forgivable generic stylings. By the end I was baying for someone's plagiaristic blood!
Good luck with your case."
P.R.E. (Bristol, UK)
"It’s a blatant rip off, full on copyright infringement."
- R.F. (California, USA)
"This cannot be a coincidence. Hope you get the recognition you deserve Ben."
- M.S. (Malaga, Spain)
" Can't possibly argue against those odds Ben, and don't let anyone tell you different. Clearly your work has been plagiarized."
- J.B. (The Maldives)
" Unbelievable! I can’t believe this can happen."
- M.L. (Torquay, UK)
"Incredible story mate. Best of luck with it!"
- B.B. (Sydney, Australia)
- L.R. (New South Wales, Australia)
"Those idiots that stole your script should be shaking in their boots. Thieves have to pay for their crimes."
- D.R. (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Add your support by posting me a comment using the form below or signing my petition on Change.Org by clicking here. Full names will never be published for those that leave them (unless you indicate that you're happy for your support to be posted in the public domain).
Documenatary featured in IMDB:
© IMDb.com, Inc. (2021)
The series of short, web-based documentaries,featured on this site (Once Upon a Time in Britannia) have been approved for inclusion on the IMDb website. They have been classified as a TV Special by the site and referenced on Britannia's official page, as they are (clearly) about that show. Please review and comment by clicking this link.
Article and other news:
© BGlobal Media (Ltd) (2020)
In September 2020, highly respected journalist Stefan Antonov (Telegraph, Dvevnik; editor at Economist) wrote a substantial article detailing the background of the case and the support it has received so far, in the inaugral copy of BGlobal Magazine. The publication is distributed nationally.
A full English translation of the article can be found here.
Cease and Desist Letter sent to:
© Sky UK (Ltd) (2020)
Sky Group's CEO and key executives from Sky (UK) Ltd were today (14/01/20) emailed a copy of a Cease and Desist Letter, demanding that they stop the infringement within 14 days. A hard copy of the same was sent to their offices, via registered post, along with an open letter demanding they stay true to their published commitments on human rights and ethical behaviour. Click on the above underlined links to see a verbatim copy of both.
Added Petition on:
Please take the time to click the link and add your name to the petition being sent to Sky UK Ltd and Amazon Prime Video by clicking here. It will only take a moment and could make all the difference. Please note I have not requested donations, so when asked, just click 'skip this stage' at the bottom of the page.
Site and Facebook Group now live!
This website is now 'officially' live, alongside the videos (which have so far had their first 2,000 hours of watch time, thanks to friends and family) and the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/britanniatvseries/. Please bear with me, whilst I put the finishing touches to each, but do like, follow, comment and subscribe (respectively) in the meantime. Thanks for your support! Ben
This site uses copyrighted materials which, whenever possible, have been marked clearly. It does so following the UK Govt's guidelines on fair use, as this site aims to review, criticise and educate its visitors on what the author believes is an infringement on his own intellectual property, by some of the holders of the aforementioned material. For further information, please refer to the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, available on Gov.UK website.
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