CEASE AND DESIST LETTER TO SKY (UK) LTD
(verbatim copy of text sent
via email and registerd
post on 14/01/2020)
Ben Crushcov BA (Hons), MA
(address and phonenumber redacted)
14th January 2020
Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive
Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, UK and Ireland
Vicky Sandry, Group General Counsel
Gary Davey, Chief Executive Officer, Sky Studios
Zai Bennett, Managing Director, Content
Claire Canning, General Counsel
Sky Group Headquarters,
Grant Way, Isleworth,
TW7 5QD, United Kingdom
Cease and Desist Notice:
Relating to the Infringement of Sky (UK) Ltd’s Britannia on my Copyright, Moral and Reproduction Rights for Tribus
To Whom it May Concern,
It has come to my attention that Sky (UK) Ltd, as the copyright holder of the television show Britannia, have made and are continuing to make use of an unauthorised adaptation of my copyrighted work entitled Tribus (the "Work"). I have reserved all rights in the Work, created between 2014 to 2016, at Bath Spa University. Please note, I have preserved my rights to the copyright of the Work and all that this entails.
Your work entitled Britannia contains a number of unauthorised adaptions of the original content from the Work and has been reproduced and used without my consent and without acknowledgement of myself as its original creator.
Included in the numerous adaptations are three, narrative strands (A-C, below) that are clearly apparent in both the Tribus spec script (with an intended title of Once Upon a Time in Britannia) and Britannia’s first episode (or elsewhere in season one, when indicated). No other work in the history of literature has ever featured a combination of these three narrative strands, let alone a nine-episode, first season of a multi-season television drama, about the Celtic Tribes of Ancient Britain, the Druids and the Roman Invasion of 43AD, like both Tribus and Britannia (both of which had a final script written in the first half of 2016).
A) The young hero, on the cusp of adulthood, Cal in Tribus/Cait in Britannia, is introduced alone and seen looking out for something, before running through fields to their family. It’s the eve of an important festival. They are due to go through a rite of passage at the festival, that night, but there’s an issue about their attendance that they get support for, from an older female relative, who talks about her first time at the festival. Later on, at the festival, they both go through that rite of passage, when they’re standing in a field, around a barrel, with a group of other teens. The rite of passage sees them get intoxicated, after which they wonder round the festival site in an altered state and see a mysterious figure holding a staff, who stops and stares at them (among a number of other similar things that are described/shown at each festival). During both festivals there’s an issue with both young protagonists’ names. The festival ends badly for both and they don’t make it back to their tent. They make a new friend at the festival, who they’ll share a troubled friendship with. That friend is cast out in Tribus (in Britannia they’re described as the Outcast). The day after the festival Cal/Cait follow their cast out friend into the forest. They’ll end up threatened by a perverted character, deep in the woods, who is interested in taking their virginity, but are surprisingly saved by their new friend.
B) It’s established in both Tribus and Britannia that there’s an issue with the Regini or Regni tribe prior to a wedding taking place (in Britannia this is done retrospectively), but there is a plan for peace between them in both shows’ first episodes. A wedding, which takes place specifically in ‘the borders’ of what can be argued as the same part of the country, acts as the inciting incident that leads to conflict between Cal/Cait’s tribe and the Regini/Regni for the duration of both shows’ first seasons and beyond. During the wedding, which takes place in or by a tree circle, there’s an ambush featuring riders who emerge from the forest and encircle the guests; the groom gets slaughtered and an untrustworthy Gaul (totally fictitious) slays the priestess. The bride is unharmed in both but will get captured by the Gaul (slightly later on in Tribus) and held as a temporary prisoner. In both she will be used in a political plotline. The wedding ambush leads to the conflict between the two tribes resuming, and in both shows the Regini/Regni will get massacred, although a member of the royal family witnesses the execution (occurs in a latter episode of Britannia), gets taken prisoner, and in both they will be left wanting revenge in later seasons. Neither the main adult nor the young Celtic protagonist, in either shows, are featured in the wedding.
C) A Celtic prisoner is led in chains across a field towards a Roman prison wagon. Inside that wagon he is shown chained up, his taut body naked to his trousers; he has scars and bruises and Celtic tattoos. From inside the wagon he airs his concerns about missing family members. As the wagon rolls off, it is revealed to be surrounded a cohort of Roman foot soldiers. The caravan is led by a character based, partly at least, on Aulus Plautius, who wants to learn about Celtic culture. He is joined by a more authoritarian character called Vespian (Tribus)/Vespasian (Britannia), who is seen barking orders to the troops and shown riding off, ahead of them, up front. The prisoner will go on to be interrogated on the journey (in episode two of Britannia), as the caravan makes its way across the Ancient English countryside.
Alongside these strands there a number of other scenes, plot points, character names and characterisations, along with at least one other key narrative strand, that are clearly apparent in both. Details of these can be currently seen on the videos that are published on the website: www.britanniatvseries.com. The similarities have been described as ‘staggering’, ‘outrageous’ and ‘too many and too exact to be dismissed as mere co-incidence’ by academics and respected industry professionals.
I therefore reluctantly demand that you cease the use and distribution of all infringing works derived from the Work, and all copies of it, including electronic copies of the same, and that you desist from this or any other infringement of my rights in the future. I insist that you do so, no later than 14 days from the date of this letter, unless we have come to a mutual agreement in writing during this time.
If you do not remove the infringing material and notify me in writing that you have done so after the 14-day period is over, and in the case that we have not come to a mutual agreement about the continued exploitation of my work, I will take further action against Sky (UK) Ltd. I will require the infringing material to be removed and written notice given that such material has been removed, within seven calendar days after the 14-day period has passed.
Please give this very important matter the utmost attention.
Ben Crushcov (Krushkoff) BA (Hons), MA