AN OPEN LETTER TO SKY GROUP
(verbatim copy of text sent
via email and registerd
post on 14/01/2020)
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
Re: The infringement of Sky (UK) Ltd’s Britannia on my Copyright, Moral and Reproduction Rights for Tribus
Dear Messrs Darroch, van Rooyen and Colleagues,
As the respective and relevant Heads of Sky’s Group and Local Executive Teams, I am writing to you concerning the most serious of matters: the unauthorised adaptation of my original work, Tribus, created and submitted whilst I was a mature student at Bath Spa University, in the television drama series Britannia, which Sky (UK) Ltd is the copyright holder of. The unauthorised adaptation of my original creation and subsequent sale and distribution of this, is an infringement of own copyright, moral and reproduction rights. I appreciate that this may sound far-fetched, however, as you will learn (if you are not aware already), it is not just my opinion, but that of a growing number of academics and experts familiar with the case, including the highly respected screenwriter who was the Head of Screenwriting at my former university when I wrote my treatment and script, between 2014-16.
I have noted from your company literature your commitment to human rights and ethical behaviour, including the following statements:
‘We respect everyone’s human rights at Sky. We do the right thing by everyone we reach’
‘at the very heart of everything we do is doing the right thing. We act honestly and with integrity. We’re responsible,
respectful and fair with our customers, our colleagues, our business partners and the wider community. If we’re all
doing our very best, we’ll make sure the creativity keeps flowing…’
I have also noted your commitment to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the following point:
Article 27. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific,
literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Along with your commitment to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which include:
29. To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, business enterprises should
establish or participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may
be adversely impacted.
I therefore fully expect you to adhere to these commitments and deal with this matter immediately, fairly and directly. The negative impact that the infringement has had on my life, in a number of areas, is immeasurable: physically (through the stress this has caused), emotionally, financially and, ultimately, creatively.
I appreciate that none of you may be aware, personally, of the infringement and have included a summary of some of the ‘staggering’ similarities in the Cease and Desist notice, which I have reluctantly issued and is attached to this letter. These points, and more, will be elaborated on in an official Letter Before Action and/or Summons, if you do not deal with this matter immediately, fairly and directly.
Please note, I really do not want the public to have their enjoyment of this show spoiled – or to sully my own name with Sky - due to what I believe is the reprehensible behaviour of just a small number of people, involved in the ‘creation’ and production of Britannia, via one of your external suppliers. I have therefore given you a fourteen-day period to respond to me, detailing how you will rectify the infringement, before the demands of the Cease and Desist come into effect and I am forced into issuing proceedings.
Also note, I have recently published the website www.britanniatvseries.com, which is the platform for several videos detailing how an opportunity to copy my work came about, via a former TV editor and journalist at the Sun, along with a non-exhaustive breakdown of similar scenes, plot points, characters, names and narrative strands. The combination of these points makes it all but a mathematical impossibility for the two bodies of work to have been independently created. The website has been published for review and criticism, as well as instructional purposes. I would suggest you visit it and watch those videos, prior to/as well as reading the attached documents.
For your information, a petition has also been launched on Change.Org, over the weekend, which you may wish to visit, calling on you to give me the creator and writer credits which I know I deserve. Please see: www.change.org/britanniatvseries for further details.
Along with the aforementioned Cease and Desist notice, is a letter from Robin Mukherjee, Head of Screenwriting at Bath Spa University, which supports my claim and demands. You will note that Robin was ‘a core writer’ for some of the UK’s biggest shows (including EastEnders and Casualty in their heyday), wrote an episode of Roman Mysteries (BBC) and has won and been nominated for a number of awards (Lore, which he wrote with Cate Shortland, was Australia’s official entry for the Oscars). His opinion, supported by the former Head of Creative Writing, Dr Paul Meyer, is just one of a growing number, provided by people who have clearly and easily been able to recognise the similarities to Britannia and my own body of work. ‘Blatant’, ‘outrageous’ and ‘thieves’ are real and typical comments – and just a few of many - that have been left on my posts and petition concerning this matter.
I fully expect you to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves and as a matter of urgency and look forward to hearing from you soon. I would be happy to discuss the matter in person, via a phone call or meeting and reserve the right to publish this letter and/or forward to the academics and professionals who are following this case: I am certain that it would be in the public’s interest – especially that of other aspiring and up-and-coming writers - for me to do so.
Ben Crushcov (Krushkoff) BA (Hons), MA
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