Notch Is Ready For a Fight
Notch has taken a light-hearted approach to his legal wrangling with Bethesda so far but says that if push comes to shove, he'll fight the publisher in courts "for as long as it takes."
When Bethesda's legal department came calling on Mojang with a letter claiming that its new game, Scrolls, infringes upon Bethesda's Elder Scrolls trademark, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson reacted in a surprisingly laid-back fashion, saying, "I still <3 Bethesda. This is hopefully just lawyers being lawyers." He upped the ante earlier this week by challenging Bethesda to settle the matter with a 3-on-3 Quake 3 deathmatch. But he's also made it clear that it Bethesda insists on playing hardball, he's ready to fight.
"If we're going to court, I will fight this for as long as it takes," Persson told Wired. "It's a bogus claim, and [Bethesda has] several one-word-named games that share a noun with other games that precede [them]," citing id's upcoming Rage, which based on Bethesda's argument infringes upon Sega's Streets of Rage games.
Bethesda could still turn the PR situation around by accepting his deathmatch challenge, he said, even though he acknowledged that picking the Bethesda-owned Quake 3 might have been a mistake. "If it came to a Quake 3 tournament, I have a feeling we might just have to change the name," he joked. "In retrospect, it might have been the wrong choice."
But Bethesda might have the edge in the courtroom as well, according to attorney Mark Methenitis. "The basic question here is whether the two trademarks are likely to be confused," he said. "There's a pretty well-established test for this under U.S. trademark law and based on those factors, Bethesda has a reasonable argument."
"To me, the real question is the strength of The Elder Scrolls," he continued, noting that the Elder Scrolls games are far more commonly known by their subtitles, like Daggerfall, Morrowind and Oblivion. "Even then, I wonder about the relative strength of Scrolls without Elder. That strength of the mark factor, along with evidence or lack of evidence of actual confusion, could be the determining factor."
Persson said that Mojang's lawyers are in contact with Bethesda's legal department but admitted that he doesn't really know what's going on otherwise, describing the situation as "terribly boring."
I can't believe this is still going on I've never heard TES refered to solely as Scrolls its either The Elder Scrolls usually abbreviated to TES or by a specific games sub title ie Oblivion. I can't see Bethesda's argument holding up in court and I really think that who ever's responsible for the legal team going after these lawsuits needs to be fired.
Really, my problem with this is that I would never hear people talking about Scrolls and think, "Ooh, I wonder if they mean Morrowind or Oblivion." If they said ELDER Scrolls, or Morrowind or Oblivion, then yeah, I would think he's talking about Elder Scrolls. My point is that the argument against Notch is that people will Confuse the two games , but they just won't.
I've never simply called The Elder Scrolls, i've called it TES or by any of it's other names but never just 'scrolls' Bethesda are being really stupid and are buring a lot of customer good will with this.
Forget the fun aspects of this, from a pure pragmatic standpoint wouldnt it be easier for Bethesta just to find their three best quake players and win the chalenge instead of taking it to court.
when i hear a game is called scrolls i don't automatically think Elder Scrolls. Sorry, i have friends who've played and loved the game Oblivion who didn't know it was preceded by The Elder Scrolls 4. lol
The escapist podcast talked about the reason being how copyrights are handled in the US and while they didn't talk about it in depth, it made some sort of sense. If I recall correctly it's something along the lines of; if Bethesda does not defend their trademark, even in cases like these, it will be much harder for them to defend themselves in the future against an upcomming 'The Older Scrolls' aka the opposition can say "but it didn't matter when Scrolls was announced so why does it matter now? blah blah"... That's at least have I understood it.
From podcast 012: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escapist-podcast/3853-012-Mojangs-Scrolls-Hats-for-Games-Battlefield-3
I don't buy that really. They could make an objection and decide it's not worth the fight now, or that the name is not close enough to make it worth it. If someone released the older scrolls though that is very close and much different then just calling a game scrolls. In fact, there are already games named scrolls or close to that (with another name before or after)....I think the real objection is that a google search will bring up Notch's scrolls game instead of Skyrim...and they don't like that (a google search of scrolls that is).
This was just a dumb move on their part because Notch has so much good will and popularity with the gaming community. I was never a big fan of the scrolls series but I purchased them all to support the Genre (hate the enemies level up as you do system etc). I actually liked the earlier games in the series more then morrowind or Oblivion. At this point unless Bethseda resolves this (in a positive way) I'm not going to pick up the newest "scrolls" game. I never finished Oblivion....or even came close....so if I ever get the urge I'll just play that instead.
Minecraft on the other hand I love and have played more then all Bethseda games put together....while paying less then 10% as much to do so. I'd back Notch over Bethesda any day...and I'm sure there are many other RPG players out there who would do the same.
I think the real objection is that a google search will bring up Notch's scrolls game instead of Skyrim...and they don't like that (a google search of scrolls that is).
first result: scrolls.com mojang game
second result: elderscrolls.com
third result: wikipedia entry about scrolls (ie: real scrolls)
forth result: news story about the lawsuit.
He should have given them a more neutral fight. Like playing project zomboid and seeing who survives the longest, or playing Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode and seeing who can create the most awesome character story.
Well, it's been a good few days since this all started and...nope, still can't work out why Bethesda are being so pissy.
Would this then delay the release of Mojang's Scrolls? I appreciate they may not be near completion in the first place, but will they kept waiting for this to be resolved?
I have a feeling this all started because of Google. If you search Scrolls in the Google search engine you get:
1. scrolls.com (Mojangs game)
2. wikipedia.org (Wiki of Scroll)
3. elderscrolls.com (Official site for elder scrolls franchise)
You can see that this is an undesirable position for Bethesda.
Incidently, searching Elder Scrolls doesnt bring up Mojangs Scrolls game at all.
I e-mailed Bethesda(yeah I know big deal). A copy of what I wrote is below. I'm personally done tolerating this litigation over the use of common nouns nonsense that's been cropping up lately. If Bethesda can demonstrate a greater justification for this action fine. In the meantime I ask that you consider sending a MATURE e-mail to them on this subject. I'd say the most important thing I keep seeing pop up is that people don't refer to Bethesda's series as "Scrolls" games. Maybe if they see there's little chance of confusion they'll let it go.
E-mail Bethesda: http://www.bethsoft.com/eng/contact_email.php I couldn't track down a direct link to legal, so if someone has that, it would probably be a better place to send the e-mail.
As a fan of the Elder Scrolls games I was very disappointed to learn that your company's legal department has opted to take action against Mojang's upcoming game "Scrolls". As my available disposable income thins I am more and more selective about who I give it to. I would prefer not support those who engage in frivolous litigation. At this early stage I as an outsider have very little information on the details of the infringement accusation. I sincerely hope that Bethesda does not consider itself the proprietary owner of the common noun "scrolls".
If there is indeed more justification toward this infringement claim than a single shared word in a title, I would certainly appreciate being enlightened to that fact as I'm sure others would. I do not wish to paint an unfair picture of "the big guy picking on the little guy" but I will be suspending the purchase of your products until you can demonstrate a justification for this action(beyond a common noun) or retracts the claim. I ask only that you act in the most fair and honest manner possible, and if you are insistent that Mojang has infringed upon your companies intellectual property, that you demonstrate to the gaming community that you are justified to take such a position.
Tbh, I can't really see the infringement or negative impact of having a game called "Scrolls". I can see people thinking you're on about TES if you say "Scrolls", but any of the other abbreviations aren't going to get mixed up with the Mojang game, so really don't get it.
Sounds like someone's being a jobsworth to me.
Reading the website it doesn't sound like Notch is deliberately ripping off any of the TES games, so I don't get it from that angle either (even if the lawsuit is over the name, it can be the content that triggers it).
The only time, the ONLY TIME that an Elder Scrolls game is called an Elder Scrolls game is when Bethesda is announcing the next Elder Scrolls game. From that point forth, it's known as it's subtitle. Heck, people already stopped referring to Skyrim as "the next Elder Scrolls game" and just started calling it just plain "Skyrim", and that isn't even out yet.
This lawsuit is bullshit, and I hope Notch wins it. This is Tim Langdell level of idiocy from Bethesda.
I would have taken the time to read that but i'm too busy starting a lawsuit against Eidos for using the name "Adam" in it.
I'm worried people may confuse the ingame character for me and he will steal my wife and kids .... well he can take the kids but I need my wife, she makes cookies.
Notch should win, Bethesda should cancel the lawsuit because they aren't assholes and this is stupid, their lawyers should kill themselves.
Not for being lawyers mind- but for giving other lawyers a BAD NAME.
This is taking a bit of an "Edge"-y turn here. Copyrighting a oft-used word is not what the copyright system was in place for.
What's next? Is someone going to copyright the smiley face? ;)
If someone has enough money to pay lawyers to constantly defend the claim. Technically yes ... they could. The danger of this situation is a common one. Mojang has a bit of money in the bank and Bethesda knows this. They are going to do everything they can to bleed Mojang dry and then offer to buy them out. There's more than a few past examples of this in the industry.