Minecraft Hit With Legal Complaint From Golf Company

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Minecraft Hit With Legal Complaint From Golf Company

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Mojang may face legal action for user-made "Putt-Putt" Minecraft maps.

Minecraft is essentially a set of tools for creative individuals to play with, so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that sometimes people like to make things within the game's sandbox. One recent trend among content creators is the rise of mini golf maps, called "Putt-Putt" maps by the community. Unfortunately, it seems nobody informed the owners of the actual Putt-Putt trademark, and they're not cool with this turn of events. A cease and desist letter misguidedly orders Mojang to stop infringing on the Putt-Putt trademark, despite all the content in question being user-generated.

Notch revealed the contents of the letter with all his characteristic legal tact:

It's pretty standard legalese, claiming that "Mojang AB's use of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt ... Accordingly, we require your prompt written assurance that Mojang AB, and each and every person, agent, and entity affiliated with Mojang AB, will immediately refrain from all use of the Putt-Putt trademark in connection with your business." That should be pretty easy, since Mojang has never invoked the name of Putt-Putt in any official capacity, though the lawyers might not be happy with that answer.

The letter includes a screenshot of a Google search for "putt putt craft," which turns up several user-made videos on the topic. Those videos may be in danger of getting pulled from Youtube on copyright claims, but right now it looks like Putt-Putt is barking up the wrong tree.

Source: Twitter

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Seriously? This is sad, to say the least. Mojang provided a sandbox environment that allows users to go wild with creativity. It's like other companies being upset that people use minecraft to make pixel art. What about minecraft mods inspired by video game franchises. Can Mojang end up in a legal dispute over those, too? I really hope this situation blows over fast because it seems ridiculous and trivial.

Nexxis:
Seriously? This is sad, to say the least. Mojang provided a sandbox environment that allows users to go wild with creativity. It's like other companies being upset that people use minecraft to make pixel art. What about minecraft mods inspired by video game franchises. Can Mojang end up in a legal dispute over those, too? I really hope this situation blows over fast because it seems ridiculous and trivial.

It sounds less like Mojang could be in trouble and more like some dumb non gaming company handing out notice without knowing what their talking about. They'll quickly find themselves without a leg to stand on.

Well if the Putt imbeciles enjoy burning money to lawyers that is their problem, but any half sane judge will call this over the minute he gets wind of it, also Mojang should be a little devious and file a counter lawsuit afterwards for harassment.

No better lesson then to smack them on the nose with their own turd.

Yep, they're suing a company for something a user made...I sincerely hope these morons loose the case and still have to pay a crap load on lawyer fees.

Nexxis:
Seriously? This is sad, to say the least. Mojang provided a sandbox environment that allows users to go wild with creativity. It's like other companies being upset that people use minecraft to make pixel art. What about minecraft mods inspired by video game franchises. Can Mojang end up in a legal dispute over those, too? I really hope this situation blows over fast because it seems ridiculous and trivial.

They can send them as many C&D letters as they want, but the fact remains that Mojang has not infringed upon their copyright. If an IP holder has a problem with a user created mod for Minecraft then they need to take up their dispute with the user.

This has got to be a joke. How do they expect this nonsense to be enforced when the developer has zero control over the community?

So, I can make clone of Fallout and get the creators of the software in trouble? Awesome. Be right back, guys.

In all seriousness, this should blow over fast. As soon as Mojang say that it's user-generated content, Putt-Putt's legal department should realise they went the wrong way and contact the actual creator.

Hopefully...

Even if they did contact the actual creator, there is nearly no chance of success.
Simply cause the Maps aren't used commercially. Putt Putt could forbid, a single user
to name the Map "putt putt xy" but nothing else. Wich means those idiots burn money!

Again a company having no brains, try to sue over money.

Hey wait, this is all the US does. They sue sue sue.
This comes from the country why in the whole world on coffee mugs
is a safety line. "Caution hot" cause hot coffee can burn you and
microwaves instructions say "dont dry cats and other small animals".

Law in America is just sick.
So who knows maybe Notch will have to billions of Dollar. I wouldn't be surprised.

I didn't know there were golf mods for Minecraft, although I should have expected it.

Once I get some more bandwidth, I'll download some of those Putt Putt maps.

Thanks for bringing this up stupid, backwards, golfing company!

The best part of the entire story is that the C&D letter is on official Putt-Putt(tm) letterhead, and it says in big, bold letters "Let the FUN Begin!" right at the top of the page. I assure you, it already has. Mostly at your expense.

balberoy:
*snip*

You're pretty spot on in the first paragraph, but I feel a need to explain some details in the rest.

The U.S. legal system is often an incomprehensible mess, but just as often it does its job and does it well. The reason coffee cups are labeled with the "Hot" warning is because of a legal case in which the coffee actually melted the cup and gave an elderly woman some pretty bad burns. You never hear about this because, as part of the settlement, she is never allowed to talk about it again. Because of this, McDonald's (The defendant in the case) has gone to great lengths to publicize the apparent "ridiculousness" of the requirement without much push back.

Notch will be just fine, I assure you, because this is just a company being daft. Nothing will come of it.

People, calm down. Companies need to enforce their copyrights less they lose them.

This seems like a case of lawyers not doing their homework before launching their C&D letters, but that's the only thing they can be blamed for. Which, in general, is an easy mistake to make for people who, until rather recently, didn't have to deal with user created content.

I'm betting these particular lawyers will never make this mistake again.

balberoy:

Law in America is just sick.
So who knows maybe Notch will have to billions of Dollar. I wouldn't be surprised.

So it's a good thing that Mojang is not an American company then. :)

(They are from Sweden)

That is going to be a fun court case.

Judge: Why have you not stopped using Putt-Putt?
Notch: I have no way to stop people using my sand-box game from doing that. Your honor.

OK, maybe a short boring case.

They are just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. Probably no-one heard of them and they saw an opportunity.

This case will go absolutely nowhere.

Yes we all know the precedence of lawsuits suing a company for things their users did.

As long as the US government doesn't get involved Mojang doesn't have to fear a raid on their offices.

Lets be fair here. Not everyone know about games and stuff like minecraft. However many millions of people around the world play these games there are still BILLIONS of people that don't. For a company to make the mistake of thinking that Mojang might have been involved is not that hard to understand.

the problem comes here (as I see it) when the company just fires of a C&D without knowing the facts effectively (well unless Mojang just ignores it) forcing Mojang to spend money on their lack of research. In this case I think Mojang should send the material they asked for along with an invoice for the man-hours spent putting it together. Then if they don't pay Mojanfg should sue (maybe not as that might be silly too).

As for the Youtube videos that might get hit... yeah I can see that. As long as the only thing that happens is that they get removed.

"Hey guys, did you read that someone built an X-Wing out of Lego? Star Wars is our IP! We should sue Lego!"
Really, they are sending out legal complaints without checking first if it actually makes sense?

Nexxis:
Can Mojang end up in a legal dispute over those, too? I really hope this situation blows over fast because it seems ridiculous and trivial.

There's no dispute, Mojang neither made or promoted the Putt Putt maps nor do they have any means to prevent them. This is like trying to sue a paper company because someone out there drew your logo.

I can see a short but polite letter going back the other way and some oafish shark wannabe in the legal team feeling very silly about themselves.

That's stupid. So much so that I can't decide if it's funny or sad.

also from the looks of it they just want them to stop using the name putt putt (apparently its a famour name? who would have known) its not the courses or the golf theme that they object to, so if there is some takedown order for youtube all the people need to do is change the name to Minegolf, or something wittier, and they can put the videos back up.

Putt Putt you dumbass! Learn2minecraft!

How the fuck can Mojang be responsible for what users build?

It's like accusing microsoft of racism because the KKK wrote a nasty letter using Office.

Somebody made a poster of Iron Man advertising their sports venue in Photoshop before printing and then posting it outside their building. I'm going to cease-and-desist the paper and ink manufacturers and Adobe!

So, someone else has to be sick of these sensationalist topic titles, right?

OT: Yeah, this won't last long. And even on the insanely small chance that this does negatively impact Minecraft or Minecraft's community, expect a lot of hell to be raised over it. So much so, that Putt Putt will come out of it regretting ever even considering doing what they did.

waj9876:
So, someone else has to be sick of these sensationalist topic titles, right?

How's this sensationalist, it's exactly what happened. A Golf company sent Mojang a legal complaint about something relating to Minecraft.

Whilst I'm sure most judges would be favourable to Mojang in this case, you can't deny the US legal system has a massive history of xenophobia when it comes to dealing with foreign companies being taken to task by US ones. (I.e. Apple vs Samsng for a recent high profile example of this).

Wow...
This is the same as if they'd sue Microsoft because someone made an unauthorized drawing of their logo in MS Paint.

When I saw the name in question, the first thing I thought about was a series of games, one of which I played, from my childhood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putt-Putt_%28series%29

Also do these people even do -any- research before sending out letters willy nilly? Does it even matter given Mojang is in sweden?

Of course it will end up in nothing.
I don't really blame Putt-Putt for the random C&D order because as it was said on the Minecraft forums, it's just easier for them this way.

Check the quote yourself.

Minecraft Forums:
Often, the legal department of a company will automatically send cease-and-desist letters to anything their searches turn up that might match their criteria, without reviewing the material in detail. This can seem like a senseless action to anyone who's not been a part of a major corporation's legal team; however, they often have oceans of these kinds of claims to sort through, and it's often simpler to send out blanket requests, with the expectation that legitimate claims will be responded to. For the rest of us, it can result in hilarious misfires, like this one.

How is having your brand name associated with golf a bad thing? Thousands of people who don't normally play golf could potentially earn Putt Putt money because of this. Most companies would pay for this kind of brand recognition.

waj9876:
So, someone else has to be sick of these sensationalist topic titles, right?

Pretty sure a cease and desist letter counts as a legal complaint. It's pretty accurate to me.

Aedes:
Of course it will end up in nothing.
I don't really blame Putt-Putt for the random C&D order because as it was said on the Minecraft forums, it's just easier for them this way.

Check the quote yourself.

Minecraft Forums:
Often, the legal department of a company will automatically send cease-and-desist letters to anything their searches turn up that might match their criteria, without reviewing the material in detail. This can seem like a senseless action to anyone who's not been a part of a major corporation's legal team; however, they often have oceans of these kinds of claims to sort through, and it's often simpler to send out blanket requests, with the expectation that legitimate claims will be responded to. For the rest of us, it can result in hilarious misfires, like this one.

Makes sense, and like the quote says, pretty funny to see the misfires.

Wow. I know not all legal cases are petty and misinformed, just the one's we hear about, but seriously... I'm getting pretty jaded with the whole "sue over the slightest perceived offense" culture so prominent in the business world. Ah well, at least I can laugh at all the idiot lawyers who get caught in the middle trying to make a few quick bucks.

This is why Minecraft needs to be an always online game. People can't be trusted can they? This poor old Putt-Putt company is just one example of the struggles of the modern business.

Mojang are nothing but a bunch of thieves out to steal money from poor old Putt-Putt. Shame on you Mojang.

image

I dont understand how this is a detriment to them. I mean, oka, maybe people are making their own mini golf maps on minecraft instead of going to the actual course, but shouldnt they be more worried about PGA and other golf licensed games that are doing the same?

THough I have to admit, that letter head is hysterically awesome in regard to the letter content.

Aedes:
Of course it will end up in nothing.
I don't really blame Putt-Putt for the random C&D order because as it was said on the Minecraft forums, it's just easier for them this way.

Check the quote yourself.

Minecraft Forums:
Often, the legal department of a company will automatically send cease-and-desist letters to anything their searches turn up that might match their criteria, without reviewing the material in detail. This can seem like a senseless action to anyone who's not been a part of a major corporation's legal team; however, they often have oceans of these kinds of claims to sort through, and it's often simpler to send out blanket requests, with the expectation that legitimate claims will be responded to. For the rest of us, it can result in hilarious misfires, like this one.

How does 'easier' make it acceptable? Just sending letters to people threatening legal action when you haven't even bothered to check whether any such action is warranted is incompetent and irresponsible. If this is just one case where the lawyers got confused or didn't do a good job checking their facts then yes, it's hilarious, but what's described in that forum post sounds like general harassment.

"Free advertising?!? Why, I never! Jeeves, pass me my blunderbuss!" Because I picture those guys as old fashioned British fat cats...

But it does seem like they're shooting themselves in the foot... People are spreading the Put-Put love! Who gives a shit about them, anymore? Nobody. Except one of the biggest online communities in existence.

Longstreet:
They are just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. Probably no-one heard of them and they saw an opportunity.

This case will go absolutely nowhere.

No, Putt-Putt is a pretty well known company here in the states. But yeah, this case isn't going to go anywhere. The whole thing will probably be over and done with by the end of the week.

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