Scroll's Edge: Bethesda Threatens Legal Action Over Minecraft Creator's “Scrolls”

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michaelnomad

I remember reading about how Groucho Marx responded to Warner Bros. when the threatened to sue over his making a movie called "A Night in Casablanca". If you're interested in the exchange of letters, check:
http://www.mamohanraj.com/Amusing/warner.html

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aarcane

I propose a boycot against bethesda if they pursue this matter.

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CalDrumr

That's pretty sad.  I picked up a Scroll of Spirit in World of Warcraft once.  Bethesda should probably sue for it.

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Darkside2984

Am I the only one that went 'huh?' right after reading the article. I am not familiar with any scroll titled game coming from the accused and really am forced to scratch my head. In America, if you file a frivilous lawsuit that has no basis on the merits  you can claim attorneys fees as part of your damages against the acting party. That would mean that Bethesda would pay damages for bringing the action AND the fees of the attorneys for the other side. 

That being said, this was filed in Sweden (which may have more Bethesda friendly TM laws) and I have no idea about patent precedent there. Maybe it will end up before the European Parliament. Lord knows they don't have enough on their plates at the moment.

In the meantime keep us updated MPC.

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Havok

This would be like Activision sueing Ubisoft/Techland because 'Call of Duty' is sooooo similar in name to 'Call of Juarez'.

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bloodgain

You're right! A game with "Call of" in the title about shooting guns in a well-known pseudo-historical context! Activision should totally sue them!

Oh, wait, but they won't, because Ubisoft isn't a small indy developer that can be bullied. Oh, right -- and because it would be ridiculous.

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MaximumMike

This is stupid. Patent/copyright/trademark legislation has gotten out of hand. Everyone involved (legislators, lawyers, judges, corporate lobyists, etc) should be marched out in the middle of the street and shot.

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jiveturkey

This story is BS. Zenimax sent the letter, not Bethesda. Come on guys.

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Havok

That's true, but the Bethesda legal team is provided by their parent company, Zenimax. So, therefore, Bethesda is sueing Mojang. Zenimax is afraid that one word will screw over their franchise. In my mind, it already has. I ain't buying Skyrim now.

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skirge01

First, companies pay for laws to be written, so the bigger wallet wins.

Second, most gamers are not loyal at all.  They'll jump ship at the first opportunity.

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bachman

I for one plan on speaking with my wallet.  If enough people buy Notch's games and boycott bethesda's, maybe they'll grow up.  That's probably wishful thinking though.

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thetechchild

There's no way in hell that Bethesda has the right to do this. Bethesda is not a generic owner of the RPG concept, nor is it the owner of the word "Scrolls." That's like saying George Lucas has rights to the word "Star" and "Wars."

I can't say if Notch will settle, or if he'll win any court case that he decides to go through with, but I can say that the general public will definitely back Notch. If Bethesda doesn't want to feel the hatred of the community in the sales and revenue of their games, some higher-up had better realize that they're stupid to try to pull their big corporation weight to bully an indie dev.

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iceman08

well, George Lucas (lucasfilms) has rights to the word "lightsaber". If a movie with the name "lightsaber chronicles" came out and with a similar premise, but was a webisode, I think he can get his money's worth from the creators. tho I don't agree with the bullying of the indie dev. that's just poor taste

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Biceps

Right, but he created the entire idea of a lightsaber.  Scrolls have been around for millenia.

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iceman08

And no one has thought to license the name "scrolls" until these guys, possibly, and licensed it as a title name. common words like "the", "and" and "it" are impossible to enforce licensing on those words. either way, somebody better have good lawyers

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bloodgain

You don't license names and words, you license intellectual property that is protected by copyright or a patent.  You can trademark a name, and "Elder Scrolls" is trademarked, but that doesn't keep someone from using the word "elder" or "scrolls" in another trademark or title.  They're only suing because it's an RPG that uses "scrolls" in its title, so they think they can bully him by claiming that he's piggy-backing off of their title (see "derived works").

For example, as you and Biceps were discussing, Lucas has "lightsaber" trademarked in both name and design, but they can really only do anything about it when someone uses the same work or mimics a Lucas lightsaber design.

Here's a short list of names Lucas can't (and doesn't) do anything about people using: light sword, laser sword, plasma sword, energy sword, laser saber, plasma saber, energy saber.  So if a web show called "Lightsword Chronicles" came out, Lucas couldn't do a thing about it, unless they cribbed directly from Star Wars IP.

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iceman08

LucasArts went after Wicked Lasers for mimicing a lightsaber with a laser pointer

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bloodgain

You're right, they did -- because it copied specific designs created by LucasArts.  I probably should have been more specific.  LucasArts can't go after someone for mimicking the idea behind a lightsaber, that is a handle with a "sword" made up of charged particles emanating from it.  If someone cribs Darth Vader's lightsaber handle, though, LucasArts can certainly claim copyright/trademark infringement.

Do you really not see the distinction there? Bethesda/Zenimax is trying to stop someone from using a common English word alongside the concept of an RPG, neither of which Bethesda came up with. If the game interface for Scroll's Edge looked just like Oblivion's interface, Bethesda would have every right to do something about it, but then the game could be called "Generic RPG by Notch" and it would still infringe on their design.

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