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Bethesda's 'Scrolls' Lawsuit Going Ahead

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the really-guys dept.

The Courts 332

New submitter person46 writes "Bethesda's lawsuit against Mojang, developers of Minecraft, is going to court. As you may recall, Bethesda is claiming copyright infringement over the title of Mojang's upcoming CCG/board game Scrolls. Bethesda claims that the name and game concept are too similar to their well-known RPG franchise The Elder Scrolls. '[C]ourt documents show that Bethesda lawyers plan to use comments on Scrolls articles and videos from around the web to show how people will confuse Scrolls with The Elder Scrolls. He also added that they've captured screenshots of Scrolls' trailer as a way of showing how Mojang has copied Bethesda because both Skyrim and Scrolls contain mountains.' Mojang founder Notch had offered to settle the dispute with a friendly game of Quake 3, but apparently Bethesda wasn't up for that."

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332 comments

He's a moron. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535456)

Mojang founder Notch had offered to settle the dispute with a friendly game of Quake 3, but apparently Bethesda wasn't up for that."

Yes, because he is an idiot.

Re:He's a moron. (2, Insightful)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535784)

He offered them a settlement just as ridiculous as the lawsuit they proposed.

Re:He's a moron. (5, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535848)

Mojang founder Notch had offered to settle the dispute with a friendly game of Quake 3, but apparently Bethesda wasn't up for that."

Yes, because he is an idiot.

Not at all. This is equal parts a legal battle and a PR battle.

Minecraft has a significant amount of credibility. It is a beloved name, and has a lot of goodwill.

And so do the Eldar Scrolls and Bethesda.

By making his claim, he was giving them an out to retain some face, and reinforced his persona of the gamer everydude gone successful.

By refusing it, Bethesda comes across as a soulless corporate entity.

But lets not forget the major problem with this whole mess. Bethesda is claiming the ownership of the concept of Scrolls in video games. This is something that has a laughable amount of prior history, and should be laughed out of court. SHOULD being the key words here.

what!? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535464)

'... as a way of showing how Mojang has copied Bethesda because both Skyrim and Scrolls contain mountains.'

I think I might have a case against... just about every shooter out there!

After all, I can demonstratively prove they all feature the ground, which I believe I knew of way back in the 80s! (when I was like, 2)

Re:what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535492)

I believe IBM patented ground already.

Re:what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535722)

No, that was clearly Apple.

Re:what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535780)

Actually the Ground was invented by General Electric.

Re:what!? (1)

ProfM (91314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536300)

Actually the Ground was invented by General Electric.

I thought God sued General Electric and won, by showing prior art.

Re:what!? (2, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536022)

'... as a way of showing how Mojang has copied Bethesda because both Skyrim and Scrolls contain mountains.'

I think I might have a case against... just about every shooter out there!

The whole summary is a complete troll. Firstly, this is not about copyright but trademark infringement (as has been stated here already). Why do people get these concepts so confused. I am sure that some idiot here will mention patents too. (Oh look, it was me!)

And who was it that made this claim that it was about copying mountains? Why the business developer of the company who want to belittle the entire lawsuit! The quip about settling this with a Quake 3 game is another attempt to trivialise the dispute.

The thing is, this is a textbook trademark dispute. It doesn't matter that one side is a big company and the other a smaller one. If It had been Bethesda who made Elder Scrolls VI: Minecraft then everyone would be cheering Mojang when they defended their trademarks against the big bully company.

Re:what!? (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536078)

That's a bit different. Scrolls is just a generic word that's been around for centuries. Minecraft is a word that I wasn't aware of at all until Notch created it. If it was in use at all prior to the game being conceived of, it wasn't in common use at the time.

Re:what!? (2)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536370)

In the spirit of Slashdot pedantry, I'll point out that the name Mincecraft was created by Paul Eres, who is not part of Mojang.

Your point hits near the mark though. The more descriptive the trademark, the more difficult it is to enforce. Minecraft is pretty descriptive but as a compound word made of words that normally wouldn't be sequenced as such a phrase, it's got a slight edge over Elder Scrolls. Scrolls by itself seems pretty weak when compared to either of the other brands.

Geez (2)

aitikin (909209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535480)

Come now, we all know one game is not enough. You need at least a best of 3, minimum. 3 out of 5 is reasonable, but 5 out of 9 is where we get reasonable. If Notch were serious, he wouldn't have lowballed it!

For a moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535488)

I thought Maryland is suing Israel and Google to take down the dead sea scrolls for copyright infringement.

Re:For a moment (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535532)

Yeah good point. The state of Maryland and the state of Israel should sue Bethesda for stealing that name. It can be confusing - do they mean Bethesda the town (CDP) or Bethesda the pool or Bethesda the purveyor of mediocre games that sell only because there's nothing better on the market at the time?

Re:For a moment (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535768)

Well why not? Hollywood, CA has sued Hollywood, FL and Hollywood, MD more than once...

Re:For a moment (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536092)

I guess the reason that Paris, France hasn't sued Paris, Texas is that nobody can figure out who's harming whom.

amusing side note... (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535512)

The very topic of this pending lawsuit is a forbidden one on the bethesda game studios forums.

From my own expierences on that forum several years ago, I can pretty much assure you that it is enforced with gestapo like ferocity, at the behest of the legal and corporate drones, and the moderator staff is all too willing to enforce such censorship.

Long ago I swore off ever buying another bethesda softworks title as direct retail (I will only purchase second hand, to ensure that they never receive any of my money) and things like this only reinforce that opinion.

Re:amusing side note... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535556)

Boohoo. You'll let me use your front lane as my platform to protest things especially things I dislike that you do, right? You're not a hypocrite, right?

Re:amusing side note... (2, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535614)

If you don't believe me, just try going there and asking innocently about it in the forum, and see how politely it gets treated. Seriously, go try it. :)

And no, I am not being hipocritical here. I really do not regret my decision to stop giving them my money.

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535760)

Why would a forum dedicated to a specific developer allow discussion of an unrelated third-party game?

Also: Lots of official forums are moderated by unpaid volunteers. The volunteers do not represent the company. Example: social.bioware.com.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535868)

According to Bethesda, they are not unrelated. They are easily confused with each other. This means users would make innocent mistakes confusing them all the time. Innocent mistakes should be treated politely, not with the vengeful wrath of god.

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536402)

Also: Lots of official forums are moderated by unpaid volunteers. The volunteers do not represent the company.

As one such moderator, I have not illusions that my actions performed at the behest of the forum owners (especially when it runs counter to my normal desires) make me a de facto representative of the company whether any of us likes it or not. There is no other way it can be viewed, although some of my fellow moderators seem to manage it.

Re:amusing side note... (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535584)

well then you surely would not mind me walking into your living room and calling your wife a whore would you?

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535628)

Well, he might like that very much actually. Some guys are weird.

Remember, it's not gay unless they touch, and if it's a woman between then even that's allowed.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535638)

If you're making it up, then yeah, I'll mind. But if you're telling the truth, I'll thank you.

Re:amusing side note... (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535790)

If you're making it up, then yeah, I'll mind. But if you're telling the truth, I'll thank you.

Well, she didn't charge me, so how does that figure in?

Re:amusing side note... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535640)

Seeing as I am not married, nor interested in being married, I fail to see how that would impact me in the least. Knock yourself out.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535908)

It was an example, if you can extrapolate from there than you are as stupid as you seem to be presenting yourself

Re:amusing side note... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535974)

1) the bethsoft game forums allow all kinds of discussions about other games from other vendors. There was even a thriving dwarf fortress discussion going on there several years ago. How is asking about "scrolls" any different, given this information?

2) as a hypothetical fan of bethesda or of their games, where else would you go to ask about their decision to sue this man?

3) as a respectful host, why would you treat any guest, even one that asks an uncomfortable question (even if the question is asked politely) like they had just raped your wife, and not simply calmly and politely answer the question? Does this not show a lack of genuine respect for ones guests? I did not suggest going there and trolling, I suggested there and politely asking. Big difference.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536146)

as I just got done stating to another person who thinks this lawsuit involves them at all, it does not involve you, they do not owe you a single word about a lawsuit that you are not involved in no matter how much you want to bitch and whine

if your interested in it, go look it up, and go spectate it in court, but dont be suprised when you start running your mouth if the judge doesnt remove you just the same.

and no if someone called my wife a whore, they would be lucky if all they were shown was the door

Re:amusing side note... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536190)

As a customer (former at least) of thiers, it does concern me if the money I spend is used to finance the harrassment of other developers, much like it IS the business of customers who buy clothing made in sweatshops to ask if the clothing they are buying finances the use of said sweatshops. Asking the question is not a crime, regardless of your opinion of the matter.

As for your admission about resorting instantly to violence, that simply exposes your own personality failings as a host. That is NOT proper ettiquette for hosting a social function, such as a party or a public forum.

Can I try? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536106)

In the odd circumstance that you were to marry, you would be married to a whore, because only a whore would have the constitution required to subject herself to marrying you. Fortunately to all of the whores out there, you're "not interested" in being married, which everyone knows is code for "not even a whore would marry me."

Re:Can I try? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536158)

Lol

Thanks, I needed that. Good ol ac we know and love.

I amsurprised you didn't insinuate that I am gay though. Afterall, if I am not interested in pussy I must be interested in dick, right?

You are losing your touch ac. I expected so much more from you.

Better luck next time.

I truly do not think you are gay. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536304)

I hold firm on my hypothesis that you are so repulsive on a human level, that not even a whore would marry you, even if it was her last chance to stop sucking diseased cock for shitty money.

Re:I truly do not think you are gay. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536336)

Much better!

I am glad to see that the quality of ac trolling has not totally slipped by the wayside here!

But I am a little disappointed that you didn't slip at least one reference to my mother's basement, or to my neckbeard being of such a horrific nature that it even gives RMS pause.

But I will applaud a good troll when I see one. Good job sir!

Re:amusing side note... (2, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535834)

well then you surely would not mind me walking into your living room and calling your wife a whore would you?

The living room analogy again? I see this every time there's a mention of forum censorship. And it's a completely foolish response.

If we insist on some analogy to meatspace, a developer's user-forum is more like an open house. They've specifically invited anyone and everyone with an interest in their product, their brand, and their company to a central space for discussion and information dispersal. Tiptoeing around and only say positive things about the host may be polite in some ways, but it completely and utterly defeats the purpose of showing up at a place intended to directly connect the fans. Harsh opinions exist; don't pretend to make a cozy central gathering place for your customers to converse amongst themselves, and with you, then proceed to ruthlessly censor all critical or controversial comments.

If you don't plan on allowing negative viewpoints or serious discussions you can't call it a forum with a straight face.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535894)

ok so if you invite me in to your living room and call your wife a whore ...

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535950)

Wait - now he's inviting you in and calling his own wife a whore? Please state your bad analogies clearly.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535986)

Not at all actually. Inviting you into his home (regardless of the status of his whore wife) was not a request or solicitation for feedback on your part. These forums ARE a solicitation for feedback so your entire premise has been invalid from the start.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536122)

ok lets try another route, why the hell do you feel that you are in any way shape or form in a position to demand information about a lawsuit from one of the involved parties when you are not one of the involved parties?

If they do not want to talk about it, its their right, you however have no rights in it other than an interested spectator

Re:amusing side note... (-1, Troll)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535756)

Long ago I swore off ever buying another bethesda softworks title as direct retail (I will only purchase second hand, to ensure that they never receive any of my money) and things like this only reinforce that opinion.

Because god forbid your morality should deprive you of playing their fantastic games. That's just inconvenient. Stealing really gets the message across.
So pathetic.

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535792)

Derp? How is purchasing second hand stealing?

Re:amusing side note... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535804)

Actually, I value their "wonderful content" so much that I wait for the actual retail price to drop below 20$, THEN buy it second hand, and then only on a whim to see if it was even worth the effort.

Also, second hand sales are not stealing. Stop drinking the industry koolaid.

Re:amusing side note... (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535818)

Hold on. Buying second hand is now stealing? That's AWESOME news, since selling second hand games would then be dealing in stolen property, and we can put gamestop out of our misery!

Re:amusing side note... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536222)

Are you suggesting that secondhand purchases are stealing, that wierd_w should steal the game to get the message across, or something else? :)

Re:amusing side note... (2)

strack (1051390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536380)

id like to think you just missed where he said he was buying it 2nd hand. but you went and put that quote in your comment, so i have to conclude that your are so fucking stupid as to think buying things 2nd hand is stealing.

Re:amusing side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535820)

Long ago I swore off ever buying another bethesda softworks title as direct retail (I will only purchase second hand, to ensure that they never receive any of my money) and things like this only reinforce that opinion.

I don't like the clothes you wear (i.e., you look like a whore) so I'm going to rape you and steal your virginity.

its not as catchy but maybe they could call it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535576)

Rolled up parchment

Copyright infringement (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535620)

"Bethesda is claiming copyright infringement," no they're claiming trademark infringement. Big difference.

Re:Copyright infringement (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536104)

Indeed, what's the penalty for copyright infringement these days? Is it up to hanging yet?

I think that Notch is lucky that it's just trademark infringement and not copyright infringement that Bethesda is taking them to court over.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535630)

If I made a movie named "Star" who would sue me first: the Star Trek people or the Star Wars people?

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535846)

You might also have to deal with the people behind Stargate, or Dancing with the Stars. : P

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535862)

Porn actresses. There are lots of them named Star. Or so I've heard, anyway.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535864)

Depends, are going to have them fight crinkly-forehead guys with laser swords?

Trademark vs copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535636)

The summary says copyright infringement... I think the submitter has confused copyright with trademark...
The post should be tagged trademark instead of copyright as well.

Just Plane Stupid (5, Insightful)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535644)

Bethesda's legal trolls are missing a major marketing opportunity here that would benefit both their organization and Mojang.
If they had accepted Notch's offer for a Quake match, then their marketing dept. could have spun it into a major event. See the example of Southwest Airlines vs. Stephens Aviation over the phrase "Just Plane Smart". The CEOs agreed to arm wrestle for it with the loser giving up their claim and donating $5000 to charity. The arm-wrestling event was publicized and tickets were sold, $15,000 was raised for charity, and both organizations benefited from positive media exposure.
Now Bethesda, regardless of outcome, is going to be viewed as a big douchebag beating up on a little guy.

Re:Just Plane Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535770)

Legal and marketing are different dept, often with its own budgets to protect if the organization is big enough; and they have to make themselves relevant about once every quarter. Otherwise, the dept. is disbanded and the company will just rely on contractor on as-need basis.

I agree, it's a great idea to settle over Quake, but the legal team needs to make themselves relevant for the organization. I'm sure their marketing dept is also screaming at them.

In short, lawyers are greedy always looking out for their own self-interest...?

Re:Just Plane Stupid (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535976)

They just made themselves very relevant: they're going to drum up so much hatred that even the lazy gamers will be inclined to boycott them.

You have to be pretty fucking moronic, lawyer or not, to go after an indie developer with as much fan support as Mojang. I frankly don't get the whole fad with Minecraft, but obviously a million people absolutely love it and many have DONATED money for Minecraft. Good luck finding a million people to donate for yet another interchangeable Gamebryo "platform for short-lived DLC" shooter.

People aren't hating on Bethesda because it's trendy, they're hating because this is a blatantly ridiculous bullying expedition. Nobody owns the word "scrolls", it's a fucking word. Nobody owns the concept of mountains, they're fucking mountains. You want prior art ? Open a dictionary, look out the window.

And nobody owns the concept of a medieval backdrop involving knights and jesus freaks and tyrannical monarchs. It's called fucking HISTORY.

If Bethesda wins anything in this court case, it will be yet another sign to the world that America is beyond saving from the hypercapitalist godmachine it has created.

Re:Just Plane Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536052)

You have to realize where those Bethesda lawyers come from.
They have studied and lived their entire adult lives in the twisted reality that the media Mafia* created. Like North Koreans actually believe their hands would fall off when they touch an American flag (watch the Daily Show interview), they actually believe you could own an idea, information or even just a word.
We all live in such "different views". Simply based on the input we got.
This is why I always say that Wikipedia, Democracy (or Socialism or "transition to" Communism for that matter)... or any system relying on an "absolute objective truth" cannot ever work, and will end in dictatorship (because to them, their *own* personal subjective reality == "absolute objective truth") if a group manages to be in control.
Because nobody knows what the actual reality is. And if you know a bit of philosophy and quantum physics, you know that we also never will. (But that that is not a problem in practice, as long as our theories are useful to make predictions because nothing contradicts them [yet].)

So the thing is, to not let those crazy criminals be in power!
Which, looking at their ridiculously tiny global sales volume compared to other industries, in about as hard as crushing a bug. It's only their overblown confidence (caused by regular cocaine abuse [I've seen it with my own eyes]) and acting big that makes us think they would have any power.

And unfortunately, it politicians fall for it to.
Which is where the above point of managing to be in control comes into play.

___
* And I'm not using this word as a childish hyperbole. By suing other people for imaginary entitlement over works created by others, they are playing a racketeering scheme and destroying lives, while using creative people like prostitutes, sucking dry all creativity and keeping nearly all of the money.

Re:Just Plane Stupid (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536240)

Little guy? how is 50 million euros+ from a java-tard one-hit wonder a "little guy"?
 
Even Garry's Mod has more capabilities, better graphics, etc, etc and hasn't made as much as minecraft which is vastly inferior.

Publicity stunt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535646)

Notch doesn't have much credibility here. He:

  • - announces his new game, Scrolls, months before the upcoming release of the Skyrim
  • - hurriedly plans for Minecraft to exit beta status (ETA: Skyrim release day)

Lawsuit is simply BS. I won't shed a tear for Notch though.

Copyright? (2)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535666)

The story claims that this is about copyright, and then links another slashdot story that doesn't mention copyright once.

Every [osnews.com] story [arstechnica.com]I can [gamespy.com] find [wordpress.com] about this says that it is a trademark dispute, not copyright.

What. (5, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535672)

This is the turf you choose to defend, BethSoft? The word 'scrolls'?

You do realize that the whole 'elder scrolls' part of your fiction is ancillary at BEST, right? Virtually all of the written works are contained in proper books, and the idea of history scrolls as important is left to the occasional sidequest - it's mostly a holdover title.

You do realize that this whole fight is literally a big developer gunning down on a small independent developer making a freaking collectable card battle game variant?

Even if you win, you're just going to look like a complete jackass, in a field that depends on you looking like somewhat decent people when you're trying to sell fantasy worlds to gamers.

This is not the fight to have, not the opponent to defeat, and not a good way to spend your money or life.

Wake up, you're making a horrible mistake, and you can't win this kind of fight, a fight only you seem to want to have.

Ryan Fenton

Re:What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536064)

The lawyers are probably bored. They probably also go golfing with the CEO, so they have an automatic stamp of approval on whatever they do, no matter how stupid.

"Dead Sea" - Oops, Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535680)

Scrolls - as in moving screen image with depressed mouse (poor mouse)....

And the legal teams vote for...? (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535714)

Who is more likely to win this, to me, legal battle being fought for the sake of there being a legal battle?

Quite frankly, I can't see 'Scrolls' as being that unique a game name in the first place. Confusing it with 'The Elder Scrolls' seems like a fairly long stretch given I always thought of it as 'Elder Scrolls' and never 'Scrolls' even before this lawsuit. It's like comparing cats to catapults. *Keyboard cat!*

Re:And the legal teams vote for...? (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535732)

...thought of it as 'Elder Scrolls' and never 'Scrolls' even before this lawsuit...

Sorry, 'it' refers to the game 'Elder Scrolls' not 'Scrolls'. Oops.

Scrolls? Really? (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535726)

Sadly, while I've played and liked the previous games, and was looking forward to Skyrim. The very idea that they would actually sue over the word "scroll" in relation to RPGs completely destroys any respect I might have for the company. I hope they realize that whatever they could possibly hope to win in this lawsuit will cost them in good will from customers. As I for one have no intention of buying any more of their products... Add another entertainment company to the list of companies just not to purchase from.

Bethesda Blew It (1)

virb67 (1771270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535734)

Bethesda blew it. They could have had the biggest PR coup ever by taking Notch up on his Quake 3 offer. Now they just look like douchebags.

Re:Bethesda Blew It (2)

virb67 (1771270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535948)

Let me elaborate on what a Bethesda PR coup could have looked like. They could have had Notch agree to a Quake 3 battle, but admit the word 'scrolls' is part of their trademark. If his team won, the Notch has licensee rights for his game. If he wanted to use this name for other games/ sequels, then another tournament would be necessary, under the same terms. Then they could have turned this Quake 3 tournament into an internet PR extravaganza for both parties. The tournament itself could be webcast live on the net with all kinds of juicy marketing tie-ins for both parties. If Notch won, Bethesda looks humble and magnanimous, earning internet sweetheart status. And even if Bethesda won, they could have gave Notch permission to use the name anyways, with their conditions, in a gesture of good will -- same result. Now they'll be loathed as big corporate bullies. And they've gained nothing.

Obligitory Quasi-Legal Bit (2)

bv728 (943505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535738)

Bethesda are required to provide the court with a comprehensive list of points of similarity, including minor ones. If they do not provide a point of similarity, it can be used against them as evidence that their claim is incomplete, that they concede certain elements of similarity do not infringe, or that their understanding of the property is incomplete. The Judge is expected to filter through this list and determine which elements are co-incidental and which contribute to possible infringement, as well as evaluating them for any potential damages, if it comes to that.

Re:Obligitory Quasi-Legal Bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535932)

And if the Judge decides that Bethesda's list is purely frivolous (both have mountains is an actual point they're submitting to the court?), the Judge can decide to just throw the book at Bethesda and have them pay Mojang's legal fees for wasting everyone's time.

Re:Obligitory Quasi-Legal Bit (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536084)

They are also required to take all reasonable legal action to protect their trademark, and failure to do so can be used against them in the future. They may not care if Notch names his game "Scrolls", and may not even believe that it would meaningfully weaken their brand, but if they fail to take any action a future game could do something with far more potential to cause harm and use this example to defend themselves.

Trademarks work quite differently from copyrights, that is one of the many ways.

Re:Obligitory Quasi-Legal Bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536282)

or that their understanding of the property is incomplete.

I'd say that the fact they're suing over SCROLLS in a ROLE PLAYING GAME indicates that their understanding of the property is GREATLY incomplete.

Stupid is as stupid does (1)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535806)

Bethesda is being stupid. Bad PR for them -- although the addicts will buy Skyrim anyway. Most people I know don't call Bethesda's games "Elder Scrolls"; they play "Morrowind" or "Oblivion" or "Skyrim". No one goes looking for "Elder Scrolls IV mods", they look for "Oblivion mods".

And only an idiot would confuse a collectible card game from and indie publisher with a single-player RPG from a major software house. By all the gods, am I going to be sued by Bethesda because my novels have mountains and scrolls in them? Sheesh.

While I'm sure Bethesda doesn't care about my opinion or my money, I will not be buying Skyrim, nor will I purchase any other Bethesda products, or products that they are involved in. I will, however, buy Scrolls from Mojang.

Thanks Bethesda (1)

RandomAdam (1837998) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535844)

Well thanks to this debacle I have herd of an interesting new game and signed up for the Alpha..... I also own Oblivion, but I doubt that I will be giving any more money to Bethesda.....seriously mountains???? WTF

Amicus curiae (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535880)

Any game developers on /. care to file a friend of the court brief regarding this case? It could be your studio that gets dragged into litigation next.

on the trademark claim... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535910)

Go ahead and search on http://tess2.uspto.gov/ [uspto.gov] for "scrolls"

With a filing date of May of this year, Mojang applied for a word mark on the word "Scrolls". Check the link, but this is just some of the claims they're making:

"Computer games; video games; computer software; computer and video games software; computer software downloaded or downloadable; computer software publications downloaded; interactive entertainment software; data recorded electronically from the Internet; data recorded in machine readable form from the Internet; discs, tapes, cartridges, CD-ROMs and other magnetic, electronic or optical media, all bearing computer games software or video games; electronic amusement apparatus for use with television receivers; electronic games apparatus; home video game machines"

Maybe a lawyer can come along and clarify if this is Bethesda being paranoid or if they're justified in feeling threatened.

I'm confused... (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535922)

...so which of the two is a remake of the 1984 Atari 8-bit game The Scrolls of Abadon [atarimania.com]? Darn confusing titles! Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Miami Vice vs. CSI Miami... there should be a law against that!

Does anyone care that the games are Elder Scrolls? (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535958)

From Morrowind on, the game's subtitle became far more important than the fact that it was in the Elder Scrolls series. There really is no brand recognition. Every gamer knows Skyrim is coming out and they identify it as that not as TESV.

Re:Does anyone care that the games are Elder Scrol (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536100)

There absolutely is brand recognition. Everyone who's excited about Skyrim knows it's the sequel to Oblivion, and most of them know that Oblivion was the sequel to Morrowind. I could have told you I was excited to play TESV long before the actual title was announced.

If Notch was calling his game "Elder Scrolls" or something like that, the Bethesda would have a valid complaint. Of course, that's not what's going on, and they don't.

Re:Does anyone care that the games are Elder Scrol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536278)

I'd go so far as to say that it didn't even matter with Daggerfall either. I never heard anyone even casually refer to it as The Elder Scrolls II, even back when it first came out. Hell, I didn't even know The Elder Scrolls was part of the title until years later, after Morrowind came out as the successor to Daggerfall. I've heard similar to those who first played Morrowind, then years later hearing about Oblivion coming out.

Before I made the connection that the Elder Scrolls was part of the title and even a series, I just was more enthused with Bethesda making another first-person RPG than anything.

Mojang filed for a trademark on "Scrolls" (1)

deep9x (1068252) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535990)

Seriously. This isn't them getting a cease and desist for using a word, this is them being forced to defend their "Elder Scrolls" trademark because Mojang was seeking the trademark for "Scrolls." This isn't evil lawyers, this isn't evil companies, it's dumb systems. RPS has a good article on it here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/08/bethesda-and-notchs-scrolls-off-explained/ [rockpapershotgun.com]

Shhh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536160)

Common sense won't stop the butthurt.

Nor do I expect will the butthurt stop the holders of hurt butts from slamming money down on Skyrim later this year.

Minecraft, Warcraft, Starcraft... (1)

Pesticidal (1148911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536024)

So what are the chances that Blizzard will go after them next if Bethesda succeeds?

Re:Minecraft, Warcraft, Starcraft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536182)

90%

Re:Minecraft, Warcraft, Starcraft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536204)

I'm surprised this hasn't come up earlier. With the litigation that Facebook was doing with any and all sites named —book and Face—, it's a tad surprising Blizzard hasn't already tried to chime in on Minecraft.

Bethesday you are a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536072)

3:::::D

Congradulations Dumbthesda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536102)

You just lost many customers. Most were probably fans.

The Law Should Say (4, Insightful)

Squiffy (242681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536168)

The law should say that the trademark holder must either defend the trademark *or* proactively grant license to use it when it looks like someone might be in violation. IANAL but it seems like the law binds your hands if you hold a trademark. Either you act like a douchebag or lose it.

Ohhh, Slashdot. (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536238)

Honestly, all opinions on the case aside, the summary seems a bit biased.

Re:Ohhh, Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536272)

Yes. It's biased because the case is absolutely groundless and Bethesda are being complete douchebags.

Understanding Trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536316)

I wish people learn how trademark works. Every time there is a silly trademark lawsuit we get the knee jerking reaction in the news that the plaintiff is evil. Unfortunately, the way our system is set up, it requires trademark holder to sue no matter what.

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