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The Courts Games

Bethesda's 'Scrolls' Lawsuit Going Ahead 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the really-guys dept.
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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Bethesda's 'Scrolls' Lawsuit Going Ahead

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  • Just Plane Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedgemage (934558) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @11:38PM (#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.
  • What. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @11:41PM (#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:He's a moron. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdpars (1480913) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @11:54PM (#37535784)
    He offered them a settlement just as ridiculous as the lawsuit they proposed.
  • Re:He's a moron. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:00AM (#37535848) Homepage

    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.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:18AM (#37535976) Homepage

    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:what!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:24AM (#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.

  • The Law Should Say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squiffy (242681) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:49AM (#37536168) Homepage

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:03AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:22AM (#37536596)

    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.

    Good grief, have you been so brainwashed by the establishment that "buying second hand" is now synonymous to you with "stealing"? It would be debatable even if gp was pirating but... really? Have we come to this?

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