There are two reasons for this news item. First, I want this issue resolved. Second, it allows me to post the most awesome picture ever and ever. The story is simple. Mojang, the company behind the immensely successful Minecraft, is working on a second game called ‘Scrolls’, which has been in development for a while now. As it turns out, Bethesda has sent a cease and desist notice to Mojang – they claim ‘Scrolls’ infringes on ‘The Elder Scrolls’ trademark. As a fan of both Minecraft and Bethesda, this is just silly.
As Notch, Minecraft’s creator, also states, this probably has very little to do with Bethesda’s developers. Considering the fact that Bethesda’s game director Todd Howard and Notch even interviewed each other at E3, I’m assuming the developers had no idea about this – this is probably the lawyer department.
Fact remains, the issue is real. It didn’t pop up out of nowhere though; six months ago, Mojang filed a trademark for ‘Scrolls’, and this drew the attention of Bethesda’s lawyers. They claimed it conflicted with their The Elder Scrolls trademark, but Mojang studied the whole situation and realised Bethesda didn’t have much of a case. Still, Mojang went out of their way to suggest a compromise.
“We suggested a compromise where we’d agree to never put any words in front of ‘Scrolls’, and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of ‘Scrolls – The Banana Expansion’,” Notch details, “I’m not sure if they ever got back to us with a reply to this.”
Well, they did, but not in the way Notch expected. “Today, I got a 15 page letter from some Swedish lawyer firm, saying they demand us to stop using the name Scrolls, that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court), and that they demand a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started,” Notch states.
It’s an odd situation. I’m a massive Bethesda fan, and even though I’m able to glitch Fallout 3 or New Vegas within 45 seconds from any location on the map, I always greatly enjoy their games. In fact, in my mind, the entirety of 2011 so far has been nothing but an annoyingly long and boring run-up to November 11 when Skyrim comes out. So, seeing Bethesda pull a Langdell is really disconcerting.
Fix this, Bethesda.
Such as threatening not to buy Skyrim if Bethesda remains an ass? I understand that Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are too big to be affected by moves like this, but I would imagine a game company maintains closer ties to its customers (esp. since piracy is a much bigger problem for them)?
Or maybe we can ask Chaosium to go after Bethesda because of the word “elder”…
Edited 2011-08-06 09:07 UTC