Mojang and Bethesda Spar Over Scrolls

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ZeniMax MediaNotch of Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft, has been working on another game, this one entitled Scrolls. Notch announced on his blog that a Swedish law firm, acting on behalf of Bethesda Softworks "...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."

The idea is clearly that Bethesda Softworks (part of ZeniMax Media) owns a franchise known as The Elder Scrolls and is arguing that Scrolls infringes upon that franchise. Notch's tone is appropriately conciliatory, but most of the outraged coverage of this misses a few points. Bethesda Softworks has to defend its properties, or it will not be able to control that name in the future. Bethesda has performed that important step. If Notch mounts a reasonable defense and then Bethesda drops the issue, then Bethesda is only doing what our current legal system virtually requires of them. The proof will come in the coming days. If Notch defends the Scrolls name and Bethesda still tries to force him to drop it, then Bethesda is almost certainly in the wrong, arguing that they essentially own a single English word in common usage if it's ever applied to video games. That's unreasonable.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on August 6, 2011 8:09 AM.

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