Mojang AB recently received a "cease-and-desist" letter for copyright infringement - using the trademarked name "Putt Putt"! Unfortunately, the claim assumes that Mojang is - by way of Minecraft - authorizing the use of their name and likeness, when this is simply not the case.
Often, the legal department of a company will automatically send cease-and-desist letters to anything their searches turn up that might match their criteria, without reviewing the material in detail. This can seem like a senseless action to anyone who's not been a part of a major corporation's legal team; however, they often have oceans of these kinds of claims to sort through, and it's often simpler to send out blanket requests, with the expectation that legitimate claims will be responded to. For the rest of us, it can result in hilarious misfires, like this one.
Pictured: Not Mojang
Mojang is, of course, not making any use of the amusement center franchise's trademarks.
What sort of golf mods or maps have you come across that are awesome? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
My bet is that Putt-Putt doesn't think that Mojang is really infringing on their trademarks; they're probably looking for danegeld -- they want a payoff to go away. It's sort of corporate extortion: "Pay us or we'll litigate you into the ground. You can't afford to fight us long enough to win." Of course, they never go away. Rudyard Kipling put it best: "For once you have paid him the danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane."
My wallet-vote is very small, but until Putt-Putt apologizes to Mojang, any miniature golfing I do will be done at courses they don't own. I think that would be a fair stance for any and all Minecraft players, and for that matter any people concnerned about this kind of extortion.
You find it illogical, and it should be noted that a judge would find it similarly illogical. There is nothing illegal that Mojang is doing in this case, so it has nothing at all to do with copyright laws or anything else like that.
What this is about is somebody in a legal department of some random company that didn't take the 30 seconds or so to actually watch one of these videos to find out what was going on. For those claiming that this was an "automated" letter of complaint, I promise you that no judge will even consider such a legal briefing (it has been tried and thrown out any time a judge gets a lawyer doing that kind of thing).
There is even a legal concept called barratry, which I hope the lawyers of Putt Putt are going to be thinking very carefully about. In other words, not only will Mojang avoid having a problem, but the lawyer who sent this letter could even be facing criminal prosecution for even sending a letter of this nature. I don't know if Notch wants to have this particular lawyer arrested for incompetence (or challenge the law license of this particular lawyer), but there definitely are things that could happen here which would not be pretty or nice for the Putt Putt legal team. Frivolous lawsuits don't make happy judges, and it makes future lawsuits much weaker when lawyers involved don't take the time to do their homework. This goes beyond merely being stupid.
Heck, if Mojang plays their cards right, they may even make a little money off of this fishing expedition. At the very least, Mojang should send an invoice to Putt Putt for legal fees even responding.
However, this isn't about copyrights; it's about trademarks. There's a BIG difference. They're covered by different laws. They exist for different reasons. They're registered with different agencies in the government. And enforcement works in different ways. In particular, copyrights exist from the moment something is "fixed in tangible form" (say, written down) and do not have to be affirmatively enforced. Trademarks, on the other hand, do have to be enforced or they're lost, such as has happned with trademarks from Aspirin to Zipper in the past. And trademark laws have, in recent years, been used much less often to protect a company's actual product and identity from look-alikes and more often as a weapon against competitors or a tool to pry money loose from unrelated companies.
That latter is, I think, what's happening here. Putt-Putt is hoping that Mojang will hand over money, so they can get thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars for no more effort than sending out a letter. If their legal department is so poor that they genuinely believed that Mojang was in control of what customers did with their product, they'd be fired for incompetence. I think this is a cash grab.
We all play Minecraft. We all know people who play Minecraft. And, it appears, at least some of us play miniature golf. What we, as players, need to do is to contact Putt-Putt and tell them, very politely, that we are not cool with what they're doing, and until they cease and desist in their own actions, and apologize to Mojang, we and anyone we can influence will spend our money with their competitors instead of them. We have to make it clear that it is their actions which has caused this -- that we don't want to do business with people who act as they have. Consider that if even a thousand people out of the millions who play Minecraft don't spend $100 each with Putt-Putt in the next year, that's a hundred K in money they've lost because of this groundless threat to Mojang. This kind of corporate extortion only works because the customers of both companies tolerate it. We don't have to.
"Sliced that one, should have used the iron"
*pulls out iron hoe*
Lets sue all the Minecraft rip offs too. They will at least get what they deserve.
And to think Minecraft was getting Putt Putt added. Ah the fun..
1. this is retarted why would they think mojang did anything.
2. how do i start my own thread i have a few questions to ask and i will need a new thread to do it anyway
So on subject.
Careful. You'll get sued for saying that!
Actually that doesn't matter. You can't have anything too similar either. Just ask the guy selling "Eat More Kale" T-Shirts.
Too late. We eat them anyway.
I'll bring the ketchup.
Mojang posted it, not Putt-Putt. I assume they wanted to expose it for public mockery. It's certainly worthy.
What? They created the amazing point and click Putt-Putt games! (LISTEN I'M NOT A HUGE FAN OF IT)
Oh wait, they're gonna sue Golf Companies, Putting flash game makers, Golf flash game makers, Golf game makers, Golfers, Golf gamers, Putters, and everything else related to Hole in One.
BECAUSE WHY NOT?
We have more than 21 million minecraft users, add the Pocket Edition players and the Xbox360 players. This is 3 time more population than my whole country.