Putt-Putt Fails To Comprehend User-Generated Content, Sends C&D To Mojang Over Mini Golf Games Recreated With Minecraft

from the those-protecting-the-brand-seem-least-capable-of-the-position dept

I suppose kids staying indoors playing their video games and zoning out to a steady stream of YouTube videos and social media streams has had a slightly deleterious effect on mini-golf giant Putt-Putt's fortunes. That theoretical downturn might explain the cease-and-desist letter sent to Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, threatening to sue the developer if tons of user-generated content doesn't just up and vanish from the web.

Putt-Putt, the entity behind the chain of miniature golf courses so prevalent that its name has practically become synonymous with the hobby, is threatening to sue Minecraft developer Mojang over user-generated levels that allegedly infringe upon the "Putt-Putt" name.

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson released the cease-and-desist letter on Twitter along with the musing, "Putt-Putt being silly."

"It has recently come to our attention that Mojang AB has been using, without authorization our famous Putt-Putt trademarks in connection with your business," said the letter. "We feel that Mojang AB's use of of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt."
Putt Putt offered the following screenshot as "proof" of Mojang's wrongdoing.


The President and CEO of Putt Putt, David Callahan, threatens to "refer this matter to our legal counsel" and "seek damages of a reasonable royalty for Mojang AB's past infringing use." Hopefully, Putt Putt's legal counsel will save Callahan a bit of money by explaining user-generated content to him. Mojang didn't create the Putt Putt "knockoffs," nor, in a majority of these cases, does it even host the servers where the content is contained. (Mojang only began offering hosting in May of 2013.)

Putt-Putt's move makes no sense, as Alex Chapman, a lawyer contacted by Eurogamer points out:
"Mojang doesn't control what users build and Mojang doesn't control the content of the videos users make. Suing Mojang for what people do using Minecraft is like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word."
If Putt-Putt seriously wants to make this content vanish (and protect the brand), it will have to go after individual users, something not known for its cost-effectiveness or PR value. Sony spent some time killing off "infringing" user generated content crafted by fans of the M-rated E-rated LittleBigPlanet series, but it failed to net the beleaguered company much more than additional scorn to throw on top of the pile of scorn it had already amassed due to previous assaults on its customers.

Mojang isn't complying with this C&D simply because there's nothing for it to comply with. The deadline was July 10th, so hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see if Putt-Putt managed to find counsel willing to pursue Callahan's folly.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Lonyo, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Cease and Desist

    Mojang/Notch should send a cease and desist letter to Putt-Putt asking them to stop putting up content which promotes their brand using Minecraft to create the content.

    Clearly Putt-Putt are using Minecraft and the associated brand to get online users interested in Minigolf and trying to build an association using the Minecraft brand without compensating Mojang.

    "It has recently come to our attention that Putt-Putt has been using, without authorization our famous Minecraft trademarks in connection with your business," said the letter. "We feel that Putt-Putts's use of of the Minecraft name has benefited Putt-Putt to the detriment of Minecraft."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Holy crap, there are mini-golf mods? Must have.

    Thanks, Putt-Putt, for alerting me.

     

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  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    If ppl could sue for user generated content I'd sue Mike for allowing retardation from the likes of ootb, bob and aj =/

    Ahem. They should be THRILLED their brand is so remembered by the kids. I mean, mini-golf is kind of dorky and not the type of thing kids would love... (my own opinion lmao)

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Cease and Desist

    That would be an epic response. Have my insightful vote.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:49am

    ' like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word.'

    but Google is constantly having to remove links from it's search, but doesn't put the sites on the web. the third party business seems to come into play, or be left out, depending on who wants what

     

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  6.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see if Putt-Putt managed to find counsel willing to pursue Callahan's folly.
    Please, oh please let them have found counsel willing to take their money. I could use a good laugh over some copyright troll smack-down.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Free Advertising

    The analogy with MS Word is a bit off. It should read, "...like suing Microsoft for people making advertisements for your product using Word."

    The reasonable response here would be to make better quality resources available to people who want to build Minecraft Putt-Putt courses. Give them graphical assets that go with the image you want to project and invite them to your company web page to find those assets.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    Google is digging its own hole there.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Dogbreath, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Based on this logic, it's time for Putt-Putt to send a C&D to LEGO

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Maybe they can get Prenda Law to take the case.

     

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  11.  
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    Transmitte (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Wait, putt putt is still around? Go figger...

     

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  12.  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    I've heard of Minecraft

    What the hell is Putt-Putt?

     

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  13.  
    icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Note as evidence they entered the phrase "putt putt craft" with the corresponding search results. Enter that phrase now and the results will show a page of...stories about this story.

    There really should be a betting pool where we could all guess when the exact "Oh fuck..." moment hits.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    indeed, it would be doubly-amusing to see this formulated as a copyright lawsuit, given that it's alleged trademark infringement :P

     

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  15.  
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    Zimzat (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Given that their search term is for "craft" instead of "minecraft" it has me wondering if they're planning on releasing some product based on 'craft' in relation to their name sake, only to find out that there are already results for that search term and thus their potential product.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    Huh, I had no idea Putt-Putt was a company/brand and was just what it was called.

     

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  17.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Cease and Desist

    You joke, but if Putt Putt was truly innovative and forward thinking, it would have long ago created its own branded Minecraft mini-golf courses.

    If someone in the company had thought to do it, they'd have been promoted. But when someone outside thinks to do it, it's sue time!

     

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  18.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Free Advertising

    Or create those assets yourself, since obviously people are interested in them.

     

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  19.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    What are righthaven's lawyers up to these days?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: I've heard of Minecraft

    Isn't it the noise that old riverboats (steamers) make?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    I think John Steele would be up to the task, that is if his porno career is finally over...

    *Starts warming up popcorn maker*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: I've heard of Minecraft

    I had a car that made that noise too...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Cease and Desist

    I agree, an epic response. Got insightful AND funny from me.

    Maybe...I heard someplace that any publicity is good publicity.

    As noted by more than a few below, the 'trademark' is conflated with either the actual physical game as in "let's go play some putt putt golf", or they had never heard of it at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    I've never heard of the term Putt Putt. I have heard of Pitch and Putt, is that a rival company?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Idiot InaHurry, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Based on this logic, it's time for Putt-Putt to send a C&D to LEGO

    What, Lego and putt-putt merged? Awesome!

     

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  26.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    Google is constantly having to remove links from it's search


    It doesn't have to do this. It chooses to do this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    I wonder if Notch will challenge them to a game of Quake III...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Michael Long (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    "...is like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word."

    Light. Bulb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    madasahatter (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    They are getting free publicity with Mods. I think part of the problem is the proliforation of entertainment and social media has reduced the time spent on other activities. Putt-Putt is not only competing against other outdoor activities but social media, computer gaming, and the Internet. Money and more importantly time spent on these newer activities can not be spent on Putt-Putt.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I think you will see something else if they actually removed the option. Something along the line of hefty fines in certain countries and massive regulative capture from the copyright industry in the rest of the western world to force Google to reintroduce the feature.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Dogbreath, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Based on this logic, it's time for Putt-Putt to send a C&D to LEGO

    Here is the extremely short documentary showing the merger, and subsequent dissolution.

    Aforementioned merger only lasted for a very short time: 1 minute 8 seconds.

    I believe (based solely on the audio), one of the parties "ruined it", although from the video it appears to be unclear what exactly was "ruined". This will more than likely need to be taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, for a clear decision that falls within Constitutional Law. Failing that, I'd recommend no dinner and early bedtime for both parties involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:29am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah but you see, they can insert themselves on the internet, games and stuff. It's all about seizing the opportunity. Why not partner with Mojang and do some advertising?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps, but that would be a change in the law. Currently, Google is not required to do what it's doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    pr, Jul 14th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Yes, Putt-Putt is still around. They have a well deserved reputation for being the lamest of all major miniature golf course chains.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Andrew Nyland, Jul 15th, 2013 @ 5:40pm

    Suggestion

    Notch/Mojang AB and Google should both sue (or send a cease and desist to) Putt Putt, separately. Mojang for already mentioned reasons, and Google could because of unapproved images of their property (their search engine) for harmful or blackmail intent. That would be

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Kendrick, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 2:21am

    Thank you..

    Give them graphical assets that go with the image you want to project and invite. Kendrick

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Halo fan, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 2:34am

    This game should be sued and shut down for copyright hopefully it will end the game brainwashes people anyway people are violently hurting them selfs by banging hand on tree and picking up spiders cave spiders glass and glowstone

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Minecrafter, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 2:35am

    Shad up halo geeky game

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    John Smith, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Thanks

    The two comics done by the guys over at Penny Arcade certainly didn't harm sales either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    LukeWalker (profile), Dec 16th, 2013 @ 10:26pm

    Luke the Master Golfer

    I think both parties are at fault here but Putt-Putt should have known better than to raise their concerns against Mojang. They should focus their problem on improving their on miniature golf course builder instead of creating some conflict.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Ruth, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 9:58pm

    They should definitely compensate for using the brand. Although I do not think that they were actually trying to make any profit out of the name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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