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.