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.

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Companies: mojang, putt putt

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

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Lonyo says:

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.”

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

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.

madasahatter (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Dogbreath says:

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.

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