by Zachary Knight

Filed Under:
fus ro dah, games, meme, skyrim

bethesda, zenimax

Zenimax Files For Trademark On A Skyrim Internet Meme

from the arrow-to-the-knee dept

We are all aware of the aggressive nature of Bethesda parent company Zenimax when it comes to trademarks. We now learn that it is not only aggressive in defense of its trademarks but is also an aggressive filer of trademarks for things surrounding its properties. Fusible is reporting that Zenimax has recently filed 6 different trademark applications covering a variety of uses of the phrase "Fus Ro Dah".

For those of you not in the know, "Fus Ro Dah" is a phrase spoken by characters in the Bethesda game Skyrim when casting a spell that sends a blast of energy knocking back anything in its path. For those Star Wars buffs out there, it is very similar to a Jedi Force Push. This spell has spawned its very own meme using both in game footage of the spell use and the use of the phrase just before real people fall on video, as can be seen here:

While we are not entirely sure of Zenimax's true intentions, we do know that due to the ownership culture we have in the US many companies want control over anything related or somewhat related to their properties. This protectionist attitude is probably the primary driver of this move. Zenimax most likely feels that since this meme is based on one of its properties, it should have sole control over its use.

Unfortunately, this move to trademark a meme can actually result in its premature death. Memes are born in the wild and are best able to grow and spread if left to the whims and wiles of those on the internet. Memes cannot be controlled or tamed. If Zenimax's trademark filing is approved, the moment it makes its first move toward control, such as sending a cease and desist or taking down a video, it will feel a backlash by fans of Skyrim. If Zenimax had anyone capable of rational thought running its operation, it would have left this meme be and sat back and enjoyed the free advertising it provides for one of its games.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2012 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re:

    Do you remember any of the other dragon words in the game?

    Probably not.

    Let me explain my reasoning:

    1) Fus Ro Da is in the Dragon Language which was created by ZeniMax.
    2) Fus Ro Da is probably the only shout from which you remember in the game.
    3) If you go up to someone and say "Feim Zii Gron," even if they're a gamer, they probably will have no idea what you are referencing unless they are REALLY into Skyrim. But suddenly you say "Fus Ro Dah!" and it is IMMEDIATELY understood as a reference to Skyrim.

    About Scrolls:

    I do not agree on ZeniMax with suing Mojang over this. I think it's pretty ridiculous myself. But the difference is that if Mojang WERE making a game called "Fus Ro Dah Dragons!" or anything with "Sky" or "Rim" together in it, it's clearly trademark infringement.

    This is where fair use comes into play.

    Fair Use, as described by Wikipedia includes, but not necessarily limited to: "commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship."

    1) Fus Ro Dah used is a part of either criticism, or if you don't agree with that, you can say easily see the parody aspect of it. Wikipedia also reporting: "it can be protected from claims by the copyright owner of the original work under the fair use doctrine."

    2) Let's be honest. Who the f*** would you sue for an internet meme? The CheezBurger networks? Yeah right. They have enough money so that they can afford that lawsuit. 4chan? 4chan has CP on it half of the time, so they can deal with THAT problem first, and then claim DMCA protections.

    3) None of these things are being used for profit. Nobody is trying to sell Skyrim illegally and saying it's completely legal. If they are, they're retarded too. If I came out with a shirt that said "Fus Ro Dah!", then ZeniMax has a COMPLETELY reasonable reason to sue me! I am USING THEIR WORK THAT THEY CREATED WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. That is COPYRIGHT or TRADEMARK infringement.

    What you freaks are calling for is the total abolishment of copyright and trademark in general, when actually it IS used to support the Industry. Is the law abused? Of COURSE it is. I would never argue that, because that is DEFINITELY clear to all parties of every side and opinion.

    This website is a disgrace to reporting news because:

    1) Extremely biased. TechDirt is like the Fox News of web blogs. I think that goes without saying.

    2) Too in-depth reasoning. Mike could say that Apple is a terrible company because they filed a copyright for a new logo, and then claim that this is a CLEAR attack on the public domain because god forbid Apple have rights over their logo, and Apple, being associated with computer products.

    3) It twists the facts. While there MAY be more general music being produced, most of this music is NOT created for professional use. Most professional musicians out there aren't doing too well. At all. I know, because I AM a musician and I know how it feels to be broke for that past 3 years. While music sales may have increased, you'll notice they'ved only increased for the top artists out there. By "Top" I mean a broad range of musician in every field. Read into it as you will, it means the same thing.

    Another thing.

    ZeniMax, from the understanding of this article, hasn't sued anyone, hasn't taken down any websites, hasn't stopped the sales of any goods, or any legal action at all so far. They've simply filed a Trademark. God forbid someone file a Trademark? When they start making actions, THAT'S when a story like this needs to be reported. It is not only speculative, it is paranoia and stupidity that reports a story that is almost as bad as spying on someone. "They looked up information on the AK-47 and Nitroglycerin! THEY MUST BE A TERRORIST!" is that kind of reasoning.

    You guys are ridiculous fanatics chasing a lost goal that doesn't even make sense. Half of you support the Pirate Party platform because you want to pirate music and movies. That's REALLY what this whole argument is about. People want permission to do whatever they want and not get caught. Unfortunately, that's not possible. Don't pretend it's not true, because I was like you once, and came to my senses. Come to your minds, people. You're pathetic.

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