Why I won't buy Skyrim

Apparently, Bethesda is seriously suing the company of Notch, creator of Minecraft for naming his next game 'Scrolls'. Because they think people will confuse this with their 'The Elder Scrolls' games. Hm, I was looking forward to their next game, Skyrim, to be released in November. But apparently this would support this idiotic behavior, I prefer buying another game instead. Maybe Rage, BF3, maybe Torchlight 2. I have limited time to play games anyway, so why should I play a game of a company which appears to prefer paying money to their lawyers instead of to game designers and programmers.
Update: D'oh: Rage is also by Bethesda :)

ten comments, already:

I somehow believe (the positive thinker I am) that all that started off quite less bad, with just someone noticing that the name is kind of similar and just asking some lawyer about that, and then things got out of hand… But yep, it is kind of silly. Maybe they should rename the game to The Newer Scrolls, which clearly is much more different (having a larger edit distance…;)
xaos - 28 09 11 - 09:20

Thought about the same. There are so many good games coming this winter. No need to buy Skyrim from this shitters.
Thalem - 28 09 11 - 12:48

Just to mention a few things here (as it’s easy to jump on the underdog bandwagon against the evil capitalists):

– Notch has been playing this up. A lot. He’s pitching himself as a folk hero of sorts, when really all he’s doing is acting like a fool.

– Trademark law is glitchy. If the company suspects that one of their trademarks may be confused with a new product then they have to act. If they don’t then in the future the court can rule that they weren’t sufficiently defending their trademark, and they will lose it. The case seems silly to you, and quite possibly silly to the company lawyers that everyone is so quick to hate, but they don’t have a choice. That’s the system we live in.

– “why should I play a game of a company which appears to prefer paying money to their lawyers instead of to game designers and programmers” – this isn’t an “either, or” decision. The designers and programmers are being paid the exact same amount they always were, and so are the lawyers.

I’m not setting out the defend Bethesda here, but people need to get a reality check. Everyone seems quite happy to jump on the bandwagon and declare Bethesda to be evil, when in reality it is most likely that they’re quite embarrassed to have to follow this up.
Kemp - 28 09 11 - 13:50

It’s all the same. It’s not actually Bethesda that is suing notch, it’s Zenimax, their publishers. Bethesda has nothing to do with this, and notch is giving Bethesda a bad name because of this, and therefore, fuck notch. Unless it was unintentional.
Lars - 28 09 11 - 14:17

With so many games around its becoming literally impossible to name a new game without stepping on someones feet. So, please companies make a plan here, names are names and I mean there’s probably over a thousand Rigo’s out there, I don’t go out Sue’in them for ‘copying’ my ‘name’!!
rg-5 () - 28 09 11 - 18:33

Rage isnt from Bethesda (Game Studios). Rage is from id Software. id Software and Bethesda are both owned by Zenimax. So are Vir2L Studios, Mud Duck Productions, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks and MachineGames.

So if you want to boycott everything Zenimax, there is really a lot of games you cant buy anymore. Plus, I agree with Kemp and Lars. Maybe to Notch as a swede, it wasnt conceivable how stupid the american trademark law is, but it was completely obvious that Bethesda/Zenimax had to act, would act, and will now sue. And they will probably win, unless the judge rules that “Scrolls” is too general a word.
Tazo - 28 09 11 - 21:23

What disturbs me most is that someone can even get the idea that the word “scrolls” might be protectable as trademark. I think here in germany that would (should) not be possible, the trademark would be exactly “the elder scrolls”, and simply the word “scrolls” would not violate that.
Still, I think there were cases where partial trademark “violations” where brought court, I just don’t know how they ended.

But I really cannot understand how anyone can seriously consider to protect a general word as a trademark, and even less can I understand laws or courts that support this.
Telepath () - 29 09 11 - 11:16

@Telepath: The trademark IS “The Elder Scrolls”, not “Scrolls”. Its about whether “Scrolls” is too similar to the “The Elder Scrolls” trademark or not, considering the fact that both are computer games.
Tazo - 29 09 11 - 15:23

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Bethesda Softworks is suing because Mojang is trying to copyright the actual word “Scrolls”, which is obviously a pretty big deal for a company with a major game franchise that has Scrolls in the name.

He’s an indie developer trying to stir up controversy because people support “the little guy” and will be quick to get mad at Bethesda when this is something they have to do, otherwise people can use the name “Elder Scrolls : Mario’s Adventure” without legal issues.
Captain Common Sense - 29 09 11 - 18:33

It’s just a testament to how screwed the system is. I’ll still buy it, but personally I’d like to see a million indie developers all announce a project called “Scrolls” and then the mediocre thought process of whoever the lawyer/legal team is will truly be revealed. Small minds collapse amidst things greater than themselves.

On the flip side, if he is intentionally stirring up trouble in a desperate cry for attention, or as a marketing strategy then I could care less. Marketing strategy is one of the most corrupt thinking methods around, let them feed off each other in that the case. They’re both going to get attention.
General Zod - 29 10 11 - 00:25


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