Minecraft Developer Sued By Putt-Putt
This is one of the weirder stories I’ve covered in awhile. American mini-golf chain Putt-Putt has sued Minecraft developer Mojang over user-created levels which recreate the company’s golf courses.
Is business really that bad in the miniature golf industry?
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Mojang received a cease and desist letter from Putt-Putt calling for the company to refrain from using Putt-Putt’s logos and designs. Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson posted an image of Putt-Putt’s letter on Twitter.
It reads, “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,” and adds, “We feel that Mojang AB’s use of of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt.”
How was this even approved by the company’s legal department? Mojang has no hand in this, it’s users who have created the levels and used the brand. It is also to virtually no detriment of the company or its brand. It’s not an X-rated putt-putt game and I don’t think anybody would even associate it with the chain of mini-golf courses either. The two are completely divorced from each other as far as logic goes.
Legally, there is some potential grounds for a suit as Contributory Liability law does seek punish those who enable copyright infringement. Technically that is what Mojang has done by giving users the tools and not screening user-generated content. However this only holds up if Putt-Putt can prove that Minecraft was launched in an incomplete state and that it spurred players to fix it themselves, causing an infringement on another company’s copyright.
It really is impossible to prove that since it’s, well…not true.
Don Mattrick somehow comes into play as well as the former head of Xbox. Mattrick received a copy of the cease and desist letter for the game’s Xbox 360 version. However he’s moved over to Zynga and really can’t do much about it but it would be interesting to see what his stance is on the matter.
This seems like a baseless lawsuit. There are Minecraft recreations of famous buildings, locations, TV series, movies and more. All without any licensing of any kind so far as I know. You can see just how badly Minecraft users have infringed on Putt-Putt’s brand up top.