Petty Squabbles

[As Read on GIO.]

A Response Blog (Uh-Oh) Sort of…

In Which we Discuss Stupidity (and Stupid does what Stupid Is)

Howdy everyone. Today’s lesson is going to be a brief discussion and immersion in some really trivial, mostly ridiculous things that have been made into much larger issues for various reasons (money, because stoopids, and stuff). This is in no way an accusatory blog by any means, nor will it point the finger of blame and lame at any individual party. I am merely stating an opinion in saying that some of the things and instances I will talk about seem a tad bit over the line of ridiculousness to me personally, but others are more than welcome to see them how they wish. Now, just to give you a hint as to the upcoming points- so you can either pack up and leave while you have the chance, or so you can argue it out with me or somebody else later on and be more educated for it, let’s look at two of the main points I want to talk about today:

  • Bethesda and Mojang- Battle of the “Scrolls” and the (Thankful) Settlement
  • King and The World- Battle of the English Language and the (Stupid Stuff so Far)

Now that you’ve been forewarned I suppose, and you have an inkling of the two part winter that is inevitably coming next, you can either buckle down or get up- it’s your choice. If you’re sticking this out and going to weather the storm (which is a minor gust, really) then let’s go ahead and talk some about elderly scrolls.


Part One: In Which we Discuss Bethy Beth and Jango Jang

“This could’ve very well been a literacy game, for all the title says for it…”

First of all, let’s just breath a deep sigh of relief. *ahhhhhhhhh Okay, now, let’s start talking here. You’ll notice the whole Scrolls debacle is first up on my list, and that’s simply because of a few things. It happened first, was settled (luckily, and of course), and shows us that we may be able to hope for this whole crap to go away as quickly and well-played as well. I mean, at least it’s not some other mobile ‘mogul’ such as Zynga trademarking everything and then laughing hysterically and taking peoples’ money, right? *crickets Oh, right.

Anyway, the crux of the case is that it’s simply a little bit ridiculous to trademark one, everyday (or otherwise mundane) word in your game or other media’s name, and then throw a fit over somebody else using that particular word. Now, do I understand the case? Yes, I do. If it were one word (or definitely an entire title, of course) so recognizably from a series, such as say the word ‘Tamriel’ for perspective application here, then I would totally agree that the owner should fight for it. However, trademarking (or at least trademarking and then not letting anybody ever use the word) things such as ‘the’ or ‘Duty’ or something would be insanity.

I mean, seriously- if somebody trademarked the word ‘the’ that would be preposterous, right? “Oops, guess we can’t use that word any more then… Let’s start calling this ‘Those Elder Scrolls VI’ then…” You see where I’m going? Sure, that’s an extreme example- but it’s the same thing inevitably.

Plenty of games have used the word ‘scroll’ to some degree, and some of them have absolutely nothing to do with similar elements to Bethsoft’s RPG masterpiece of a series as well. It’s just a popular word for some reason. Now, in this particular case, no party was truly at fault I’d say (between Beth and Mojang), as it was mainly due to the usual instigation of the parent corps (Zeni) that the whole issue arose anyway.

They initially filed their suit in response to Mojang’s request to trademark the title ‘Scrolls’ in preparation for launching their beta and future game, and claimed that the title alone was ‘infringing upon’ the Elder Scrolls series and trademark. Thankfully, while a trial was pending, courts denied injunctions and indicated that there were some areas severely in need of check (mainly due to flaws an weak points) in Bethesda’s forced request of an argument. Ultimately, sadly enough- though both parties were able to come to a somewhat agreement to terms, nobody really ‘wins’ in this case.(Though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

Mojang could make their game, and Bethesda could keep their trademark over one word. Crazy, but then again, nobody’s complaining because that’s a lot better than what most cases end as- and good for Mojang to keep developing away and Bethesda to retain their dignity. However, Zenimax was kind of crappily vengeful in the fact that they will allow Mojang to use ‘scrolls’ for additional content in the game, but they cannot use it for any prospective sequels. Wow. Way to go Zeni with being…meh… Though, to be fair, both parties (or all three, rather) carried themselves with as much dignity as they could muster, and made off like thieves in the night afterwards as well- with no bloodshed to speak of.

But seriously- one word? I could understand if it was one word to rule them all, or something along the ‘one ring’ lines, but the word being scrolls? No. Unacceptable. Get back to making games you foolish mortals.

Part Two: In Which we do not, In fact, Talk about ‘Kings of Leon’

Corruption in the Candy Factory

This segment will of course be inevitably shorter and much more of a response than a restatement of events such as the last part, however, it does of course follow much of the same route as the other. King (formerly .com) has declared an ever-expanding blanket trademark on many common words such as ‘candy’ and ‘saga’ (the two most problematic thus far), though to be fair, they haven’t illegitimately bothered many people over games or apps yet, and have made mostly fair claims.

However, that does not make this any less crazy as things go. As mentioned previously, once you start playing with the dictionary and coining words that have been around forever and claiming them as your own…well, things start to get a little heated. Seriously, already they’ve made claims regarding the (excellent, might I add?) Banner Saga game produced by Stoic, preying on the smaller developer since they are still waiting for their trademark to come through on the game. Strange how King’s went through relatively fast for so many things, and they’ve got more moolah in the balance as well… hmm… ah, maybe it doesn’t correlate, but who knows, eh?

Anyway, we’ve yet to see how this whole thing develops, but hopefully both parties (in this case alone, not the others) are at least able to work something out and conclude things before they get more heated and harsh. At least, that’s what will probably happen- as with Moj-Beth earlier. But we’ll soon see, won’t we?

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