Bethesda Softworks in legal dispute with Minecraft creator over Scrolls

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Minecraft creator Markus Persson started out this morning on a positive note, proudly announcing on Twitter that the popular world-building PC game has now sold more than three million copies. Things took a sharp turn later, however, when another tweet issued forth, reading: “Just got a letter from [Bethesda Softworks’] lawyers. They claim ‘Scrolls’ infringes on their trademark and everyone will confuse it with Skyrim.” Persson quickly added in a follow-up tweet that he has nothing but love for Bethesda and this is “hopefully just lawyers being lawyers.”

Which is the right response to a rather silly situation. Scrolls is the virtual card game that Minecraft dev Mojang is currently working on. Elder Scrolls is Bethesda’s first-person RPG series, and a quite popular one at that, but “scrolls” separated from “elder” just becomes a word, and one that Mojang can almost certainly use for its game title. You don’t have to be a lawyer to figure this one out, though they’re what will ultimately confuse things if this situation goes far enough.

A subsequent tweet promised a blog update when Persson got home “with all the info I have,” and he stuck to his word. It’s probably best to just read what he has to say on it, but the long and short of it is: following discussions with Bethesda over the Scrolls titles that never quite finished, Mojang received a letter from a Swedish law firm threatening to sue in Swedish courts if the title isn’t changed. There’s also apparently a request for up-front coverage of certain legal fees on Mojanh’s part.

Sounds like Persson’s estimation was pretty accurate: lawyers being lawyers.