Mojang, developers of the wildly popular sandbox game Minecraft, have apparently been hit with a cease-and-desist order from mini-golf franchise owner Putt-Putt over the use of the company’s brand in Minecraft. The problem is, the order is referencing community-created content.
Minecraft creator and Mojang’s own Markus “Notch” Persson posted an image the cease-and-desist letter on Twitter earlier this week, brushing it off as being “silly.” Funnily enough, the cease-and-desist order was also sent to Don Mattrick, who recently left Microsoft for Zynga.
“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,” the cease-and-desist letter reads. “We feel that Mojang AB’s use of of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt.”
The use of the Putt-Putt name that has the company up in arms is “Putt-Putt Craft,” a community-created mod for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition that, as the name suggests, allows you to play mini-golf courses with a variety of themes on a custom map.
In response to a query from Eurogamer, Mojang lawyer Alex Chapman had this to say:
“I think there is clearly a misunderstanding here as to what Minecraft actually is,” Chapman said. “It’s a game that, amongst other things, allows people to build things. Mojang doesn’t control what users build and Mojang doesn’t control the content of the videos users make. Suing Mojang for what people do using Minecraft is like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word.”
As PCGamesN points out in their report, the Contributory Liability law makes it illegal for companies to enable users of their product to infringe on the copyrights of other companies.
However, Putt-Putt would have a lot to prove to stick Mojang with Contributory Liability; evidence must be provided in court that the company willingly, and knowingly, enabled its users to infringe on the copyright of other companies. Putt-Putt seems to believe that Mojang encouraged this activity, but that appears to be far from the case.
Should anything develop from this, The Inquisitr will keep you posted. You can see a video of Minecraft‘s supposedly “infringing” content below.