The United Kingdom-based video game website Eurogamer reported on July 10 that American miniature golf course chain Putt-Putt, LLC sent a cease-and-desist letter to Minecraft developer Mojang. Putt-Putt threatened to sue Mojang over user-generated levels that allegedly infringed upon the Putt-Putt name. However, the problem with Putt-Putt’s trademark infringement claim is that the examples cited by the company were levels generated by users, not Mojang. “Players are able to do amazing creative things in Minecraft in a similar fashion to artists doing whatever they want in PhotoShop,” Mojang’s business developer Daniel Kaplan told Eurogamer. “It is up to the end users to play/create in a responsible manner.”
Mojang’s lawyer, Alex Chapman, also offered an explanation to Eurogamer. “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.”
Less than a week later, the technology blog Gizmodo reported that HBO sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown request to Google that listed the popular VLC media player as a copyright infringement. Gizmodo called it an “absolutely bizarre takedown request” that “does speak to the sort of shotgun spray that networks and studios use to push Google to remove cases of copyright infringement that aren’t actually cases of copyright infringement.” The BitTorrent and file sharing blog TorrentFreak noted that this past February, HBO actually asked Google to remove “infringing links” to content from the television series “Eastbound & Down” in the cable network’s very own store.
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Quick Klein Extra: Google received nearly 15 million copyright removal requests last month alone.