Bethesda Barred From Barring Fallout MMO

By Alec Meer on September 26th, 2011 at 10:27 am.

I want Interplay to win, but mostly so we can finally get some new screenshots to use

The great and terrible Final Battle between Bethesda and Interplay regarding the latter’s right to create an MMO based on the Fallout licence they part-sold to the former some years ago is still yet to be fought, but the litigation-lovin’ folk at Bethesda have seen a potentially major setback in their efforts to take full control of wasteland adventuring. For a while, the two parties have been locked in snarling battle about whether Interplay are still allowed to make a Fallout MMO, with Bethesda claiming they failed to meet time and budgetary criteria outlined in the original license-selling deal. Interplay have claimed they’ve stuck the agreement, and thus continued with working on said MMO (actually contracting developing Masthead Studios to do it for them). Bethesda tried to stop ‘em, but a US judge has now stopped Bethesda from stopping them. Got that?

Bethesda’s recent request for a restraining order against Interplay/Masthead has been denied by US district judge John F. Walter, and before Interplay had even gotten around to mounting their own response. His main reason for doing so is that Bethesda took their sweet time in requesting the restraining order, which rather undermines their claims that it’s a crisis situation for them. Here’s what said (via Milford and Associates via Gamasutra)

“Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it will be irreparably prejudiced if the requested ex parte relief is not granted, or that it is without fault in creating the crisis that requires ex parte relief. Indeed, Plaintiff was aware as early as February 2011 that Masthead was potentially infringing its copyrights. . . . Yet, Plaintiff waited seven months to apply for ex parte relief. The Court finds that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed in seeking relief, and that the emergency that allegedly justifies a TRO is self-created. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.”

As I understand it, this certainly doesn’t mean Interplay have won, but just that Bethesda’s latest attempt to block the Fallout MMO has failed and now they need to find another angle of attack. Their lawyers must be very busy at the moment, since they’re also trying to sue Minecraft-makers Mojang for having the cheek to think the word ‘scrolls’ could refer to anything other than ‘The Elder Scrolls.’

I’m so glad I’m not a copyright lawyer. I have enough problems getting to sleep at night as it is.

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96 Comments »

  1. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I can´t really imagine Bethesda in a “crisis” over it. Bullshit. Go Interplay, go!

    • Wulf says:

      Yes indeed.

      I’m hoping for really interesting things from Interplay. To be honest, the most interesting things tend to come from where they’re least expected. It’s some kind of Universal law by this point. And there’s a few of my favourite Fallout devpeople working on Fallout Online, too.

  2. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    It could have been long resolved by the QIII match, they just lack the spirit…

  3. Zogtee says:

    DENIED.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I hope everyone heard that in the voice of the UT2004 announcer.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Nope. Judge Snyder from the Simpsons.

    • paterah says:

      I was gonna say Dota then remembered it’s actually from UT. Excuses…..

  4. Bull0 says:

    Are Mojang trying to trademark Scrolls? Or are Bethesda trying to stop them naming their game Scrolls?

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    All in all, it initially appears that Bethesda’s conduct has been rather bullyish lately.

    • Jumwa says:

      Thanks to misleading articles like this one, that sure seems to be the impression given.

      Mojang filed a trademark claim for the word Scrolls, to hold onto their own trademark claim of Elder Scrolls, Bethesda had to respond (this is how trademarking words, protect your trademark or let it die, and other websites have written about this).

      In this case, Interplay didn’t meet the financing terms laid out in their agreement, which is evidenced by the fact that Interplay, just this summer, said in an investors call that they’d have to start selling off business supplies just to keep them operating at all, or shut down work on the MMO. I’d love to know how they claim to have the financing necessary to make this MMO when they just admitted they can’t even afford to keep making it.

      The nitty gritty of the current case with Interplay and Bethesda hinges on Interplay’s interpretation, where they’re trying to say that financing for the project can include things like loans, company property, or anything else they can stick a dollar price to that they might possibly have a claim to.

      For Bethesda, Interplay is working on a very shoddy, low-budget Fallout MMO to attempt to cash-in on the Bethesda-revived Fallout franchise which has received such critical and commercial success. A shoddy, underfunded game which will likely come out and damage the Fallout franchise because of how crappy it is.

      And the actual case hasn’t gone through trial yet, this was just another attempt by Bethesda to circumvent a full trial to bring a halt to the project now, rather than at the end of the trial.

      So it’s not so simple as RPS has sadly been making it seem.

    • Jupiah says:

      @ Jumwa: That whole “defend your trademark or lose it” thing only applies if there’s an actual likelihood of confusion between the products. No consumer is going to see a game called Scrolls and immediately assume “Oh, scrolls? that must be a new Bethesda game!” Hence, no likelihood of confusion, no risk of losing their trademark, no need to sue.

    • Jumwa says:

      Except this isn’t a simple case of that, Mojang actually filed a trademark for the word ‘Scrolls’ itself. It’s not Bethesda suing them for making a game called Scrolls.

    • Wulf says:

      Jumwa is incorrect. I don’t believe this is the first time I’ve said this to him, either.

      In this particular instance he’s entirely incorrect because the person responsible for designing the entire Fallout RPG system for the first two Fallout games is on board with Fallout Online, he’s responsible for the mechanics. Also, a few other noteworthy Fallout developers are working with him, and they, in turn are working with a group that has an established engine.

      To call an effort like this shoddy would essentially be the same as calling any multi-team game shoddy. It may be on the lower end of the budget scale, but that’s never hurt a game before, and it’s certainly never harmed the indies. I can’t imaginet hough that a game with actual Black Isle people working on it would turn out to be ‘shoddy.’ I just can’t see that.

      See, to me, that just sounds like someone (hello Jumwa!) wants to smear Interplay so that they can defend Bethesda. This is where the term ‘fanboy’ comes into play. This goes beyond a simple correction of facts and goes into the realm of pure fanboy idolisation of Bethesda. There was no reason to attack Interplay in that post, but doing so in a way that’s clearly incorrect throws the whole post into question, and thus sheds dubious light upon the motivations behind it.

      I wouldn’t trust Jumwa to be unbiased as far as I could throw him in this case.

      (I could note that having a trademark on The Elder Scrolls gives you no right to stop someone trademarking Scrolls, nor do you have anything to defend in this case, but that would be being too mean after the above. Instead, see RobF’s posts above.)

    • PleasingFungus says:

      “It may be on the lower end of the budget scale, but that’s never hurt a game before…”

      It’s hurt plenty of games when it means they had to come out without adequate development / QA time.

      “I can’t imagine though that a game with actual Black Isle people working on it would turn out to be ‘shoddy.’ I just can’t see that.”

      KOTOR II. Alpha Protocol. Every single Troika game.

      Largely because they didn’t have a large enough budget and ended up having to rush their release, resulting in buggy, incomplete games.

      Hmm….

    • Jumwa says:

      Did Wulf just accuse me of being a fanboy?

      Interplay themselves just admitted to not having enough money to finish the game, but saying that the game will end up being shoddy due to lack of financing is just me being a fanboy?

      This kind of faux ad hominem attack is just not only uncalled for but blind. You just spent the opening of your post building up and defending a studio as being great and awesome who has said they don’t have the money to finish a game.

      When I first heard of Mojang being sued by Bethesda, I immediately sided with Mojang, because of the reporting and my natural inclination to take the side of the small guy in any battle. But after reading more on it, I’ve just come to see it as a legal misunderstanding that Mojang and Notch brought on themselves, and are now capitalizing on to score a lot of points with the gaming community. They are shamelessly using this as a way to get gamers on their side, when they started the whole mess by trying to trademark the word “Scrolls”.

      Much the same in the case of the Bethesda-Interplay lawsuit.

      I changed my original impression on the matters after observing what facts I could come across. All companies involved have made games I enjoy, but I couldn’t give two craps about their corporate or legal sides. Not a single one of them has my loyalty, at most just my appreciation for some well-made games.

      Your comment was just absurd, Wulf.

      Also, well-said PleasingFungus.

  6. RobF says:

    Edge being trademarked wasn’t a problem. The Edge trademark being used as a legal beating stick to extort various things from people when it wasn’t in active use and most certainly the majority of the stuff claimed for wasn’t legitimately covered by the trademark filings… now that was a problem.

  7. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    It appears there has been a fallout between the judge and Bethesda lawyers.

    • sneetch says:

      Yes, this could be the answer to Interplay’s preyers!

    • The Colonel says:

      It’s not really Interplay’s vault that all this has happened. Bethesda just need to realise that sometimes it’s better to take turns with a franchise rather than disappoint a lot of its original fanbase. What a waste(land)

    • sinister agent says:

      I hope they’re sued into oblivion.

    • simonh says:

      Who will Bethesda’s dagger fall on next?

    • Bull0 says:

      simonh wins this arena

    • UnravThreads says:

      The Colonel;
      Uh… How did you come to that? It *is* Interplay’s fault. If they’d have done what they were supposed to when they were supposed to, this wouldn’t be happening. Interplay have no money, very few staff, two of the most notorious pillocks in gaming at the head of the company and have put out no releases of note within the past… long while. I think their most recent release was Earthworm Jim HD on XBLA. Either way, they weren’t supposed to sub-license the MMO to another studio, but they did just that. They’ve also come close to declaring bankruptcy, if not having actually done so, and are really not in any position to make a release game, let alone an MMO.

      Interplay is a sinking ship, and has been for a very long time. Brian Fargo left ages ago to form inXile, Black Isle were disbanded and reformed mostly into Obsidian, although some stayed with Interplay, some went to BioWare and I would guess some went to Bethesda and Fargo’s inXile.

      Bethesda are trying to protect what is now their IP. This release could harm the image of the Fallout franchise if it ever sees the light of day, but it’s also a massive financial gamble for them considering Interplay’s current state. If Interplay collapse, which they may do at any point, then Bethesda are going to take a financial hit and will have to give the assets and other parts of the game to a different studio (If they don’t develop it internally, of course) and that will further delay the game.

      Edit: Whoops, did I just fall for a joke post? Drat. Still leaving that up, though.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh the fanboys.

      No, Bethesda fucked up here too, if you know the story behind it. There was money involved that Interplay didn’t receive, as I recall, and Bethesda tried to halt Interplay’s attempts to raise funding at numerous points. In both cases Bethesda purposefully tried to delay the development of the MMO so that they wouldn’t have to allow its completion, they pulled some nasty shit in regards to that.

      If Bethesda hadn’t constantly screwed around with Interplay and screwed up their development plans, then they’d have been a lot further on into development than they were. So Bethesda was actively attacking Interplay on every front they could to try to ensure that the MMO didn’t happen. Of course, the deal with Interplay was that if Bethesda stopped them from trying to make the MMO, then the Fallout licence defaults BACK to Interplay and Bethesda can only mak one more Fallout game.

      Due to Bethesda’s attempts to halt Interplay’s development, that means they broke their contract with Interplay, so naturally the rights to Fallout default back to Interplay. That’s what the courts are actually agreeing with at the moment. Bethesda is fighting tooth and claw to stop it, but their attempts have been deceptive, beating around the bush, and sometimes outright vacuous. I remember reading in one case that the judge in question was getting quite fed up of them.

      Because Interplay, on request, was supplying everything the judge had requested but Bethesda was not.

      I’ve been following this for a long time now. VG24/7 and the Fallout Wiki have been covering this a lot more than RPS. Bethesda have already realised that they shot themselves in the foot and that rightfully the IP now belongs with Interplay, but the thing is is that Bethesda seems to believe that money and lawyers are going to solve all their problems. As this case points out, they’re not. Bethesda is in for a rather rude awakening.

    • Shadram says:

      I love how Wulf cries “fanboy” while acting as one himself. Couldn’t care less about whatever litigation this is all about, I just find the responses amusing.

    • bear912 says:

      So, would that make him a pundit?

    • pipman3000 says:

      Hey did you read Wulf’s latest wall of text?

      Yeah,. me either.

    • The Colonel says:

      I’ve been slandered! Libelled!

  8. JiminyJickers says:

    @Bull0

    In that case, Mojang filed a trademark application to the world Scrolls related to video game media, which made Bethesda take notice and said, oh no, were not going to let you do that.

    Mojang should have thought about it more. More likely they just wanted to protect their game name and just didnt realise that the likes of Bethesda would see that as a no-no.

    Whether Bethesda would have eventually gone after them for using the name is pure speculation, because Mojang started the ball rolling.

  9. simonh says:

    This reminds me, do you know about Bethesda’s founder and CEO Robert Altman? He’s got a rather spotty history with the law. And of course he’s also a lawyer himself.

    • drewski says:

      Altman didn’t found Bethesda, Chris Weaver did. Altman was only brought in when Weaver needed finance to turn Bethesda into Zenimax.

  10. Bull0 says:

    @Jiminy thanks for the clarification – I genuinely didn’t know that.

    I’ve always just thought it was bethesda defending their copyright somewhat over-zealously. Knowing that Mojang tried to trademark the word Scrolls, their response is essentially justified. You’ve got to defend your copyright.

  11. RobF says:

    Trademarking The Elder Scrolls doesn’t give you any sort of rights over The, Elder or Scrolls. So no, they didn’t really have to do this at all.

  12. Pike says:

    Not to mention that Bethesda are publishing a trademarked game called Rage despite there being existing games with that word in it.

  13. Unaco says:

    I’ll never forgive Interplay for closing BIS. They’re dead to me, and have no relevance in the Industry any more. Their time has been and gone.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The industry’s talent for breaking up teams of competent developers and scattering them to the four winds is quite morbidly impressive.

    • Wulf says:

      Except it looks like they’ve realised their mistake in regards to this.

      Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who knows anything about Fallout Online’s staff.

    • Starky says:

      You probably are Wulf, because the rest of us don’t really care one way or the other. Chances are the game will be poor, if it even sees the light of day (with or without Bethesda this is doubtful). If it isn’t a shoddy underfunded PoS then great, it’s always nice to have good games.
      But I don’t think anyone but you and maybe a few other heavily invested people have much care one way or the other.

      At this point there is just nothing to be excited about, what has been shown is very early in development and very poor looking.

  14. hamster says:

    I believe it says here that it was only the injunction that was denied which doesn’t really have much bearing on the case. These injunctions are ex-parte i.e. application made in the only in the presence of judge/masters + plaintiff absent counsel for defense.

  15. Bobby Oxygen says:

    Hmmm….. Who to root for?

    The company that killed one of my favorite game franchises?
    Or the one that resurrected it as a fucking first-person-shooter?

    I hope they both lose.

    • UnravThreads says:

      They might still be called Interplay, but they’re not the Interplay you’re thinking of.

    • Plivesey says:

      I certainly wouldn’t suggest Fallout 3 was an FPS.

    • Wulf says:

      Fallout 3 was a bunch of slapstick nonsense that had no soul, though. It was idiot food, and never bothered to make the player think at any point. Old World Blues is still the closest I’ve seen anything come to the original Fallout games yet.

    • Starky says:

      See Wulf, it is phrases like “it was idiot food” that turn you from a guy having a passionate opinion, into a frothing hater, and frankly a grade A tosser.

    • rayne117 says:

      And I wouldn’t suggest you have common sense.

    • pipman3000 says:

      i prefer a SMART intellectual game not this game snot idiot food retard milkshake that is fallout 3 you can’t even kick babies in the nuts!!!

      man where can i get a copy of the fallout games wulf played my copies were just a bunch of dick jokes and nerd cultural references with a clunky battle system instead of the be-all end-all of rpg gaming that makes everything else look like an ed greenwood novel

    • bear912 says:

      Idiots need food, too!

  16. JackShandy says:

    Coming soon: Final Fantasy wins a suit against everyone in the universe.

  17. Bull0 says:

    If Mojang owns the word Scrolls, and Bethesda publish a game called The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda leave themselves open to litigation from Mojang for infringing copyright. Hence the defense against Mojang trademarking Scrolls. They don’t have to own it at all; they just have to fight against someone else trademarking it when it’s a word they use and intend to use in future in trading

  18. AgamemnonV2 says:

    “I’m so glad I’m not a copyright lawyer.”

    Obviously not. I’m sure copyright lawyers actually know that Bethesda is trying to stop Mojang from copyrighting the word “scrolls” to protect their lifeblood as a company.

    But you go on thinking Notch is in the right here, buddy! He’s still the little guy after making over $33 million! To top it all off, he’s so mature that he’s willing to settle the matter over a Quake III Arena match! Poor, little Notch! We should start a relief fund in his name!

    • Unaco says:

      I’m sure a Copyright lawyer would also know that this is a Trademark issue.

      I agree with your sentiment though. Bethesda had no problem with Mojang calling the game Scrolls. It was when Mojang made moves towards trademarking the name that Bethesda had to object. To quote Jas Purewal, the Game Lawyer (c’mon RPS, send him an email, ask him to write something about this, or just link to his article on the situation)…

      “There’s no point claiming a particular word or phrase etc is vital to your business if you then let everyone use it indiscriminately (that’s how the Hoover Company lost their trade marks over their Hoover vacuum cleaners, because they allowed it to become a generic, generally used phrase to describe vacuum cleaners). If you don’t protect your trade mark, you risk losing it. This is why we see these kinds of legal letters flying around from time to time”

      Notch should have checked that the name Scrolls wouldn’t cause issues. Notch is a big boy, all growed up, and isn’t the little guy anymore… his company has £/$Millions and could easily have afforded a Lawyer for a day or two. The Q3 ploy was a publicity stunt… as, I think, is the whole thing. He can come across as the poor struggling Indie developer, fighting against the big, evil corporation.

      Besides, Scrolls is a shit name.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Quite. We’re all British here, and thus hate success. Notch is no longer the plucky underdog and we should thus treat him with the usual mild disdain reserved for someone crass enough to actually make an excessive amount of money.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      @Agamemnon. You seem a little sour.

      And the Quake III deathmatch thing was an attempt at humour. Some thought it was funny, others did not. Can’t please everyone.

      On that note, good thing Bethesda bought Id then, that way they would not need to sue Id for Quake III: Arena possibly infringing upon The Elder Scrolls: Arena.

      And now they can also sue over Streets of Rage. Wouldn’t want people thinking that Streets of Rage is a spinoff of their new game, Rage.

      Disclaimer: I’m a fanboy of Morrowind / Oblivion / Fallout 3 and Minecraft. I just don’t like litigious bollocks.

    • Cinnamon says:

      One way to think of it is that Bobby Kotick didn’t let the dogs of war out when he called his game somethingcraft but Bethesda are when their claim to ownership of the word scrolls is very tenuous. Zenimax are quite an odd company, it’s possible to say that the CEO has a more sketchy past than some other more high profile games industry figures. Allegedly, or so I once heard, please don’t sue me.

    • Bhazor says:

      @Rustybroomhandle
      If Beth had tried to copyright the words Rage and Arena then you might have a point. But they didn’t. So you don’t.

      Notch tried to copyright/trademark the word Scrolls which is as dumb as Langdell copyrighting the word edge. Thats why the makers of Bleach (the anime) can’t sue makers of Bleach (the toilet disinfectant) and why your examples don’t work.

    • JackShandy says:

      This position just seems contrarian. “The Elder Scrolls” threatening to sue “Scrolls” provoked nearly unanimous outrage and confusion- now those feelings were wrong because Notch had trademarked the name of his game?

    • Bull0 says:

      I think the community sort of universally missed the point that Mojang entered a trademark for the word “Scrolls”.

    • mejoff says:

      @JackShandy
      Uh, no actually, those of us who paid attention to the details of the situation and avoided kneejerk reactions have known for some time that Notch caused the problem.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      @Bhazor – if you go look up US trademark serial number 85975116, you will notice that it is for Rage. Complete with logo, filed May 12, 2010. So yeah, my examples are fine, thankyouverymuch.

    • Bull0 says:

      lawyered

    • RobF says:

      “Except this isn’t a simple case of that, Mojang actually filed a trademark for the word ‘Scrolls’ itself.”

      This is ok. They’re allowed to do this. Zenimax owning a mark for The Elder Scrolls do not get to punish or attack anyone who uses single words from that mark or any special right to go chasing them with attack dogs. Their mark covers ONLY The Elder Scrolls. They might have a case for confusion if Mojang had trademarked “The Elderly Scrolls” but just Scrolls? This is corporate cock waving and nothing more.

      Mojang did not “start” this by trademarking something they were (at least according to my cursory search of USPTO) within their rights to do so.This is not comparable with Langdell, this is not Mojang doing anything horrible or naughty – they’re taking out a trademark on something they’ve created themselves and will be in active use and their claim contains nothing ugly, untoward or out of the ordinary in it. They have NOT done a bad thing here. Quite the opposite, business-sense-wise and providing they don’t go all crazy and suddenly start Langdelling anyone (which let’s face it, whilst I can’t predict the future, it’s highly unlikely!), is fine. It. Is. Fine.

      tl;dr: people are allowed to trademark stuff, stop it.

  19. Dachannien says:

    This isn’t actually that big a deal. Injunctions of these sort have a high threshold that they must meet, including a showing that the party requesting the injunction will likely be irreparably harmed without it. In this case, it’s unlikely that they’d be able to show this even without the delays that the judge mentioned, since the only result of not having the injunction is that Interplay would be able to throw more money down the development pit. If the game were ready for release, it might be a different matter.

  20. JackShandy says:

    Yes, and Alien Hominid should probably sue Alien.

    Edit: Seriously, arguing that notch’s trademark of Scrolls poses a credible threat to Bethseda is to argue that a man could make a game called “Fantasy” and win a suit against Final Fantasy. If that could happen, or if notch could win against The Elder Scrolls, then the legal system is hopelessly broken and debate is futile, because we are all the bad guys.

  21. jezcentral says:

    Does anyone think Interplay are actually doing anything other than trolling for a settlement? As far as I can see, they don’t have the mean to make an MMO, and have just given the minimum to a third-party so they can keep control of the MMO name until Bethesda give in and pay them off.

    • Wulf says:

      Of for…

      Interplay has an entire team whom have made an MMO working with them on Fallout Online, they also have some noteworthy Black Isle employees working for Interplay, including the guy that pretty much designed the whole Fallout RPG system.

    • endaround says:

      This is all because Bethesda wanted to cheap out. They didn’t want to pay up front for all of the future Fallout rights, instead they wanted to get all the first person rights, leaving Interplay the rights for the previous games and any MMO property. If Interplay didn’t get an MMO underway by a certain date all rights went to Zenimax. Now during that time Zenimx has tried to stop Interplay from distributing the previous Fallouts while trying to get full rights to the Fallout property. If Zenimax would have paid full freight to begin with (keeping in mind that Interplay is basically just a rights holder at this point) they would be wasting so much money on lawsuits.

  22. MCM says:

    Bethesda’s recent request for a restraining order against Interplay/Masthead has been denied by US district judge John F. Walter, and before Interplay had even gotten around to mounting their own response.

    Yes. That would be to be expected with an ex parte request.

  23. Bull0 says:

    future uses. Your examples of new properties giving people the right to sue old, closed projects isn’t what I was intending to evoke. I can see how you got there, because Elder Scrolls is a series, but to clarify I meant new uses of the name, not existing ones. Also, if you don’t aggressively defend your copyright then you risk losing it – that’s part of copyright law. You’re negligent in holding your copyright if you allow it to be flouted, and you can be stripped of that copyright – probably a loophole designed to help prevent nuisance copyrights, although in practise it has basically the reverse effect of causing lots of nuisance litigation to become necessary.

    But either way yes, the legal system *is* hopelessly broken and debate *is* futile. Don’t you remember reading those insane EULAs for Origin and Steam? They’re full of mental draconian bullshit that they’ll never implement but which they have to identify as potential ramifications of their design to avoid a shitstorm. This is why barristers make the big bucks, and it can’t be adequately pub-logic spitballed by you and I in a comments thread. It’s a complex, convoluted, deeply illogical business. Not everything can be solved by JUST APPLYING A BIT O’ COMMON SENSE, GUV.

    It’s the legal system, baby.

  24. Bhazor says:

    Interplay as they are don’t stand a chance of actually finishing a major release like this. I think they’re just waiting for Beth to lose patience and make an out of court offer for the MMO rights.

    Masthead STILL haven’t made any mention of the game on their website since their one paragraph press release and the screen shots that Interplay have released seems to just be Fallout 3 assets badly arranged with ultra low res texturing. Interplay creating a mythical game just to keep hold on a IP? I’m getting a distinct Tim Langdell smell from all this.

    • Wulf says:

      Let’s ignore the recent rework of the official site, then?

      Sigh.

      If this were fake then they wouldn’t have bothered with that. Go look.

  25. RobF says:

    The Mohang/Bethesda case is nothing to do with copyright. It’s a trademark dispute. The two things are distinct.

    Yes, you can lose your trademark if you don’t defend it. Zenimax have the trademark for The Elder Scrolls. They do not have a trademark (that I know of or could find on USPTO) for Scrolls.

    They will not lose their trademark if Mojang get granted Scrolls In the same way that someone who owned Supersonic would not lose their trademark through Sega trademarking Sonic. They do not have any future trading rights on the individual words that make up the trademark either. That is not how things work.

    Hence their case is based around claiming confusion between their trademark and Mojang’s application.

  26. Jumwa says:

    Well we have to justify that entire body of lawyers existing somehow, don’t we? And giving them their own language and convoluted system of reasoning is the way to do it, consarnnit!

  27. Bull0 says:

    I always thought Trademark was a tool of Copyright. I was wrong. Still, search and replace copyright with trademark and the discussion holds up, and i’m sorry we got it wrong :/

  28. mjig says:

    I will never buy any Fallout game that isn’t made by Obsidian. They’re clearly the only ones who know how to do it right, now that BI is dead.

  29. Vinraith says:

    It’ll be shit no matter who makes it, better that Bethesda’s resources be directed elsewhere. Like others here, I doubt faux-Interplay really has the ability to create anything remotely on this scale anyway.

  30. empty_other says:

    Anyone get the feeling the companies dont care about actual video games, but are just playing a game with us as hit points and money as the score?
    I’m pretty sure they are as excited at finding a +1 Lawyer as we are when finding a +1 Sword. :)

    • Bobby Oxygen says:

      If by “companies”, you mean “publishers”, then, yeah.

  31. steviesteveo says:

    I always thought giraffe was a kind of sheep. I was wrong. Still, search and replace sheep with giraffe and the discussion holds up, and i’m sorry we got it wrong :/

  32. Bull0 says:

    that’s crap though isn’t it, because if you were talking about sheep when you meant girafes you’d have mentioned the widespread use of their wool as a textile material, their habitat, their characteristics etc, and searching and replacing “sheep” with “girafe” would yield a madman’s fevered ramblings about wooly girafes. It’d be absurd. Copyright and Trademark are functionally similar concepts that I was misusing, that’s all. And the people who tell you how funny you are don’t have your best interests at heart.

  33. DrGonzo says:

    Speaking as someone who has dealth with it, they are not the same thing at all.

  34. Bull0 says:

    i’m not saying they are, I admitted openly that I’d confused the two. then dr. giggles came along with his insightful comment likening my intelligence to someone who can’t differentiate between sheep and girafes, and I lost interest in talking about it further

  35. cptgone says:

    lawyers, the parasitic caste.
    someone should sue ‘em all.

  36. steviesteveo says:

    They’re just names of legal concepts like “murder” and “succession”, but if someone uses the word “succession” to talk about a murder that’s a big red flag. I meant that if someone uses the word “sheep” when talking about giraffes (or vice versa) you can’t just switch in the right words and trust their giraffe analysis.

  37. MFToast says:

    I’ll have you all know that I’m a wannabe internet lawyer and I know everything! Copyright! Trademark! Franchise! Revenue! Law and order!

  38. wodin says:

    Hurrah….thankgod for that…I only hope it cost them a fortune…justice has been done.

  39. Bull0 says:

    My whole point was that I’d only confused the two words, I wasn’t deeply analysing copyright and then asserting that actually the same applies to trademark – I was talking about trademark the entire time and using the wrong word. That’s what you’ve deliberately failed to understand in your quest to make me look stupid and yourself seem “funny” but it hasn’t worked, and I come here to read about and discuss issues, not rip the piss out of people for muddling up words, so don’t expect further response daddio

  40. steviesteveo says:

    I don’t quite know what to do with that. I personally didn’t intend to suggest you didn’t know the difference between a sheep and a giraffe but I can only apologise for making the analogy. Sheep and giraffe were just the first two names of animals to come into my head.

    Would a nicer analogy be if I replaced someone confusing types of animals with a doctor who mixes up the names of body parts — say they’re talking about legs the whole time but keep saying “arm” instead? They may happen to be talking a lot of sense but if they say “elbow” when strictly speaking they should say “knee” it affects their credibility on the subject. Wouldn’t you get a second opinion if your doctor says your broken “wrist” is attached to your foot, even if it sounds like he’s talking about your ankle?

  41. Melf_Himself says:

    Bethesda seem to be climbing the ranks of corporate douchery nicely.

  42. steamingnewell says:

    Screw Bethesda/Zenimax. Their games are shiny turds. They should let Interplay/masthead show them how to make a real game. I’m not buying Skyrim.

  43. BirdsUseStars says:

    Dear Bethesda,

    Please stop suing people and get to work making every one of your games that I own work without constantly crashing/at all.

    xoxox,

    -Me

    • Saiko Kila says:

      A game without unceasing fest of crashes and freezes? I doubt they’d take you seriously. It’s against the SPIRIT of gaming! (As they obviously understand it)

  44. Silphatos says:

    Wish judge also denied Bethesda from making any Fallout games. WTF WAS FALLOUT 3?

  45. thebigJ_A says:

    I would like for Interplay to make a new Fallout game.

    I would hate for anyone to make a Fallout MMO.

    Fallout is about post-apocalyptic survival, among other things. C’mon, think about what Fallout means to you. Now, tell me which of the features of MMO games fit in with that idea. Raids? Chat? Hordes of people running around acting like asshats? Microtransactions?

    Blech. Keep that stuff out of my Fallout please!

  46. steamingnewell says:

    I’m excited that Bethesda didnt get their way this time. They should focus away at the lawsuits everywhere and on not making crappy sandboxed amusement parks and call them games instead. I am not getting Skyrim.