ZeniMax Fires Copyright Warning At Skyrim App

ZeniMax Fires Copyright Warning At Skyrim App

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Skyrim map app Dragon Shout has attracted the wrathful gaze of the ZeniMax legal department.

Dragon Shout, you may recall, is an iOS app designed to make mapping the lands of Skyrim a little less of a chore. It allows users to take their maps with them, annotate them and even share those notations with friends through built-in social functionality. And it's free! Alas, it also infringes upon copyrights held by Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax, or so the company claims - although rather oddly, it doesn't appear to be working too hard to make the app go away.

The infringement notice, which was actually sent back in late April, asked the developer to remove the app voluntarily, but Apple hasn't yet pulled it from the App Store because ZeniMax hasn't yet laid out how exactly it infringes. Furthermore, the developer, "Blalock," said he hasn't received a cease-and-desist letter yet and "several" emails to ZeniMax seeking details have gone ignored.

"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he told TouchArcade. "I looked up U.S. trademarks and copyrights for 'Dragon Shout' and at the time there wasn't any. I had the map hand drawn. I intentionally didn't use any graphics or wording that would possibly be owned by Bethesda. So, I'm still not sure what they say the app violates."

Not that I would ever suggest bad behavior on the part of ZeniMax, but the long silence following the initial warning has me wondering if maybe an overzealous lawyer somewhere saw the app and reacted a wee bit too quickly, without first digging to see if there was any basis in the claim. That sort of knee-jerk response could be encouraged by the existence of Bethesda's "official" Skyrim app, which is free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest, but that of course is pure speculation.

Dragon Shout remains on the App Store for now but the clock may be ticking, so if you want it, you might want to get a move on.

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I really don't care what happens to this app, we Android users are SO left out in these things, shame for the people who DO have the app though

Because it's so hard to have another tab with a map on it.

Hey, he hand-drew that? Not bad, even just for a map.

Not sure about the legalities involves here, but it just sounds like a knee-jerk sort of thing. It might also be something along the lines of what happened with Scrolls, where Bethesda are obliged to claim infringement, no matter how small, to ensure they keep the rights. Just speculation though.

EDIT: Oh, had it hand-drawn. Still, someone had to do it, so good on them.

Andy Chalk:
"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he told TouchArcade. "I looked up U.S. trademarks and copyrights for 'Dragon Shout' and at the time there wasn't any. I had the map hand drawn. I intentionally didn't use any graphics or wording that would possibly be owned by Bethesda. So, I'm still not sure what they say the app violates."

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

Overzealous lawyers at Bethesda? Who'da thunk? After that whole "Scrolls" PR fiasco, you'd think they'd be keeping their lawyers on a very tight leash right now, but apparently not.

P.S. Thanks

Kimarous:

Andy Chalk:
"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he told TouchArcade. "I looked up U.S. trademarks and copyrights for 'Dragon Shout' and at the time there wasn't any. I had the map hand drawn. I intentionally didn't use any graphics or wording that would possibly be owned by Bethesda. So, I'm still not sure what they say the app violates."

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

But it is a free app so no money is being made

getoffmycloud:

Kimarous:

Andy Chalk:
"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he told TouchArcade. "I looked up U.S. trademarks and copyrights for 'Dragon Shout' and at the time there wasn't any. I had the map hand drawn. I intentionally didn't use any graphics or wording that would possibly be owned by Bethesda. So, I'm still not sure what they say the app violates."

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

But it is a free app so no money is being made

Incorrect.

free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest

My point stands.

Kimarous:

getoffmycloud:

Kimarous:

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

But it is a free app so no money is being made

Incorrect.

free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest

My point stands.

That's for Bethesda's app. Not his.

Kimarous:

getoffmycloud:

Kimarous:

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

But it is a free app so no money is being made

Incorrect.

free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest

My point stands.

That's Bethesdas own app I think you'll find.

Read the piece again and you'll notice Mr. Chalk putting emphasis on the fact that the app is free while Bethesdas costs money.

Kimarous:

getoffmycloud:

Kimarous:

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

But it is a free app so no money is being made

Incorrect.

free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest

My point stands.

That's for Bethesda's Official Skyrim Map.

"That sort of knee-jerk response could be encouraged by the existence of Bethesda's "official" Skyrim app, which is free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest, but that of course is pure speculation."

EDIT: HA! 3 in 3 minutes.

Kimarous:

Andy Chalk:
"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he told TouchArcade. "I looked up U.S. trademarks and copyrights for 'Dragon Shout' and at the time there wasn't any. I had the map hand drawn. I intentionally didn't use any graphics or wording that would possibly be owned by Bethesda. So, I'm still not sure what they say the app violates."

I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

but he isn't selling it, the app is free.

It would of been plagiarism if he stood to earn something from it, but its a tough sell if something is free.

At most they can lay claim of copyright infringement if it is sufficient enough to allow for a chance of potential customers to become confused between an Elder Scrolls game and the app, or if ZeniMax itself has an official app on the way that was in production prior to Dragon Shout being released.

Of course, we can argue how stupid someone would have to be to confuse Skyrim with an iPhone app, but the court system is specifically tailored for stupid people.

Kimarous:
I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

Well, the app works, assumingly, by reading data out of Skyrim and presenting it in a map.

That's as much plagiarism or copyright infringement as shooting a picture of a car driving in a street is infringing the rights to that design which the car manafacturer holds.

But that's common sense, a word not commonly found in the dictionaries of dumb American lawyers or large companies.

Making annotations to maps? Sounds like something which should've been in the game to begin with. Make notes of any loot you've stored, notes of quest hooks to come back to, make notes of locations of certain mining nodes, areas where you can expect certain monsters, etc.

Frankly I'm more than a little annoyed that functionality is not built into the game to begin with.

Why not simply change the name to Wyvern Hollar?

Kalezian:
Of course, we can argue how stupid someone would have to be to confuse Skyrim with an iPhone app, but the court system is specifically tailored for stupid people.

Not just an iPhone app, but an iPhone app that doesn't have "elder scrolls" or "skyrim" anywhere in the name. I don't think ANYONE is going to get confused. It's a far more likely problem for, say, all those Minecraft strategy guides floating around on the App Store.

P.S. Thanks

Blablahb:

Kimarous:
I'm no legal expert, but isn't that still plagiarism and/or art forgery? Pretty sure copying someone's art by hand and selling it for your personal profit is illegal to some degree.

Well, the app works, assumingly, by reading data out of Skyrim and presenting it in a map.

That's as much plagiarism or copyright infringement as shooting a picture of a car driving in a street is infringing the rights to that design which the car manafacturer holds.

But that's common sense, a word not commonly found in the dictionaries of dumb American lawyers or large companies.

It's still copyright enfringement, unfortunately. Makers of plastic model kits have been successfully sued by Formula 1 teams and aircraft manufacturers for making models of their cars and aircraft without seeking a licence. As have game developers for making unlicensed american football, Formula 1 racing, soccer and golf games.

Insane, I know.

Covarr:
Overzealous lawyers at Bethesda? Who'da thunk? After that whole "Scrolls" PR fiasco, you'd think they'd be keeping their lawyers on a very tight leash right now, but apparently not.

P.S. Thanks

What fiasco? All I recall is a lot of angry people with no idea what was going on taking sides based on which person (Todd or Notch) they would be most likely to jump into bed with. As far as I remember, nothing bad at all happened because of it, Notch kept the name and Skyrim went on to sell millions. A few lawyers got a bigger pay cheque then normal, but that's about it.

OT: I would say the map, even if it isn't a digital copy, is still a forgery of a trademarked/copyrighted item. Lawyer over react? Maybe. Possible infringements? Possibly. Will the world end? Not because of this at least.

teh_gunslinger:

Kimarous:

getoffmycloud:

But it is a free app so no money is being made

Incorrect.

free for the basic map but offers up to $10 worth of in-app purchases for things like interior maps and various points of interest

My point stands.

That's Bethesdas own app I think you'll find.

Read the piece again and you'll notice Mr. Chalk putting emphasis on the fact that the app is free while Bethesdas costs money.

Probably why ZeniMax are trying to do something about this map. They know no one will buy theirs when they can get this one for free.

Ragsnstitches:

Covarr:
Overzealous lawyers at Bethesda? Who'da thunk? After that whole "Scrolls" PR fiasco, you'd think they'd be keeping their lawyers on a very tight leash right now, but apparently not.

P.S. Thanks

What fiasco? All I recall is a lot of angry people with no idea what was going on taking sides based on which person (Todd or Notch) they would be most likely to jump into bed with. As far as I remember, nothing bad at all happened because of it, Notch kept the name and Skyrim went on to sell millions. A few lawyers got a bigger pay cheque then normal, but that's about it.

OT: I would say the map, even if it isn't a digital copy, is still a forgery of a trademarked/copyrighted item. Lawyer over react? Maybe. Possible infringements? Possibly. Will the world end? Not because of this at least.

It wasn't a big deal because of the outcome. It was a big deal because it was bad publicity (which is why I called it a PR fiasco. The fact is, both Bethesda AND Mojang lost some fans as a result of it.

P.S. Thanks

I'm starting to wonder if the whole suing over copyright thing is 90% about not setting a precedent for something more major to come along. Like, if this one slips through the cracks, something which could actually hurt the brand might use their lack of response as an excuse later.

Covarr:

Ragsnstitches:

Covarr:
Overzealous lawyers at Bethesda? Who'da thunk? After that whole "Scrolls" PR fiasco, you'd think they'd be keeping their lawyers on a very tight leash right now, but apparently not.

P.S. Thanks

What fiasco? All I recall is a lot of angry people with no idea what was going on taking sides based on which person (Todd or Notch) they would be most likely to jump into bed with. As far as I remember, nothing bad at all happened because of it, Notch kept the name and Skyrim went on to sell millions. A few lawyers got a bigger pay cheque then normal, but that's about it.

OT: I would say the map, even if it isn't a digital copy, is still a forgery of a trademarked/copyrighted item. Lawyer over react? Maybe. Possible infringements? Possibly. Will the world end? Not because of this at least.

It wasn't a big deal because of the outcome. It was a big deal because it was bad publicity (which is why I called it a PR fiasco. The fact is, both Bethesda AND Mojang lost some fans as a result of it.

P.S. Thanks

No, it was a big deal because the rambling masses had no idea what was happening and decided to get angry since that is the natural reaction to being a pack animal and getting confused. The only people who got involved in the PR side of things were people railing against Bethesda because they were bethesda or, coming from a different angle, we had people who thought Mojang and Notch were the temple and messiah (respectively) to gaming.

What made things worse, despite any PR control on Bethesdas part, was the mind numbingly retarded "defences" being brought up by people who hadn't got the faintest idea what they were talking about and consequently stood out like shit in a salad. Of course the seething angry people I mentioned earlier, decided to take this as the official word of the Bethesda gods. And so their anger was rekindled ad nauseam, as each retard who decided to defend Bethesdas honour added fuel to the fire instead.

By the time the intellects in the room got involved it was too late. The orgy of stupid had already taken full swing.

I honestly think, in all the years I've been visiting this site, that was the single greatest display of incompetence I have ever seen on the internet (or at least the escapist). I would love a link to show me otherwise, as at least it might prove consistency and not degradation.

columbianbacon:
I'm starting to wonder if the whole suing over copyright thing is 90% about not setting a precedent for something more major to come along. Like, if this one slips through the cracks, something which could actually hurt the brand might use their lack of response as an excuse later.

Are you sure you don't know copyright law? Because you just described exactly how it works, hehe.

Even if they have no intention of going after the guy, they might have been trying to intimidate him into removing his app. Or, possibly, Zenimax has themselves a crooked law firm. It is not unheard of for crooked law firms to give legal advice which is not in the interest of the client to drum up business. They might try to instigate legal action, or more commonly advise a client to go to court when it's really in their interest to settle out of court.

If this map is infringing then uesp.net is as big a pirate site as The Pirate Bay!

 

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