Unofficial Skyrim App Gets Legal Note From Bethesda Lawyers

The developer of Dragon Shout, a neat little iPhone app for Skyrim that we've previously covered, has been asked by Bethesda's lawyers to remove the program from the App Store "due to copyright infringement".

Blalock, the creator of the app, says that the request did not come with a cease & desist notice, nor did it explain specifically how it was violating Bethesda's copyright.

"I did my best to ensure the app was not violating anything," he tells TouchArcade. "I looked up US 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."

Before you ask, yes, Dragon Shout is free.

'Dragon Shout' Creator Receives Copyright Infringement Notice [Touch Arcade]


    They seriously can't see how this violates copyright? It's based on their IP, using their names and locations of towns. Yeah not great on Bethesda trying to shut it down without giving a reason....but come on.

      Well...I can't see either. Its not illegal to create and share content based on someones intellectual property. None of the content was created by Bethesda, he specifically states that the maps are hand drawn content has been stolen. That, coupled with the fact that the app is free, so no money is being made off their IP firmly places this app in the realm of fan content, along with slash fiction and fan drawn artwork. You wouldn't suggest those are illegal would you?

        "and fan drawn artwork. You wouldn’t suggest those are illegal would you?"
        Bethesda would, they sued someone a while ago over a fan-made fallout poster website.

          Actually they didn't sue the guy, bethesda's legal department sent him a cease and desist notice because they believed he was using bethesda's own artwork in the posters or something along those lines.

            That and the fact that the website was called "Fallout Posters" so its possible for someone to confuse it for a bethesda site.

        I'm not entirely sure of the legal aspects. Considering the fact that projects such as fan made games and interactive projects such as things like space quest 7 and the silver lining were deemed copyright infringements, even if non-profit, I feel that Bethesda are in the right.

          Those cases are a little bit different due to the fact that they are of the same medium as the original IP. As such it can be argued that people could confuse the user made content for an official release and any attempt to enact a "fair use" clause would likely be unsuccessful. This app is different. It tends to fall within the "fair use" guidelines. They are just guidelines though...the judge has leeway to make his own decision.

      Bethesda has a paid app for like $4 that does the same thing. That's why they want it gone.

      Could also be that the way it's done comes down to fair use(which would be why he done things the way he did).

      His app is also free so it's not taking money from them or providing money to him

      If they had launched their own $2 app and he had made his free version I could see the issue.

    bethesda's lawyers are like sue happy or something?

    If I recall correctly, this wasn't always "fully free". There was a period of time where you had to pay to access a whole range of features.

    I'm guessing if it was always free and he never made money off his "hand drawn" copy of their map of their world, this might not have happened.

    The reason Bethesda has to shut this down is because they have to draw a line. If they allow one app to exist that freely uses elements from their IP then what's to stop other people from doing the same? Then where is the line drawn?

      I love how most of the links around the web on this bring in a reference of them "suing Notch" and being a big bad wolf.

      Hardly any of those sites report what really happened: Notch tried to copyright "Scrolls" in all media, everywhere, for all time - which would then have allowed him to sue ZeniMax and force them to drop "Elder Scrolls" from all games.

      When ZeniMax moved to say that "Hey, wait a second....if anyone has a copyright, it's us, not you" every painted them as the bad guy, and still are.

      Revisionist much?

    I think if they didn't issue a cease and desist notice, they may be trying to scare him into removing the app without actually having any legal reasons to do so.

    Bethesda's lawyers are becoming quite the scrooges these days.

    No C&D = the lawyers know they don't have a case but are trying to bully him into taking it down to protect Bethesda's copyright claim in the future

    Next they'll be suing people over mods from the Creation Kit :/

    Sue ALL the people. They'd probably sue a guy on his deathbed who is dying because he lost too much blood through his knee...

Join the discussion!