ZeniMax Tells DoomRL Fan Game: Shut Down or Else!

What's the difference between DoomRL and Brutal Doom?

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DoomRL, the popular fan-made roguelike based on the Doom universe, is being targeted by ZeniMax for a copyright takedown. ZeniMax Media owns id Software and through them the intellectual property rights to Doom.

Kornel Disielewicz, the creator of DoomRL, doesn't attempt to collect any funds in exchange for his game. The DoomRL website also clearly states that DoomRL is "inspired by" Doom, not endorsed by id Software or ZeniMax as a licensed Doom product. Even so, ZeniMax's takedown letter states that "This unauthorized use of ZeniMax's intellectual property falsely suggests ZeniMax's sponsorship or endorsement of your website."

The demand that Kisielewicz takes down any trademarked ZeniMax material from the DoomRL website effectively means the whole thing, including the game, be taken down. ZeniMax went on to state, "Further legal action may be pursued if this situation is not immediately resolved."

Part of me has to think this was some sort of system that crawled his website and sent out the cease and desist automatically. If this is the real deal, it completely contradicts ZeniMax's endorsement of the Brutal Doom fan project. There's also the fact that Disielewicz began work on DoomRL three years before ZeniMax acquired the rights to the Doom series.

I understand the need to preserve copyrights and trademarks. I understand ZeniMax paid a lot of money to secure the rights to Doom. What I don't understand is how anyone could look at a small fan-made project like DoomRL and think that it could ever hinder sales of past or future official Doom games.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 2, 2016 8:29 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, ZeniMax Tells DoomRL Fan Game: Shut Down or Else!

    • reply
      December 2, 2016 8:38 AM

      "Please do the needful and shut it down" ZeniMax

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      December 2, 2016 9:56 AM

      To be fair, it's a fucking strong 'likeness' - hard to argue that its simply taking inspiration from Doom. On the other hand, the guy isn't charging for this so not sure how this is damaging/defaming Zeni

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        December 2, 2016 11:20 AM

        It also originally came out in 2002 and never seemed to be an issue until John Carmack mentioned it on his twitter November 21st.

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      December 2, 2016 10:41 AM

      The letter doesn't seem to be demanding he shut down, just remove all doom trademarks

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      December 2, 2016 11:03 AM

      Oh, fuck off ZeniMax. A free, fanmade game isn't damaging your IP.

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      December 2, 2016 11:12 AM

      This keeps happening and people keep acting like it's a big surprise. They have to protect their trademarks and IP and this game is "heavily inspired" by their shit. They're even using the Doom logo straight up. They're being asked to remove all ZeniMax trademarks, not shut the whole project down. I have to assume that the gameplay would still be the same even if they weren't using the Doom IP since they've launched a kickstarter for a spiritual sequel.

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        December 2, 2016 11:20 AM

        yeah a few replace alls and the issue is fixed

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          December 2, 2016 11:29 AM

          Well I mean the complaint doesn't even mention the game, it mentions the site. They're using that same site for their Kickstarter which is going to make them some amount of money if it reaches the goal. I'm not law scientist or nothing but I could imagine that got some lawyer all itchy.

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      December 2, 2016 11:22 AM

      Better go get it downloaded

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      December 2, 2016 11:28 AM

      Do any of you have any idea how fucking COOL DoomRL is? This is a fucking mistake on ZeniMax's part..

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        December 2, 2016 11:48 AM

        if they knew wtf they were doing... they would just buy it off him and start selling it.

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      December 2, 2016 11:39 AM

      It looks like DoomRL uses a whole bunch of Doom assets. I assume the assets are distributed as part of DoomRL. That will generate a lot of legal shit.

      I'm assuming that Brutal Doom requires you to have the original Doom WADs. If so, that would be the obvious legal difference.

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        December 2, 2016 11:51 AM

        Although, that doesn't seem to make sense considering the complaint is about website metadata and such.

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          December 2, 2016 8:07 PM

          That's... Silly. Because I agree, I totally see a fully legitimate complaint in regards to redistributing Doom art/sound assets without permission, but complaining about SEO targets? It has to be becausee of the Kickstarter and Carmack.

          Plus, ZeniMax Trademark Lawyers gonna ZeniMax Trademark Lawyer.

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      December 2, 2016 11:42 AM

      "indorsed" really?

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      December 2, 2016 11:56 AM

      Zenimax went after a developer (notch of minecraft fame) because of the name Scrolls (which they insist is theirs because of elder scrolls) so people probably should be more surprised that it took so long for them to act as the asshats they are.

      Between shit like this and how they fucked over arcane and humanhead I have zero sympathy for them. I hope they spiritual successor that the guy has running takes off:

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2020043306/jupiter-hell-a-modern-turn-based-sci-fi-roguelike

      11 days to go, maybe this turns out as a blessing in disguise.


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      December 2, 2016 12:01 PM

      They have to protect their trademarks or they lose them. Letting a project continue that's clearly using their property (making money or not) shows that they aren't trying to protect it and could let others infringe. It sucks, but I can't honestly blame ZeniMax for this at all. Don't use trademarked properties for your projects or you run the risk of this happening. They're not doing it to fuck you over, they're doing it so they don't get fucked over in the future.

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        December 2, 2016 12:30 PM

        DoomRL has been around since 2002... Also back when id wasn’t what it is today hence Carmack and co not giving fucks and all that. I get protecting the stuff they bought out but how about applying some COMMON SENSE anymore..

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          December 2, 2016 12:51 PM

          On that note https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/140568018 (check his supported games).

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          December 2, 2016 10:42 PM

          We've known about * F O X ' D * since Quake Aliens in 1997.

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          December 2, 2016 10:50 PM

          Probably didn't matter until they decided to go kickstarter and make money.

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            December 3, 2016 1:40 AM

            The kickstarter is for a completely unrelated game, so I can't see why that would change anything.

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              December 3, 2016 1:49 AM

              Jupiter Hell is the spiritual successor to DoomRL. It's right there on their Kickstarter page. Although they call it D**m now. There are links from the DoomRL website to the Kickstarter. I'm not going to argue who is in the right or wrong here but I can see that this is not some random timing for Zenimax to put the hammer down. The game will probably do better now with all the attention it's gathering anyway.

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                December 3, 2016 2:21 AM

                Zeni are being giant cunts about this. Like what do they hope to gain? Oh are they going to make an asciii rougelike and fear this is going to impact sales? A turn based strategic shoot fest? Just by sending a cease and desist they are bringing attention... Better to just shut the fuck up and the few that care can keep on...

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                  December 3, 2016 2:45 AM

                  They should not let someone make games using their IP and then off the success of that game acquire funding for their next one. I think had they not started using DoomRL to pimp their new game Zenimax probably would have let them go on. If you download the game and install it now it prompts you to go and check out the Kickstarter. Zenimax has been dicks in the past and this is heavy-handed in my opinion but I understand.

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      December 2, 2016 12:34 PM

      Looks pretty cool! Thanks Barbara Streisand!

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      December 2, 2016 12:38 PM

      If you understand the need to preserve/actively protect copyrights and trademarks, then you should also understand that this has nothing to do with whether or not DoomRL could ever hinder sales of past or future official Doom games. See: Mojang and 'Scrolls'

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      December 2, 2016 7:12 PM

      Who do we dislike more? Zenimax or Gearbox?

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        December 2, 2016 8:00 PM

        I have no ill will towards Gearbox developers. IMO they are controlled by essentially a very successful used car salesman Randy Pitchford.

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          December 2, 2016 8:24 PM

          my sentiment for both companies, it's their PR and business decisions that irk me.

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        December 2, 2016 8:41 PM

        Zenimax by so far for me. PR-wise, I think Pete Hines is the most high-profile sociopath in the industry. Awful guy.

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      December 2, 2016 9:53 PM

      This game fucking rocks! So addictive :D

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      December 2, 2016 10:05 PM

      Ironically, this has brought the game to my attention, and I will now play it. Thanks Zenimax.

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        December 3, 2016 1:52 AM

        Yep. Instantly downloaded and archived forever.

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