Minecraft Creator Settles Piracy Dispute With Deathmatch

By April 24, 2012

The indie developer behind mega hit Minecraft is known both for his Swedish quirkiness and showing up at events donning an iconic black fedora, but when Markus Persson (commonly known as Notch) challenged the owner of a piracy website to a deathmatch, shit got real.

Earlier this month, the developer asked the owner of MineCraftForFree.com to shut down his website that allowed visitors to play the game free of charge. The website asked those pirating the game to agree that they were only using the website to determine whether or not they would enjoy the title enough to legitimately purchase a copy. After contacting the owner, Notch tweeted that they would settle the dispute over a deathmatch in the classic first person shooter Quake.

Notch's first tweet about the challenge

“What a great guy,” Notch tweeted soon after, “he already took down the site. : D”

Anyone visiting the Minecraft pirating website will now see Notch’s tweet when trying to access the game, below which the owner acknowledged it was because of Notch’s request that he brought down the website.

Last year, after some legal trouble with Bethesda over the use of the word scrolls in a video game title, Notch similarly offered to settle the matter with a game of Quake 3. The Elder Scrolls publisher declined, though later Notch won the injunction hearing in the case.

The challenge to the Minecraft pirate was issued earlier this month and after many delayed sessions the two finally went head to head yesterday, streaming the entire thing live on twitch.tv. The fight for honor is just over two hours long, but skip ahead to about 37 minutes in if you want to get right into the action.

After a grueling hour and a half of battle, Notch along with other members of the Mojang team defended their gaming honor with a solid victory over the Minecraft pirate. The owner updated his website yesterday, clarifying that “regardless of the outcome, MCFF was not going to be coming back.”

Who knows how much litigation was involved, if any, behind the scenes in taking down the Minecraft pirating website. My guess is that there was probably very little, due to how easily the website owner complied, and Notch’s friendly online disposition in general.

Either way, Notch has taught us all a valuable lesson in playing it cool. Next time someone’s trying to pirate your product, just challenge them to a friendly, bloody, virtual duel.

Corey Cummings

Corey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he received degrees in English and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Chicago and enjoys alternately obsessing over video games that aren't out yet and crazy gadgets he can't afford.