Half-Life Beta recreation mod, Absolute Zero, gets a DMCA takedown notice

p0sixkillah

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What happened?
On the 28th of May, Cobalt-57, the developers behind the beta recreation mod for Half-Life titled Absolute Zero, announced on their Twitter that "Our Half-Life production will be pulled down for a short period of time for re-branding to comply with a DMCA filed against us".

Who and why would do this? An indie gamedev company named Giggle Horse Games who are working on a game under the same title.

In the (now removed) YouTube comments under one of the Giggle Horse's videos by the company's CEO, Randell Trulson, that they "have used the trademark legally for nearly a decade", despite the trademark that belonged to the 1995 Absolute Zero MS-DOS game, was abandoned up until 2018, when Giggle Horse acquired rights to the trademark.

While what they did may be within their legal rights, the ethical side of this action is considered by many as a bad move. We'll try to contact both sides for more detailed comments and update the news post once we hear from them.

Sources
1. Cobalt-57 on Twitter: "Our Half-Life production will be pulled down for a short period of time for re-branding to comply with a DMCA filed against us. We apologize for this inconvenience."
2. Half-Life MOD Struck Down With DMCA Claim! - YouTube
 

p0sixkillah

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Author's opinion and comments
This is our first post in that format where the actual facts posted first, and then the author's opinion and comments are published in the next post. While we aren't a dedicated game journalism website, it's interesting to experiment with this format. Let us know in the feedback forum if you think there's something to change or improve.
A few interesting questions that you may find asking yourself are: how did Giggle Horse use the trademark legally prior to 2018 if they applied for it in December, 2018 and were granted it just a few days ago in May, 2019? Why would you want to bully a fellow indie that doesn't pose any threat to your business and not even related to your game? Why didn't they also file a DMCA against Activision/Treyarch, because they have a Black Ops 4 Operation titled Absolute Zero? Probably just because they don't have balls and money for that.

This news hits me especially hard, given that I have one game in development and one Half-Life 2 mod planned on a whiteboard. You are an indie, they are an indie. They have been using this name since 2015. Why wouldn't you show decency, and even if you acquired the trademark, not touch the game that isn't even related to your product at all? In the nowadays' gaming industry, indies could've used some form of solidarity.

Mr. Trulson, you (and the company you're acting on the behalf of) may be entitled to that action legally, but you are in the wrong morally. What you did is an abhorrent, scummy and dirty tactic that won't do any good to your product long-term. Such actions are hated amongst the common folk who ends up buying our games. Other businessmen with the mind of yours that ethics doesn't matter, are in such a minority I'm not even counting them. I'm saying it as a dev, an entrepreneur AND as a consumer. You have definitely lost me as a consumer, even a potential one, as I condemn what you did. As there is not much we can do except boycotting your products, alerting other potential consumers and showing solidarity with Cobalt-57, there's hope that one day you will cross the road of some major player like Bethesda, Microsoft, EA or whoever else as big just to put you through what Cobalt-57 has now to go, that will be enough to wipe that stupid giggle from your assholistic, bullying horse.
 

Botclone

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May 18, 2019
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It's like those weapon replica companies that scoop up all the licences for replicas from real steel gun manufactures. They sue anyone else making a replica that they hold the license to, and then don't make any of their own, just have another company make it for them.
 
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