There is only one part of the narrative written in the language Maine Craft. It happens right at the end, after you beat an ender dragon. It’s about 8 minutes long – about the length of a world record speed game – and consists of a scrolling text poem written by an artist named Julian Gough.
Gough got the job by responding to a tweet posted in 2011 by Minecraft creator Markus Persson: “Are you a talented writer (famous plus ;D) who wants to write silly, out-of-band script when you win Minecraft?” Submitted by friends and fans of Gough, the rest is history.
But Gough never signed over the rights to the poem, which is a strange and intentionally interrupted conversation between two anonymous people talking about and to me You are the player.
The fact that Gough never signed over the rights—despite pressure from Pearson, and later Microsoft—left a rift between the two parties. “I wrote a story for a friend,” Gough describes it, “but in the end, he didn’t treat me like a friend, and I got hurt.” But, as Gough said in his comprehensive 10,000-word event story (which you can read in full here):
“The contract was for a buyout deal, signing over all my rights in perpetuity, and that was exactly the thing I told Carl [Manneh, former Mojang CEO] I’ve never done it with my work.”
But legal and 10,000-word stories aside, what does this mean?
This means that Gough has sole rights to the text of the Minecraft end poem, and neither Mojang nor Microsoft can sell anything related to that poem. They cannot use it for commercial purposes. They cannot print t-shirts with it. Only Julian Goff could benefit from it.
Even today, that’s because he gives it to Everyone.
“I wrote End Poem for Minecraft, the most popular video game of all time. I never signed a contract giving Mojang the rights to End Poem, so Microsoft (which bought Minecraft from Mojang) doesn’t own it either. I did.
Rather than sue the company or fight with my old friend, who founded the company and has since, I dedicate the poem to the public domain. You’ll find it at the bottom of this post, along with the Creative Commons public domain assignment.
Now anyone can play it. Have fun.”
In contrast, Julianne Goff isn’t asking for much, though He opened his PayPal account for donations If anyone wants to say thank you for their work. He also hopes that, when it comes to art, people will think about what they buy and where they buy it.
“Five global corporations shouldn’t have all the characters in our dreams,” he says. “To fix that, simply make direct connections with the artists you love… You have no idea how powerful you are: how much you can make a difference, just by doing it.”
What do you think about this news? What will you do with End Poem of Minecraft? Talk to us in the comments (it’s kind of an ending poem, too).
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