The New York Times takes legal action against Wordle copycats

The New York Times is cracking down on Wordle imitations, issuing copyright takedown notices to developers.

 Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone, Text

The New York Times is confronting numerous games inspired by Wordle, alleging copyright infringement. Since acquiring Wordle in 2022, the Times has utilized DMCA takedown notices against developers of these imitations, citing breaches of the Wordle name and its visual components. Despite permitting similar word games that avoid trademark or copyrighted gameplay violations, the Times targeted those closely resembling Wordle.

Consequently, numerous websites hosting unauthorized ‘Wordle’ games are facing removal. Developers like Vignesh Venkat expressed frustration over their games being singled out despite their minimal impact compared to Wordle’s widespread popularity. Legal experts, like Robert Brauneis, contend that the Times’ copyright assertions may be precarious since game rules are typically not protected by copyright, and Wordle’s registration lacks specifics on colors or graphics.

The Times’ enforcement actions underscore the intricacies of intellectual property protection in the digital era. Meanwhile, Wordle’s fame surged. It inspired variations like Heardle and Queerdle, culminating in the Times commemorating its 1,000th puzzle with a nationwide event.