NYTimes Files Copyright Takedown Against Hundreds of Wordle Clones

The takedown is also affecting games that definitively aren't Wordle.
NYTimes Files Copyright Takedown Against Hundreds of Wordle Clones
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The New York Times has filed a series of copyright takedown requests against Wordle clones and variations in which it asserts not just ownership over the Wordle name but over the broad concepts and mechanics of the word game, which includes its “5x6 grid” and “green tiles to indicate correct guesses.”

The Times filed at least three DMCA takedown requests with coders who have made clones of Wordle on GitHub. These include two in January and, crucially, a new DMCA filed this week against Chase Wackerfuss, the coder of a repository called “Reactle,” which cloned Wordle in React JS (JavaScript). (The full takedown is embedded at the bottom of this article.)

The most recent takedown request is critical because it not only goes after Reactle but anyone who has forked Reactle to create a different spinoff game; an archive of the Reactle code repository shows that it was forked 1,900 times to create a diverse set of games and spinoffs. These include Wordle clones in dozens of languages, crossword versions of Wordle, emoji and bird versions of world, poker and AI spinoffs, etc. 

“I write to submit a revised DMCA Notice regarding an infringing repository (and hundreds of forked repositories) hosted by Github that instruct users how to infringe The New York Times Co.’s (‘The Times’) copyright in its immensely popular Wordle game and create knock-off copies of the same. Unfortunately, hundreds of individuals have followed these instructions and published infringing Wordle knock-off games that The Times has spent the past month removing, including off of Github’s websites,” the DMCA takedown request against Reactle reads. 

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