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Creator of Canadian word game Canuckle says he has not received NYT takedown notice

The creator of the Canadian daily word game “Canuckle” says he has not received a takedown notice from the New York Times and doesn’t anticipate one.

The Times has been issuing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices to clones of the popular game Wordle recently, which the Times acquired in 2022. The takedown notices cite infringement on the Times’ ownership of the name “Wordle” and its look and feel, such as the colour scheme of green, yellow and grey.

The New York Times told the Associated Press in a prepared statement that it has no issue with people creating similar games, but it is taking action against a GitHub user who shared code on how to create Wordle clones and the people who used that code.

Speaking to CTVNewsOttawa.ca by phone, Ottawa’s Mark Rogers, who created Canuckle alongside his brother Jeff, said he has not received anything from the New York Times.

“I don’t think we fall into the same category as the games they are targeting for takedown,” he said. “We have a different colour scheme, we’re not using Wordle’s name, and we rebuilt our codebase from the ground up. We created something uniquely Canadian.”

Rogers says the fun fact that pops up about each word, once the puzzle is solved, also sets Canuckle apart from its predecessor.

“It’s my brother and I, two Canadian dads, who are doing this on the side because we love Canadian trivia.”

Wordle did inspire Canuckle, Rogers said. The popular game that launched in 2021, created by Josh Wardle, took the world by storm and inspired numerous games. Canuckle’s original run was online from February 2022 to Canada Day 2022. After that, Rogers says the game was redesigned over the summer and it was relaunched on a new platform.

“We wouldn’t be here without the original five-letter word game, so kudos to Wordle,” he said. “We’re still regular players and we’re excited for the 1,000th puzzle coming out this Friday.”

In the meantime, Rogers says, “We’re going to keep offering Canuckle.”

The Rogers brothers also created Canoku, a daily sudoku-based puzzle game that swaps out the traditional numbers for pictures of things like the Canadian flag, hockey and lacrosse sticks, moose, beavers, canoes and polar bears.

–With files from The Associated Press.

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