There have been many Wordle clones before New York Times bought the real thing in 2022 to the point where they’ve become a common sight in app stores. It seems The Times has been trying to get Wordle’s copy count down recently and is sending DMCA takedown notices to their developers. Like 404 Media reports, the latest notice sent by the news organization could eliminate not only the target game itself, but also thousands of other alternatives and spinoffs.

the times’ the latest DMCA notice was filed against Chase Wackerfuss, the person behind a Wordle clone called “Reactle”. In its notice, the publication said GitHub should delete the offending repository and the hundreds of forked repositories based on it. Wackerfuss has already downloaded Reactle’s GitHub page – he said 404 Media it wasn’t worth getting into a legal battle New York Times and just deleted your repository. However, according to the publication, it was forked 1,900 times before it was taken down and was used to create versions of Wordle in dozens of different languages, as well as spinoffs with different twists. Some of these spinoffs turned Wordle into crosswords and two-player games, while others transformed it into guessing games that use emoticons and other symbols instead of letters and words.

Based on the download request The times submitted to Reactle, the paper claims ownership of the Wordle name as well as its mechanics. “Wordle copyright The Times includes the unique elements of its hugely popular game, such as the 5×6 grid, green tiles to show correct guesses, yellow tiles to show the correct letter but the wrong place in the word, and the keyboard directly below the grid,” the DMCA notice says. “This gameplay is copied right into the repository and the owner instructs others how to break the game and create an identical word game.” However, seeing that Wordle has a fairly simple premise — I was able to easily create a simpler but similar guessing game in words, when I took a basic programming course — this download request will probably not lead to the end of its clones and alternatives.