Microsoft doesn’t actually own the ending of ‘Minecraft’

The writer of 'The End Poem' has repeatedly refused to sign over ownership

Julian Gough, the writer of the epic poem that can be seen after completing Minecraft, has hit out at the “capitalist games” that studios play.

In a Twitter thread, Gough explains that “eleven-and-a-bit years ago, I wrote the only written narrative in Minecraft: the story that appears after you kill the Ender Dragon, a narrative which players often call ‘The End Poem’. Today, I officially liberated that ending.”

Gough goes on to explain that he never signed a contract with original studio Mojang, or Microsoft after their $2.3billion (£1.9billion) acquisition of the company in 2014, so has always retained all the rights to ‘The End Poem’.


In a lengthy post on Substack, Gough goes into detail about the creation of Minecraft‘s ‘The End Poem’ and the legal back and forth that followed.

“I was put under a lot of pressure to sign [the contract]. But I never signed it. So Microsoft has never owned the ending to Minecraft. I own it. And from today on, I’m letting anybody play with it,” he explained on Twitter.

Gough added: “I don’t want anyone to be mean to [Mojang co-founders Markus Persson or Carl Manneh] or even Microsoft. They just played the standard capitalist game, as they are free to do. But I am an artist, and I am free to disagree with how they play that game. I didn’t like the way they played it, and so I didn’t sign the contract. And now, after a lot of thought, I have transferred those words to the gift economy.”

He went on to say that anyone is now free to use ‘The End Poem’ however they wish, including Microsoft, as it’s covered by a “CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. It’s free to play with, like Shakespeare, and the Bible.”


Speaking to Kotaku, Gough revealed that following his Twitter thread, “he’s received PayPal donations from Microsoft employees.”

“And I’ve had some eye-opening DMs from writers, and other creatives, who feel they were screwed over by big games companies, but who are afraid to say anything in public, because they worry they will be quietly blacklisted. There’s a lot of hurt out there,” he added.

Earlier this month, Gough returned to Twitter to talk about how “Microsoft, with 1700 legal staff available, didn’t reply to requests for comment from a major global media organisation about an about-to-be-published story explaining how Microsoft didn’t own the ending to the most successful game of all time,” in an attempt to “minimise the spread of the story”.

“Well, I woke up to see that this thread had taken off,” Gough said the following day ‘which is great! Because I spent all day yesterday trying to get that thread right. To make it a good, truthful, fun read. And now it’s keeping people Engaged And On The Platform. I’m a professional writer who worked all day yesterday, for free, to make more money for Elon Musk.”

“And that is a beautiful example of exactly what I talked about in the suppressed piece I wrote about Microsoft and Minecraft. Things are now structured so that corporations (and billionaires) keep all the money generated by the work of writers and artists,” he added.

In other news, one Minecraft creator has reportedly spent three months recreating Toto’s ‘Africa’ in the game – check it out here.

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