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Author Topic: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!  (Read 4720 times)
Mormont
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2017, 07:05:26 pm »

Quote
My feeling is that they've went through the logistics of making Ghosts and now feel like they can't pull it off.
So they started this legal battle to create an antagonist as a scapegoat.
I really, really don't find this conspiracy theory plausible and am disappointed so many on Stardock's official homeground, even longtime SC fans, have gone for it. They've made multiple successful modern games and know what goes into it. The design was starting out with just the two of them but they always planned to get more people on board later and secure some form of funding.

Even if Fred and Paul's legal case is partly mistaken or if they're pressing things too hard, I think they really do feel like their IP is being threatened. They've also been involved with legal matters in Star Control in the past and I'm sure have spent a lot of time looking at the ins and outs many years before Stardock entered the picture, whose claims are pretty novel (remember that none of us really know the details - having read quite a bit of Stardock's side as a founder...well, I won't say Stardock is lying outright but I'm wary of trusting it, at least not completely). And perhaps they feel that confusion over the IP, especially Stardock claiming ownership of SC2, is making it more difficult to get a publisher or funding for Ghosts.

Also, I'm not necessarily calling out you specifically on this, but a lot of people in Stardock's turf are now saying both "TFB aren't allowed to make a sequel except by Stardock's good will" and "TFB have just been making excuses for no sequel for 25 years, what took them so long?" at the same time now. These are contradictory statements. Suppose for the sake of argument that Stardock's sweeping interpretation of their rights - where F&P "own" the universe but can't really legally do anything besides collect royalties - is accurate.  It can't also be true that Paul and Fred were lazy or didn't care about fans for taking so long to make a sequel that they had no legal right to makew. If (if - again, conceding it hypothetically) Ghosts can only be allowed by Stardock magnanimously signing their license over, the second statement is mutually exclusive.

Quote
Maybe my tune would change if P&F actually reached out to their fans like they used to, which Brad is actually doing now.
Instead of taking pot-shots from the sidelines only to go radio silent after every blog post.
Likely their lawyers have advised them to stay silent for now. They did answer my recent e-mail though (a brief exchange, no juicy information to share). And with Frogboy posting on all the major fan forums they probably don't want to argue with him directly here. If going public with the blog posts was possibly premature or mistaken, squabbling on the forum would be much worse!

Quote
They might go the Project 6014 (?) route, by adapting the UQM code sufficiently to continue the story, and thus care less about actual coding, or delivering code according to modern standards.
The UQM source is notoriously messy and I'm sure they wanted to do more new things than just iterating on the SC2 engine anyway.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 10:20:32 pm by Mormont » Logged
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2017, 12:59:58 am »

Not really a conspiracy theory, more of a guarded speculation.

Paul & Fred have had an inside look at SC:Origins from the very beginning, they knew what all of us within the NDA know.
And if their lawyers were advising them to be quiet then they wouldn't have taken those pot shots in the first place.

There was no reason to drag this into public view other than to turn Stardock into an antagonist in the public eye.
This is not how professionals take care of legal matters.

On the flip side, what would be the reasoning behind Brad's lawyers letting him speak his mind about the whole thing?
Shouldn't they be figuratively gagging him so as to not make things worse?
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2017, 10:53:51 am »

Well, this is a surprise... and from what it looks like, it's a surprise to Brad as well.
[...]
Brad is basically saying "You have our permission, go ahead!", while FF and PR3 are saying they shouldn't NEED permission. This seems like a fairly technical point, but in the murky world of IP law and business, the distinction between permission being granted and not needing permission in the first place could actually be a literal gamebreaker for GotP. As supportive as Brad is, permission is something that can potentially be withdrawn, if something happens to Stardock that means that Brad is no longer in charge of Stardock's side of the IP - a hypothetical new holder of Stardock's side of the IP could, in theory, withdraw permission and issue a cease and desist on GotP, or even if FF & PR3's permission to make GotP is future-proofed, a hypothetical future owner of the Stardock side of the IP might be able to freeze FF & PR3 out of doing anything else with their universe afterwards. Such uncertainty in the status of the IP might be making it difficult for FF & PR3 to get investors and other backers for their project.

The other issues FF & PR3 raise are essentially symptoms of this: Stardock releasing Star Control 1, 2, and Kessari Quadrant without permission, and putting the Ur-Quan Masters and Kessari Quadrant universes in their diagram, is essentially demonstrating to potential backers that the exact status of the Ur-Quan Masters IP is not fully resolved, and therefore that the risk that a future holder of the Stardock side of the IP might pull the plug remains.
"Who owns exactly how much of exactly what now" seems to be most of the problem.
Which is why it remains frustrating to those involved, confusing for those of us who read about it and unsatisfying for everyone interested in past and future games.
But there's also some inevitable miscommunication. And sunk costs. And obligations to others. And "enforce it or lose it" rule for trademarks making this disagreement more frantic than it needs to be otherwise.
So either lawyers will have to pick this mess dust grain by dust grain, or Paul and Fred take Brad's proposal to discuss this directly and try to work out some agreement.
Then again, by now all three probably are annoyed with this enough that using some common acquaintance as a mediator may be better than "phone call", despite an extra layer of miscommunication.
Then this agreement have to be turned into something binding by lawyers. Simply because it's one thing to trust Frogboy who is cool and all... and it's entirely another thing (in long term) to trust Stardock. Look at what's left of Ed Greenwood's agreement with TSR representative, who was cool and all, and himself was one of their best designers - how much all this matters now?
All this have to take some time.

Stardock forum's thread on this predictably shows frustration, confusion and fanboys (of either and both sides) chasing their own tails per tradition of internet discussions.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 11:58:08 am by TBeholder » Logged

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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2017, 01:16:13 pm »

Actually, I think the trademark is one thing that they all agree on, so that's not at issue.
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2017, 04:58:42 pm »

Psst. Frogboy. You have been outed as a liar. Stop while you are ahead.

Stardock is like a mini EA games or Blizzard. It's a bad idea to spread your bull when you have been exposed.
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2017, 06:55:39 pm »

Zelnik, show the evidence or stop. And preferably, even as you show the evidence, don't be so rude about it.
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2017, 04:07:02 pm »

Not really a conspiracy theory, more of a guarded speculation.

Paul & Fred have had an inside look at SC:Origins from the very beginning, they knew what all of us within the NDA know.
And if their lawyers were advising them to be quiet then they wouldn't have taken those pot shots in the first place.

There was no reason to drag this into public view other than to turn Stardock into an antagonist in the public eye.
This is not how professionals take care of legal matters.

On the flip side, what would be the reasoning behind Brad's lawyers letting him speak his mind about the whole thing?
Shouldn't they be figuratively gagging him so as to not make things worse?

I totally agree, Paul and Fred are behaving like a bunch of childish people in a judge judy show. But then again perhaps that's how things always work in california. In my eyes they look bad for it. So I wonder what they gain by doing things like this. Childish play tactics might work for the skylanders crowd but not for us?
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2018, 10:07:56 pm »

May I use the "F" word, please?

https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2018/2/22/stardock-claims-we-are-not-the-creators-of-star-control-sues-us-wtf

further info links here:
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/star-control-countersuit-aims-to-invalidate-stardocks-trademarks/

Yep, the sh.. has hit the fan. Alas.

The real text to read is the ars technica article.
Pretty long,  but also seemingly complete.
All sides had a chance to comment.
But this now has become very messy, with all sides trying to take the basis away for the project of the other...

Some lawyers will be able to bill quite some hours on this project....

So, now even the trademark has become a contested issue.
Even the copyright of the creators has become contested.
Yepp. Neither project can continue without risking total loss of ressources spent.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 10:35:59 pm by Krulle » Logged
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2018, 10:58:35 pm »

If you have the time or energy you should read the entire legal document. It's a page-turner.
Arstechnica is certainly biased in this case.

Both sides are going to come out looking like a-holes.

They need to sit down, pretend to be adults, and talk this shit out.

EDIT:

I say that with the upmost respect for both parties. I would rather this be resolved amicably and if that means locking the three of them in a room til they either kill each other or settle their differences, then so be it.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 11:04:57 pm by Serosis » Logged

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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2018, 01:26:05 am »

Not to be a fanboy, but they are trying to claim they never made star control.  I hope stardock goes down in flames, the self centered pricks
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2018, 06:45:46 am »

I assumed ars technica is biased.
Haven't read the legal docs themselves, but went to bed instaed.
Gonna print them today, and then have a read this weekend, whenever the kids let me.
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2018, 06:24:57 pm »

Looking over the Stardock Legal Complaint at

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4385277-Stardock-Legal-Complaint-2635-000-P-2017-12-08-1.html

Paragraph 18(page 5, lines 8-10, to the right of index marks 9-11)  is kind of weird. Like, they developed it without… the lead developers?

Page 12 is kind of 'What.'-inspiring. There's a difference between not holding the legal rights to a thing, and not having actually created any of it. Sure, it says 'MAY not' (emphasis added), but that's just a matter that it's difficult to prove things about what happened that long ago in a not-very-heavily-documented environment like a small development studio in the days before email. What are the chances that they didn't contribute substantially? Essentially zero.

Page 13 is also bizarre. They aren't leading customers to erroneously associate them with things they've made. You can buy a trademark. You can't buy people liking what they make, or their actual reputation, or history. This could probably be rephrased into a weaker claim that would actually stand.


Basically… Frogboy? WTF. Until this you looked like a fairly reasonable party here, just asking and being denied permission to use something, and going ahead and (mostly?) not using it, while using what you did.

TFB's complaint has one odd bit too, though:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4385486-2635-000-P-2018-02-22-17-Counterclaim.html

On page 14, paragraph 68, they claim that Wardell was lying when he said he'd spoken to them. But they'd just gotten done describing how much he was talking to them - not in person, but by email. It's close enough not to be a lie. Note that he didn't claim they said anything of note BACK. That would have been a lie, for they just kept brushing him off. But claiming that he was lying about talking TO them is just risible.

The only TFB action that seems off was using box art for promoting their material, which they shouldn't have done, as that was from Accolade in the first place, and I don't see anywhere that transferred that copyright or granted a license (and it wasn't a trademark, so even its expiry would not achieve this). There was plenty of in-game material they had undeniable rights to, that they could have used.

One of these infringements seems substantially greater than the other.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 06:27:25 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2018, 07:29:42 pm »

I believe the course of action to say they weren't the creators of it was actually forced because P&F have that up there as a matter of fact. Like they are the defacto creators of Star Control II.
While that may be undeniably true in one sense, it's using someone else's trademark to promote yourself.

That's the part in question and the fluff in between is getting in the way of what is trying to be accomplished.

The two sides really need to sit the fuck down and hash things out. But the only problem is P&F are damned adamant about not speaking to Brad directly.
They're content with taking pot-shots using hired PR firms and blog posts. Instead of working on Ghosts, talking to the fans, and really explaining what has them so damn salty.

Brad has been an open book ever since this started. P&F have not showed any interest in interacting with anybody except their lawyers.
If they would have just once came onto this forum, like they used to long ago, and explained everything that's got them riled up instead of bottling it in
and staying in their own private echo-chamber maybe they or we could gain some insight into what the hell is actually going on.
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2018, 08:03:54 pm »

Yeah it's normal lawyer tactics.  Throw everything you can and see what sticks.

In the last high-profile legal case Stardock was involved in, a former female employee was suing them and claiming egregious sexual harassment.  Stardock countersued for ONE MEEELYUN DOLLAHS.  The settlement consisted of her making a public apology and stating that her accusations were false.  No million-dollar payout.

It would't surprise me to see this settled exactly where (nearly) everyone wants it to be settled: with SC1&2 clearly owned by Reiche & Ford, along with all the associated IP, and Stardock having limited or no rights to it, while Stardock has the rights to SC3 and the Star Control name and making new games and MAYBE some limited marketing based on the previous games.  (Fact is, "Star Control" has very limited value without Reiche & Ford's contributions.  The only reason one would purchase the IP is if one thought those contributions were at least partly included in the sale.)
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Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2018, 08:31:01 pm »

Indeed. The alleged sum payed seems very high to me.
I would not've spent even half for the brand name and whetever else is in the package.
(And let's be honest, only the brandname/TM has any sincere value, IMHO.)

Until now only skimmed the papers, but that is also what I saw.
But if FF and PR do not have the IP, then noone has it. AsAtari always stated on the boxes.
The game is and never was theirs.
And IIRC from way back when the Pages of Now and Forever where still on ponaf.com, one of the music contributors said, the artists and music contributors were asked to sign (via e-mail) their rights away to the developers FF and PR.
Don't know about additional coders and the like, but would seem unlikely there, if they did not sign it away too.
And the real IP is the game story, which was created by FF and PR.
The coding is copyright stuff, and apparently Atari was fine with not having the copyright to the code either.


Ans as someone who created StarControl, I would surely refer to that when I launch press releases about returning to the UQM universe, to conclude the story.
Many of the press texts also refer to Skylanders. Did FF and PR therefore also misuse that copyright? And misleading the customers?


Anyway. That all seems shaky at best.
Pretty sure some of the big interests for further SC:universes want proof that all the copyright is in thir hands, easierand more secure marketing...


[edit]BTW, found the ads shown in Exhibit N interesting.
I never got the ads for ADHD shown.... I just found it funny....  Especiall in connection with this claim, which jumps all over the place, but does not seem able to keep focused on the likely most succesful path.....
It also reads like a kid complaining that someone else is getting all the attention he feels he desrves.

Yes, I know pointing out that you're the creator of StarControl II uses the fame of the original brand.
But I find that falls within any fair use of the brand name. After all they were the creators of StarControl.
The timing is unlucky for Stardock, as exhibit O shows, any search for "Star Control sequel" does not make SC:O show up.
But then, any good marketing with their own release should change that quickly.

Modern gamers know that sequels are often created by other companies, and therefore started to take care if the original developers, or at least the original studio, is involved. If not, it's just the brand that grows, but not necessarily a game with the feel of the beloved original...

But Brad wants that google makes his brand name and the new game with the official brand title appear on top.
For that, any potential visible link between FF and PR and GotP must disappear.

And this complaint seems to be his chosen path.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 10:10:03 pm by Krulle » Logged
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