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Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 20053 times)
Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #75 on: February 28, 2018, 09:24:26 pm »

My one addition/quibble: why in the world should PR be responsible for providing a copy or other documentation of his SC-related contracts to Stardock when Stardock was purchasing rights from Atari? Did Atari not receive documentation properly from Accolade? Why would Stardock spend what sounds like a considerable sum purchasing the rights to a property in the absence of any legal documentation delineating what those rights are? FF/PR wasn't a party to this agreement and their involvement shouldn't have been necessary.

My take on this is that Stardock assumed that PR developed the game under arrangements more like what they're used to seeing, which would have given Accolade most of the rights.  That's Stardock's bad for not doing thorough research on this before bidding.

However, PR knew that Atari was selling the SC assets, and that Stardock was paying a fair amount of money for them.  He also knew, or believed, that most of the rights had already returned to him, and that the trademark had plausibly lapsed, such that all Stardock might be buying was a portion of the SC3 rights.  So it seems like he had a pretty good idea that Stardock was bidding or had bid under mistaken assumptions.  Yet PR said nothing to correct this misunderstanding, even when Brad claimed over email that Stardock had bought the SC1&2 distribution rights.  This isn't illegal, but ethically, I think PR should have come forward with what he knew.  Failing to do so just wasn't nice, and it makes me hear Umgah voices cackling about what a great joke this all is.

                 ....waitaminute....
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #76 on: March 01, 2018, 06:49:05 pm »

I've just dug up a bit of new information, which sparked some new thoughts:

First, I've just noticed that Stardock filed for a service mark on "STAR CONTROL" back in November, and a fresh trademark application in late February.  In my non-lawyer opinion, this substantially bolsters their trademark argument, because it moots the matter of the old trademark having potentially lapsed; even if it had, Stardock was the first to file to reclaim the mark, and can show that they were already producing a game intended to have that name.  If Paul and Fred wanted to keep them from doing this, I think they would have needed to beat Stardock to filing for the trademark.

Given that, I think Paul and Fred need to be very careful to respect Stardock's trademark, including avoiding saying that they are making a sequel to "Star Control".  I notice that their blog has already removed any statement to that effect, instead saying that they are making a sequel to "The Ur-Quan Masters", as well as adding an acknowledgement that "Star Control is a registered trademark of Stardock Systems, Inc", so I think they may realize the situation here and are trying to toe the line.

Finally, I think that Stardock's attempt to register "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS" can only succeed if they demonstrate that they are actually intending to use the Ur-Quan in one of their games, which I don't think they can do because PR has the copyright on the setting.  I think they should give up on this line of attack.

I've updated my original post with this information, and additional references.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 06:03:07 pm by Elestan » Logged
CelticMinstrel
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #77 on: March 02, 2018, 02:18:26 am »

Finally, I think that Stardock's attempt to register "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS" can only succeed if they demonstrate that they are actually intending to use the Ur-Quan in one of their games, which I don't think they can do because PR has the copyright on the setting.  I think they should give up on this line of attack.
I also thought that P&F already held a trademark to "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS", though I don't remember where I got this idea from. Possibly on their blog, but not sure.
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #78 on: March 02, 2018, 02:40:59 am »

I also thought that P&F already held a trademark to "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS", though I don't remember where I got this idea from. Possibly on their blog, but not sure.
They do not.  They applied for the trademark on January 26, but the trademark office has not yet acted on it.

Though they could, perhaps, claim that they have a common-law trademark via the open-source project.  That seems like a real stretch though; the project was essentially independent of them (though very grateful to them), and never put any (TM) indicator on the phrase to denote intent to reserve it.  Then again, as I noted in another thread, I think Stardock's claim on the phrase is at least as weak.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 07:41:18 am by Elestan » Logged
Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #79 on: March 19, 2018, 05:59:52 pm »

Two new recent developments that I'll note for those interested:

First, a thread on Stardock's forums in which Brad talks about the SC:O "Multiverse".  Some of the content of this thread troubles me.  

One such aspect is that Stardock is advancing the "Multiverse" concept themselves, where their universe ("Prime") is the main universe, and any other Star Control universes (UQM, SC3) are offshoots.  This essentially writes Stardock into the role of final authority over that continuity, putting them in direct conflict with Paul's copyright as the creator of the setting.  I had hopes that Paul might have been persuadable to let Stardock play in a "sub-universe" of his continuity, but it seems like Stardock's concept for the game is such that it can't be easily reconciled with that.

Also, at one point Brad rhetorically asks "And are the Dnyarri lurking within the Origins universe undiscovered or have they built something far worse than in the SC2 universe?".  The Dnyarri are part of the UQM continuity that has not been licensed to Stardock, so to talk about their presence in the Origins universe indicates that Stardock is not avoiding the use of the UQM aliens, posing a further barrier to any possible settlement.

The second major development is a new post by Paul, where he indicates that back in early October, Stardock made a number of very unreasonable demands, including:

Quote
For the next 5 years, Fred and Paul do not work on any game similar to the classic Star Control games.

While these terms might have been intended as the opening bid in a negotiation, to me, they seem so unreasonable that they indicate a lack of intent on Stardock's part to settle the case.

So, I would like to hear from Stardock whether it acknowledges making the settlement demands that Paul posted today, and (if so) why they feel that those are reasonable and proportionate to the damage caused by Paul's trademark violations?

Also, some additional trademark registrations by Stardock (h/t to Lakstoties on Reddit):
SUPER-MELEE
Melnorme
VUX
Pkunk
Ilwrath
Chenjesu
Androsynth
Spathi
Syreen
Ur-Quan
Orz
Yehat

"SUPER-MELEE" was declined because of an apparent conflict with the "MELEE" brand of bowling ball.  The others are still awaiting assignment to an examiner at this time.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 06:36:12 pm by Elestan » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #80 on: March 19, 2018, 07:14:31 pm »

Your original post asked about the 1988 contact.

I believe that this contract was listed in the documents for the Atari bankruptcy filing.
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #81 on: March 19, 2018, 07:21:12 pm »

Your original post asked about the 1988 contact.
I believe that this contract was listed in the documents for the Atari bankruptcy filing.

I haven't been able to find a copy of those documents containing that contract; if you have evidence to that effect, could you post a link?
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Serosis
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #82 on: March 19, 2018, 08:47:21 pm »

Also, at one point Brad rhetorically asks "And are the Dnyarri lurking within the Origins universe undiscovered or have they built something far worse than in the SC2 universe?".  The Dnyarri are part of the UQM continuity that has not been licensed to Stardock, so to talk about their presence in the Origins universe indicates that Stardock is not avoiding the use of the UQM aliens, posing a further barrier to any possible settlement.

So you read it, but didn't bother to comprehend it.
It was an example of what could be possible not an example of what is actually happening.

Unless you're saying that having a conversation now constitutes an IP conflict?
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #83 on: March 19, 2018, 09:08:16 pm »


Also, some additional trademark registrations by Stardock (h/t to Lakstoties on Reddit):
SUPER-MELEE
Melnorme
VUX
Pkunk
Ilwrath
Chenjesu
Androsynth
Spathi
Syreen
Ur-Quan
Orz
Yehat

"SUPER-MELEE" was declined because of an apparent conflict with the "MELEE" brand of bowling ball.  The others are still awaiting assignment to an examiner at this time.

How strange that he claimed that Stardock does NOT own the classic characters or lore a month ago:


Just to be clear (note, Iím not a lawyer):

Stardock does NOT own the classic characters or lore.  As far as we are aware, Paul and Fred do.  However, the characters, lore, and ships were exclusively licensed, in perpetuity, to Accolade and in turn Atari and then Stardock.

Thus, Stardock could have used them for Star a Control:Origins but didnít for a number of reasons including Paul asking us not to.

But Accolade always owned Star Control. It was always Accoladeís  game. Paul licensed content that made up Star Control (itís not a publishing agreement, itís a licensing agreement) but it was never owned by Paul or Fred.

That doesnít diminish their contributions in the least. But the IP situation, while messy when it comes to the actual characters, is not confusing when it comes to Star Control itself.  The federal and I ternstion trademark rights to the Star Control franchise are owned. Y Stardock. And a trademark is not about the name of the product alone.

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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #84 on: March 19, 2018, 09:11:50 pm »

Told you all so.

I mean, look at the demands. This is IP theft. I don't think it is appropriate to defend Stardock on this behavior.

Call them for what they are, opportunists and corrupt. I think they know that without the prior aspects of the IP they can't cash in on nostalgia, which nowadays is a huge market.

Otherwise, why would they care about the old IP aspects of the game? They need it in order to sell their game.

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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #85 on: March 19, 2018, 09:25:22 pm »

Besides the publication by FF and PR, I have seen no proof that this e-mail requests from Stardock are genuine.
But, and that's the thing giving credence, they fit the pattern...


Even if Stardock would get the trademarks, they would still have to go to court if FF and PR use them in GotP.
And that case would be difficult to push in coirt, seeing how much earlier FF and PR have been using these creatures....


Brutal tactic to delay FF and PR's game.
I would've spent money on both, now I'll buy Origins only once GotP is out, by which time I'll get origins on the discount table, or even used...
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #86 on: March 19, 2018, 09:53:16 pm »

Told you all so.

I mean, look at the demands. This is IP theft. I don't think it is appropriate to defend Stardock on this behavior.

Call them for what they are, opportunists and corrupt. I think they know that without the prior aspects of the IP they can't cash in on nostalgia, which nowadays is a huge market.

Otherwise, why would they care about the old IP aspects of the game? They need it in order to sell their game.


Nice of you to only join the conversation when it suits your agenda.

Besides the publication by FF and PR, I have seen no proof that this e-mail requests from Stardock are genuine.
But, and that's the thing giving credence, they fit the pattern...

Stick with the first sentence. Brad will pop in here eventually with the full, unedited emails. That is, if he feels like it.
I've read them, the other Founders have read them, but I'm not going to post them here behind his back.
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Krulle
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #87 on: March 19, 2018, 09:56:36 pm »

Reply from frogboy on the Stardock forums:

https://forums.starcontrol.com/487690/get;3707702 (reply # 87, not sure how to link it directly)


Thing is, if I follow the actions, not the words, then that makes Stardock look even more worse that it makes FF and PR look.
Trying to tell the world you will not hamper a new game, and yet go to court and try to make the creators look like mere employees putting someone elses ideas into a game....
Claiming the trademarks for figures which you officially do not want to use for your game... And for which you previously acknowledged you have no IP rights.
It,feels like Stardock finally realizes, that the trademark simply isn't worth much, and they're trying to squeeze what they can.

I also fear that the result will be, that in the end even a fan-created Origins-universe of UQM will not be permissible.
So a loss all around for all parties.




FF and PR announced a sequel to close some open questions (and likely create more open questions).
We still do not know the scope of their project. Whether it'll be close to the scope of the original SC2 project, or a full blown modern game.
With all this happening, we'll have to wait longer, which also does not reflect well on Stardock for me.
And that also shows on the Stardock forums.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:00:22 pm by Krulle » Logged
Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #88 on: March 19, 2018, 09:58:38 pm »

Also, at one point Brad rhetorically asks "And are the Dnyarri lurking within the Origins universe undiscovered or have they built something far worse than in the SC2 universe?".  The Dnyarri are part of the UQM continuity that has not been licensed to Stardock, so to talk about their presence in the Origins universe indicates that Stardock is not avoiding the use of the UQM aliens, posing a further barrier to any possible settlement.

So you read it, but didn't bother to comprehend it.
It was an example of what could be possible not an example of what is actually happening.

Unless you're saying that having a conversation now constitutes an IP conflict?

It doesn't, of course, but I think their multiverse concept is still problematic, for two reasons.  First, the sense I had from that thread was that the various universes had at least some amount of shared history.  Other than using Earth's real history to date, I don't think they can do that without stepping on Paul's copyright.  Second, it's akin to saying "In *my* universe, there are these beings called Precursors, and they made gates to other universes, and through one of these gates, there's an evil Empire with a Death Star that was destroyed by a Rebellion with X-Wing fighters."  It's trying to subsume Paul's UQM universe continuity into the SC:O multiverse's continuity, and I don't think that's likely to pass copyright scrutiny.  Of course, I doubt this exact situation has come up before in litigation, which makes the outcome both less predictable and more likely to take a long time.  :-(
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #89 on: March 19, 2018, 10:19:07 pm »

I don't know a lot about this, but seems to me like maybe Stardock started working on SC origins, without realizing that they might be infringing on FF and PR's intellectual property rights. Now, FF and PR feel like they have, but Stardock has invested a lot of money in this and has had lots of people working on this project. Most of the people working on SC origins probably didn't know anything about that they might be infringing on somebody else's intellectual property rights.

I know about a PhD student in organic chemistry, that was ordered by his professor to synthesize a molecule. After he had finished, he figured out that one of the professor's previous students had synthesized the same molecule in the same way 15 years earlier without publishing it. But the previous student had proof.

I hope that maybe SC origins can make some kind of agreement with FF and PR which allows them to use some aspects from SC2, since this seems to be so important to SC origins. Maybe they could give some percentage of the sale to FF and PR in compensation for using their intellectual property?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:54:58 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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