The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
February 17, 2019, 11:16:30 pm
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Paul Reiche and Fred Ford want to continue the story they started when they created Star Control II — The Ur-Quan Masters. «Happy days and jubilation!» «But wait!» «There is something wrong here... something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.» «Please, Captain, we need your help!»

+  The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum
|-+  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release
| |-+  General UQM Discussion (Moderator: Death 999)
| | |-+  My take on Stardock
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 53 54 [55] 56 57 ... 68 Print
Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 44449 times)
Ariloulawleelay
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 34



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #810 on: May 21, 2018, 02:54:07 pm »

Well, I assume that whatever is not owned by Fred and Paul personally would have been owned by Accolade (and would therefore be owned by Stardock now).

That's not the case, though...and it doesn't need to be the case to serve Stardock's purposes.  This goes back to the burden of proof issue.  Because the SC1&2 copyrights were registered late, Stardock doesn't need to prove who owns them...all they need to do is create enough doubt that P&F didn't do enough of it themselves.  That's why Stardock keeps trying to focus on the other people that were involved.

At first glance, I do not necessarily agree that this argument, if advanced, would benefit Stardock's position.1 Sure, it could create headaches for P&F's counsel (both now and down the road), but, unless Stardock itself currently owns some of the copyright to SC1 and/or SC2, I don't see how increasing the number of joint authors alters the liability analysis. (Nor do I suspect it would really matter if the relevant portion of SC2 was determined to be a collective work composed of separable copyrights, rather than a single joint work.) And, much like the purported "Mickey Mouse" theory of trademark aliens, it might end up doing Stardock more harm than good.

For a specific example, Greg Johnson has been acknowledged as creating a lot of the Orz material...maybe most of it.  So if Stardock puts the Orz in their game, that means that P&F can't sue them; only Greg Johnson can.  By raising a lot of unspecified doubt over the question of exactly who created what in SC2, Stardock is making more work for P&F and their lawyers.  Presumably, P&F are trying to get copyright assignments from as many members of the original team as possible.

If Stardock is able to convince the Court that Johnson owns some portion of the SC2 copyright,2 Stardock would still have to explain how it was authorized to sell a work copyrighted by P&F and Johnson.3 And there is no licensing agreement between Johnson and Stardock to fall back on. Worse, Stardock would be handing Johnson a loaded weapon with which to attack SCO on copyright grounds (not to say he would actually do so, but why risk it?).

In this case, Stardock probably (I think) wouldn't want to claim that Accolade created any part of SC1&2 itself, because there is pretty clear language in the 1988 agreement giving P&F ownership of such copyrights.  If Stardock were to successfully claim that Accolade created anything, P&F could point to the agreement and say that Accolade gave those copyrights to them.  So instead, Stardock is citing the existence of unnamed co-creators who are not party to the suit.

But the bottom line is that 100% of the registered Star Control IP was transferred to Stardock. Copyright and trademark. Paul, Fred, Riku, Dan, Erol, etc. may have various common law rights but it’s unknown and wouldn’t prevent a new Star a Control game.

The situation becomes more fraught if Stardock successfully asserts the existence of innumerable John Doe co-authors - the "etc.," "unnamed," and "unknown" elements. This might force P&F to actually hunt down the material copyright assignments in order to release GOTP, but it would also mean empowering countless potential claimants against SCO (and unlike Johnson, Stardock can't prophylactically get a license from John Doe), and make it all-but impossible for Stardock to ever open-source SC3.

Fortunately for those of us who dislike mysteries, it is my understanding that Stardock was distributing the Classic Star Control Games as recently as last month. As the Copyright Act ... discourages knowingly placing a false notice of copyright on an article, there is someone out there who purchased these games and now has a pretty good sense of whom Stardock believed owned the copyright to each of the Classic Star Control Games, at least as of when the games were purchased.

--

[1] With the obvious caveats that the full contours of any actual legal argument remain murky, and that I am not privy to whatever humiliating information P&F have shared with Stardock.

[2] That is, Stardock is not prohibited from making such an argument by the License Agreement and has the evidence to support such an argument. I am assuming that P&F will be able to meet their burden with publicly-available information.

[3] The dispute would be much more legally interesting if Stardock were to contend that P&F have no proprietary interest in either SC1 or SC2, but, as of now, that scenario is far too speculative for me to consider.
Logged
Ariloulawleelay
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 34



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #811 on: May 21, 2018, 03:04:52 pm »

Do you mean that the GoG sales would be deemed to be P&F using the "Star Control" mark in commerce?  That seems like a stretch to me;

Take another look at Stardock's First Amended Complaint, paying particular attention to allegations concerning GoG (such as those in paragraphs 59 and 61, as well as in the specific causes of action relating to the Classic SC Games). Try to take all of the allegations at face value (even if you think you know better). Does that affect your thinking on this issue?
Logged
Mormont
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 249


I love YaBB 1G - SP1!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #812 on: May 21, 2018, 04:37:06 pm »

All the evidence we have right now indicates that Accolade regarded Fred and Paul as the copyright owners. And Accolade had lawyers and was willing to play hardball at times (like not giving them a better contract for an SC2 sequel). Still, they said repeatedly that Reiche owned the IP outside the trademark. They believed needed to get permission to make SC3 and StarCon and didn't ask Greg Johnson or others for it. Accolade put their names on the box, even for SC3.

So it seems to me that if Stardock is correct about split copyright, virtually no one has understood Star Control's copyright for 25 years, including people who were there for the development and know more about how the game was made than whatever Stardock has uncovered.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 04:38:41 pm by Mormont » Logged
PRH
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 173



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #813 on: May 21, 2018, 05:03:56 pm »

The situation becomes more fraught if Stardock successfully asserts the existence of innumerable John Doe co-authors - the "etc.," "unnamed," and "unknown" elements. This might force P&F to actually hunt down the material copyright assignments in order to release GOTP, but it would also mean empowering countless potential claimants against SCO (and unlike Johnson, Stardock can't prophylactically get a license from John Doe), and make it all-but impossible for Stardock to ever open-source SC3.

Stardock doesn't need to "prove" the existence of any co-authors - all of SC2's authors are listed in the game's credits. Brad said that he once believed that Fred and Paul personally created everything in SC2 except the music, but that was his personal mistake. Fred and Paul have never hidden the fact that they worked with many people in order to create SC2, and they outright stated so numerous times. Brad did say that Stardock had apparently come across some information that F&P don't own as much IP as they had claimed, but he doesn't want to share that information while the litigation is still underway.

However, Brad also claims that since Stardock owns the Star Control trademark, there is simply no way for F&P to release GotP other than through entering into a licensing agreement with Stardock. If that is true, then the copyright disputes are barely relevant here.
Logged
Lakstoties
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 64



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #814 on: May 21, 2018, 06:02:27 pm »

However, Brad also claims that since Stardock owns the Star Control trademark, there is simply no way for F&P to release GotP other than through entering into a licensing agreement with Stardock. If that is true, then the copyright disputes are barely relevant here.

Thankfully, that's not true.  Fred and Paul don't need a license contract to release Ghost of the Precursors.  The Star Control trademark, by definitions of what a trademark is and limitations of what a trademark can encompass, can't do that.  So long as Ghost of the Precursors is the title, they are safe.  Much in the same way The Ur-Quan Masters was clear of threat from Atari for all these years.  Trademark is and has been for many years, simply a mark on the product to indicate its source.  The court case of Kellogg v Nabisco spawned the Functionality Doctrine that was codified in the Lanham Act and further reinforced by multiple court cases over the years.  Simply put, trademark cannot protect anything that's considered a functional, value adding feature of the product it is on.

Resources:
https://www.bitlaw.com/source/tmep/1202_02_a_iii_A.html
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/functionality_doctrine_trademark
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionality_doctrine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kellogg_Co._v._National_Biscuit_Co.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 06:09:54 pm by Lakstoties » Logged
Tas
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 28



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #815 on: May 21, 2018, 07:14:50 pm »

Had Paul and Fred simply titled their game as Ghosts of the Precursors and never referenced or used the Star Control name what Lakstoties says would probably be true.

The issue is they called it the Sequel to Star Control  without stating that SC is R Stardock, so now everyone links GotP with SC directly and there is a confusion in the market which is exactly what a Trademark is intended to prevent.
Logged
Lakstoties
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 64



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #816 on: May 21, 2018, 08:59:02 pm »

Had Paul and Fred simply titled their game as Ghosts of the Precursors and never referenced or used the Star Control name what Lakstoties says would probably be true.

The issue is they called it the Sequel to Star Control  without stating that SC is R Stardock, so now everyone links GotP with SC directly and there is a confusion in the market which is exactly what a Trademark is intended to prevent.

They DID title their game Ghost of the Precursors, that's the whole title.  They did mention Star Control, but it was in a nominative way.  They are the creators and current copyright holders to Star Control 1 and 2.  So, they were stating fact and acknowledged it was a trademarked term with the circle R symbol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use

"Nominative use does not require that ownership of the trademark be acknowledged, for example by use of a sentence such as "UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group". Such statements may, however, be required by the terms of a license agreement between the parties, and they may be prudent (and courteous) as a way of preventing misunderstandings or allegations of passing off."

Also, referencing other products in direct competition of the trademark holder is nothing new, just take a look at generic medicines when they put on the label of the box to compare them to the trademarked product.

They did not misrepresent the source of Ghost of the Precursors, they are creating it.  They did not misrepresent the source of the Star Control mark, they did not mention it.  They did not misrepresent the source of their product by using the Star Control mark upon the their product...  Which doesn't exist yet.  There was no intent to misrepresent so far.  This is a screenshot of the original post before it was edited to fix complaints by Stardock, showing a willingness to clarify the situation:

http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/script/images/2/22/GOTPpost.png

Stardock has simply done more create confusion by even launching the claim in the first place.  They could have sit back waited a week and the announcement would have subsided to the background noise of the internet.



Ultimately, what damages could Stardock hope to collect through a trademark infringement claim like this?  If we look at the Recovery section of the Lanham Act, it does not show any way to collect damages for what was claimed by Stardock.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1117

Most of what it talks about is a willful use of a counterfeit mark to misrepresent the source of  a product.  Willful intent has not been demonstrated.  The mark was not used on the product to misrepresent the source.  And...  THERE ARE NO PRODUCTS YET to misrepresent the source of.  There has been no sales lost by the confusion of the public looking at the trademark on product and not being able to determine its correct source.  Paul and Fred literally don't have a product and they didn't label their product with the Star Control trademark.  Stardock is the only company with anything resembling a Star Control trademark and they have plenty of products they have put it on exclusively.  Where is the confusion?

That's the basis of trademarks.  To indicate the source of a good or service.  For Stardock to have a valid claim of trademark infringment, Paul and Fred would have to offer at least a service or product to take in money and present that service in such a manner to where the public could be reasonably confused to think it was Stardock instead of than Paul and Fred via using the "Star Control" trademark upon the service or product.  That what many trademark infringement cases are these days.

That has not remotely happened.  Fred and Paul made an announcement, that possibly Ghost of the Precursors could come into existence in the future and it would be based on the game they worked on called, Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters, which they have the copyrights to... hence the content of.
Logged
Ariloulawleelay
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 34



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #817 on: May 21, 2018, 09:55:02 pm »

All the evidence we have right now indicates that Accolade regarded Fred and Paul as the copyright owners. And Accolade had lawyers and was willing to play hardball at times (like not giving them a better contract for an SC2 sequel). Still, they said repeatedly that Reiche owned the IP outside the trademark. They believed needed to get permission to make SC3 and StarCon and didn't ask Greg Johnson or others for it. Accolade put their names on the box, even for SC3.

It should be axiomatic that Stardock cannot have purchased from Atari more rights than Accolade had to begin with. I find it difficult to square the notion that Accolade needed a new license from F&P to publish StarCon (which, as far as I can tell, was meant to be Wing Commander with SC3 aliens) with Frogboy's assertion that Stardock has always had the right to re-skin and re-use the SC2 aliens in SCO. But, then again, no one has ever accused Accolade of fully understanding Star Control.

Many of Stardock's positions make more sense to me if I imagine that they were conceived of by someone who was unaware that the Addenda existed. Someone who thought that Accolade went forward with SC3 and StarCon on its own, without negotiating new licenses from (and paying additional royalties to) F&P. Someone who had not even considered what Accolade might have bargained away in Section 4.1 of Addendum No. 3.

So it seems to me that if Stardock is correct about split copyright, virtually no one has understood Star Control's copyright for 25 years, including people who were there for the development and know more about how the game was made than whatever Stardock has uncovered.

This is part of the allure of resolving disputes under private law. By first looking to the contract language that the parties actually agreed to (and not the general rules we apply to strangers' encroachment of IP rights), we avoid surprising the parties and can mostly ensure that their expressed intentions are fulfilled, even if the parties made a mutual mistake of law. (If this mess was created by a contract, why not resolve it using that same contract?)
Logged
Death 999
Global Moderator
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3805


We did. You did. Yes we can. No.


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #818 on: May 21, 2018, 10:07:48 pm »

And...  THERE ARE NO PRODUCTS YET to misrepresent the source of.  There has been no sales lost by the confusion of the public looking at the trademark on product and not being able to determine its correct source.  Paul and Fred literally don't have a product and they didn't label their product with the Star Control trademark.  Stardock is the only company with anything resembling a Star Control trademark and they have plenty of products they have put it on exclusively.  Where is the confusion?

I find this argument weak. They were announcing a product. They associated their product to the trademark, even if they did not label it. Of course there are other arguments for this being okay, but saying they had no product and they didn't literally label it with the trademark (because it didn't exist yet) doesn't look like it would work, to me. Other facts of the case need to be brought in.

Like, if it was just that, then if Pepsi were to suddenly announce that they were going to make the new Coca-Cola, some time in the next few years, no, they didn't have it with them right then… well. That doesn't look good, but the argument you presented would apply.
Logged
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #819 on: May 21, 2018, 11:52:31 pm »

Well, I assume that whatever is not owned by Fred and Paul personally would have been owned by Accolade (and would therefore be owned by Stardock now).

That's not the case, though...and it doesn't need to be the case to serve Stardock's purposes.  This goes back to the burden of proof issue.  Because the SC1&2 copyrights were registered late, Stardock doesn't need to prove who owns them...all they need to do is create enough doubt that P&F didn't do enough of it themselves.  That's why Stardock keeps trying to focus on the other people that were involved.

At first glance, I do not necessarily agree that this argument, if advanced, would benefit Stardock's position.1 Sure, it could create headaches for P&F's counsel (both now and down the road), but, unless Stardock itself currently owns some of the copyright to SC1 and/or SC2, I don't see how increasing the number of joint authors alters the liability analysis. (Nor do I suspect it would really matter if the relevant portion of SC2 was determined to be a collective work composed of separable copyrights, rather than a single joint work.) And, much like the purported "Mickey Mouse" theory of trademark aliens, it might end up doing Stardock more harm than good.

Brad has already opined that copyright infringement damages are "trivial" - https://forums.starcontrol.com/487690/get;3712896. Perhaps Stardock is quite happy to bury 10 separate claimants in lawsuits it can afford but they can't.

Quote
Take another look at Stardock's First Amended Complaint, paying particular attention to allegations concerning GoG (such as those in paragraphs 59 and 61, as well as in the specific causes of action relating to the Classic SC Games). Try to take all of the allegations at face value (even if you think you know better). Does that affect your thinking on this issue?

I'm finding it very difficult to take the allegations at face value (particularly when Stardock misleadingly redefine the Star Control 3 copyright as "The Star Control Copyrights", it's hard to work out what the face value is) - those paragraphs reference Exhibit N, wherein P&F indicate the GoG and Atari arranged a trademark contract.

Had Paul and Fred simply titled their game as Ghosts of the Precursors and never referenced or used the Star Control name what Lakstoties says would probably be true.

The issue is they called it the Sequel to Star Control  without stating that SC is R Stardock, so now everyone links GotP with SC directly and there is a confusion in the market which is exactly what a Trademark is intended to prevent.

Calling it a sequel to Star Control II, and calling it Star Control: Ghosts of the Precursors, are indeed problems - whether or not they attribute the trademark. Those statements have been removed. Stardock may or may not be able to prove damages for those; Escalating straight past 'cease and desist' to claim damages seems abusive.

Can you back up the idea that "association" of a product with a mark is relevant without referencing something from Stardock? Stardock appears to be the only source of this idea. The Lanham act constantly refers to 'use in commerce', both to be a trademark, and to infringe on trademark. The only association it appears to care about is the good will associated with the mark itself (not the product), and the association of the mark (not the product) with the owner.

If Stardock's version is correct, Paul could trademark his own name and use it to claim the Star Control mark - Star Control is clearly associated with "Paul Reiche III".
Logged
Lakstoties
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 64



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #820 on: May 22, 2018, 12:06:58 am »

And...  THERE ARE NO PRODUCTS YET to misrepresent the source of.  There has been no sales lost by the confusion of the public looking at the trademark on product and not being able to determine its correct source.  Paul and Fred literally don't have a product and they didn't label their product with the Star Control trademark.  Stardock is the only company with anything resembling a Star Control trademark and they have plenty of products they have put it on exclusively.  Where is the confusion?

I find this argument weak. They were announcing a product. They associated their product to the trademark, even if they did not label it. Of course there are other arguments for this being okay, but saying they had no product and they didn't literally label it with the trademark (because it didn't exist yet) doesn't look like it would work, to me. Other facts of the case need to be brought in.

Like, if it was just that, then if Pepsi were to suddenly announce that they were going to make the new Coca-Cola, some time in the next few years, no, they didn't have it with them right then… well. That doesn't look good, but the argument you presented would apply.

I'll admit the not having a product is a weak component In that argument, but it would factor in trying to calculate the damages and recovery.  Makes it hard for to prove sales from confusion when there's no product for sale.  Also in that example, Pepsi would be confusing the source of the trademark for Coca-Cola.  Pepsi at that point would be directly implying they are the source for Coca-Cola.

With Fred and Paul's original announcement:  "...we are now working on a direct sequel to Star Control II (R) -- The Ur-Quan Masters, called Ghosts of the Precursors (tm)."

They denoted that Star Control (R) is a trademark and put a more noted separator with "--" between it and the sub-title "The Ur-Quan Masters".  And the title they presented was "Ghost of the Precursors (tm)".  It wasn't  "Star Control (R) -- Ghost of the Precursors (tm)", but just "Ghost of the Precursors (tm)".  So effort was made to separate the trademark from the rest of the sentence and "Star Control II (R) -- The Ur-Quan Masters" is technically the title of the game, the name of it, hence a nominative use.  That's the point of nominative use, to allow fair use of the term to refer to the product, otherwise companies would be trademark trolling critics and competitors all the time.

And there's very simple edits that could be done and have been done to make the point of Stardock's trademark claim... Moot.  If a simple edit fixes the issue, how damaging or confusing could it be?  They could have still referenced the "Star Control" trademark by a simple period and a few words.  For example:  "...we are now working on a direct sequel to Star Control II (R) -- The Ur-Quan Masters.  It will be separately called "Ghosts of the Precursors (tm)"."  How infringing can one sentence in a small blog post possibly be to Stardock's identity with the Star Control mark given the rest of their market presence?

How the post looks after edits under advisory of Stardock before the lawsuit that was filed two months after (12-08-17) the single blog post (10-06-17) :  https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2017/10/6/launch-fighters

What moot means in law:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/moot

So whatever confusion that may or may not have been caused by this announcement... was corrected.  And Stardock seems to have caused far more confusion highlighting the post via litigation.  They literally could have ignored it, continued on stamping their materials with the Star Control trademark and there would have been no confusion about who owns Stardock's "Star Control" trademark.  And the act of willingly correcting the announcement under advisement of Stardock and the lack of a direct misuse of the "Star Control" trademark (titling their product with "Star Control") at any other point shows no willing intent to infringe on Fred and Paul's part.

Frankly, Stardock has opened itself up to more harm that if it had just continued on like nothing happened.
Logged
rosepatel
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #821 on: May 22, 2018, 12:20:17 am »

The issue is they called it the Sequel to Star Control  without stating that SC is R Stardock, so now everyone links GotP with SC directly and there is a confusion in the market which is exactly what a Trademark is intended to prevent.

That's not really true. Most of the news articles have explicitly said there are two different games coming out: one from Stardock, and one from Paul and Fred. Most fans understand it that way too. At worst, I've seen a few fans say they're more interested in a game that continues the original story, and that they're not interested in more Star Control sequels if they aren't made by Paul and Fred.

And, in many cases, they've lost interest in Stardock's game because they decided to sue Paul and Fred. That doesn't help Stardock, no matter how many times they try to twist it around. You can't use the public backlash to your lawsuit to convince a judge to punish the person you're suing. That would be a fundamental abuse of the legal process that courts would never allow.

Fact is, Paul and Fred never called their game Star Control. They're not even selling a game yet. They said they are working on a sequel to Star Control, which is thorny legal territory but might end up being basically legal, if not damageless. Keep in mind for 15 years, not only were they called "the creators of Star Control" who were working hard to make a "sequel". There's also been a game that's been widely promoted as "the open source version of Star Control 2". No issue until a few months ago.

Atari never went after anyone. And there's a good chance they would have accomplished nothing by trying to shut it down, because as a matter of fact, that's the best way to describe what's going on. Paul and Fred are the creators, if not two of the creators, of Star Control, and even teammates like Greg Johnson agree. They helped to release a version of a Trademarked game, using the same code, without the Trademark -- namely, Ur Quan Masters is an open source Star Control 2. And Paul and Fred may have called GOTP a sequel, but that's because even the allegedly legal Trademark holder was calling it a sequel. They seemed to be in agreement that it was a sequel, and I'm betting that once the legal words got terse in November, they both quickly agreed to stop calling it that, and have almost always been in sync about that.

The point is this is why we have lawsuits. Sometimes there is an ambiguity in the law.

I also wouldn't minimize the damages from infringing Copyright. There's statutory damages for those. If someone really wants to go after me for pirating a game, I'm on the hook for a lot more than 50 dollars. If they can prove it's willful infringement? It gets bad. There's other quantums beyond that too. It's not just losses.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 12:23:38 am by rosepatel » Logged
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #822 on: May 22, 2018, 01:46:19 am »


I also wouldn't minimize the damages from infringing Copyright. There's statutory damages for those.

I wouldn't either - but Stardock might (see above). I can't help feeling that they would be happy to pay $150,000 to use the aliens and it would take an injunction to stop it.
Logged
rosepatel
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #823 on: May 22, 2018, 02:23:13 am »

That's where the unfair competition stuff comes in. It's not crazy to think of announcing "Arilou are in the game" (but in name only -- completely different alien, no relation) as a type of false advertising. If any copyright infringement is discovered, that's going to color the court's interpretation of that. To be fair, so will the Trademark applications for the word "Arilou". But they aren't the only determiner, and those applications have real obstacles.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 405



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #824 on: May 22, 2018, 05:36:33 am »

I don't see how increasing the number of joint authors alters the liability analysis.
[...]
If Stardock is able to convince the Court that Johnson owns some portion of the SC2 copyright,2 Stardock would still have to explain how it was authorized to sell a work copyrighted by P&F and Johnson.3 And there is no licensing agreement between Johnson and Stardock to fall back on. Worse, Stardock would be handing Johnson a loaded weapon with which to attack SCO on copyright grounds (not to say he would actually do so, but why risk it?).

Stardock doesn't seem very concerned about the copyright liability, and they may have a point; I believe that due to the late registration, statutory copyright damages only apply to infringements committed after the copyright was registered; the rest are limited to actual damages, which would be some thousands of dollars at most..  They may also be gambling that any other authors would have no interest in joining litigation.

Quote
The situation becomes more fraught if Stardock successfully asserts the existence of innumerable John Doe co-authors - the "etc.," "unnamed," and "unknown" elements. This might force P&F to actually hunt down the material copyright assignments in order to release GOTP, but it would also mean empowering countless potential claimants against SCO (and unlike Johnson, Stardock can't prophylactically get a license from John Doe), and make it all-but impossible for Stardock to ever open-source SC3.

Couldn't Stardock claim indemnification for any such damages under section 9.3 of the 1988 agreement?

As for SC3, the offer to open-source it felt more like a fig leaf to me.  It wasn't that great a game, and bootstrapping a new open-source project takes a large time investment from developers with skillsets that are in short supply; I'm not sure we could find one that was interested  (Sorry Serosis, I know you're a fan, but you've also said you're not a developer). 

Quote
Fortunately for those of us who dislike mysteries, it is my understanding that Stardock was distributing the Classic Star Control Games as recently as last month. As the Copyright Act ... discourages knowingly placing a false notice of copyright on an article, there is someone out there who purchased these games and now has a pretty good sense of whom Stardock believed owned the copyright to each of the Classic Star Control Games, at least as of when the games were purchased.

I presumed that this was why Stardock stopped selling them; I'm not sure how many sales there would have been in the couple of months after the copyright was registered and before the games got pulled; it might not be enough to be scary.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 53 54 [55] 56 57 ... 68 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!