The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Frogboy on October 10, 2017, 02:57:59 am



Title: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on October 10, 2017, 02:57:59 am
Greetings!

I have good news!

Our (you guys and us) have had our wishes granted:  Paul and Fred are returning to create a true sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters called Ghosts of the Precursors.

You can read their announcement here: https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/

This will be an independent effort outside of Activision (or Stardock) and ignores Star Control 3.



Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 on October 10, 2017, 02:21:11 pm
Waaaaait. They say it'll include Mmrnmhrm and Chmmr, but they don't mention Chenjesu.

And apparently the Thraddash survived.

Or possibly, all that just refers to the Supermelee feature, and they left Chenjesu out because they weren't being comprehensive.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 10, 2017, 05:50:50 pm
I come back, and TWO different announcements for the same great news!
WHOHOO!!!!

CowaBunga!


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zanthius on October 10, 2017, 06:01:14 pm
(http://archania.org/happy2.gif)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on October 10, 2017, 09:47:56 pm
And apparently the Thraddash survived.

Suddenly my MegaMod idea doesn't seem so silly after all.

You guys think this will kick off another burst of development for UQM?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: SC MacLean on October 12, 2017, 05:23:25 am
Here to show my support. I grew up on SC2 - it helped me learn that living in a multicultural universe is the only way to save humanity. It is a timely lesson, even (especially?) today.

Thank you Toys for Bob, for helping me grow into a better hunam than I would have been without your inspired work. I wish you well on your latest project for SC3 and will support you!


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 12, 2017, 09:50:51 am
You guys think this will kick off another burst of development for UQM?
I sure hope so.
But we'll have to see if and what the result will be.
Possibly FF and PRiii will ask the community for support again.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: CelticMinstrel on October 14, 2017, 04:07:56 am
Waaaaait. They say it'll include Mmrnmhrm and Chmmr, but they don't mention Chenjesu.
What if... there was more than one Mother Ark?



EDIT: But the best part in my opinion is that it sounds like we'll be able to meet the Keel-Verezy! \o/


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 14, 2017, 05:38:56 pm
They might just be mentioned once again, by our favourite Mael-Num trader.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: CelticMinstrel on October 15, 2017, 07:46:08 pm
I question whether a mere mention is enough to say they'll be included, but I guess...


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: IceAge on October 15, 2017, 10:11:48 pm
Yes Yes Yes!!!

I still have the original box and i loved the game ..Played it at least 15 times.

This is GREAT news!
Thanks.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 16, 2017, 09:36:17 am
Just remember, it is currently still "Very early stage".
So it will be a while before we might get to see any results.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 16, 2017, 09:29:41 pm
Regarding the scope of this project, I found these tweests:
these tweets say it all:
Quote from: Fan Question (https://twitter.com/mcraecw/status/919604399558848513)
@Dogar_And_Kazon (https://mobile.twitter.com/Dogar_And_Kazon) I keep reading that TfB will not be part of this game. Is Activision letting you guys do this on the side?
Quote from: @Fred and Paul (https://twitter.com/Dogar_And_Kazon/status/919639565706473472)
Yes.  The game is starting as the previous ended, 25 years ago, with just the two of us.
Quote from: @Fred and Paul (https://twitter.com/Dogar_And_Kazon/status/919640038777876485)
As TFB grew, we became further and further removed from development.  We have missed that and thought this a good way to return.

So, do not hope for a big Activision budget for our anticipated sequel...


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 on October 17, 2017, 12:01:26 am
Wait, just the two of them, seriously?

What's the rest of their company working on???


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Julie.chan on October 17, 2017, 05:18:18 am
That's reassuring to me. It means there won't be any publishers getting in the way of the possibility of a libre release. And who really needs fancy high-end graphics anyway?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 17, 2017, 09:36:34 am
TfB is continueing on Skylanders and whatever.
Just temporarily with a decreased input from Fred and Paul.

They are doing this independently, as already announced in their very first blog post (which was published on the day SC2 got published 25 years ago).



Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zanthius on October 17, 2017, 09:58:41 am
They are so experienced now that I doubt it will be much of a problem to do it more or less by themselves.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 17, 2017, 12:47:48 pm
They did SC2 all by themselves, except for some music.
So....

Of course they CAN.

Anyway: in one of the linked articles from theri twitter:
Quote from: Christian Today (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/star-control-ii-news-games-direct-sequel-announced-after-25-years/115721.htm)
[...] it will contain races from the predecessor game, such as Ur-Quan, Precursors, Super-Melee, Umgah, and more.
Who here ever knew the Super-Melee are a race?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zelnik on October 21, 2017, 02:17:43 am
Where can we go to support these gentlemen?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on October 21, 2017, 02:37:54 am
If I find anything out, I'll pass it on.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Mormont on October 22, 2017, 08:30:33 am
Wait, just the two of them, seriously?

What's the rest of their company working on???
I think that this is the only way they could get Activision to let them do it.


They did SC2 all by themselves, except for some music.
So....

Of course they CAN.
They got a lot of help on art and writing too, and Greg Johnson was particularly important I think. Their bunker period at the end to finish the game wasn't the entire project.
http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Star_Control_II_PC_Credits

Also they said they're "starting out" with the two of them on Twitter. While it certainly won't be a big-budget production, I'm sure they'll hire more help as needed. Skylanders has probably given them some money to work with.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on October 30, 2017, 11:51:40 pm
FYI: a PoNaF forum post about an intrview of FF and PR3  on "Ghosts of the Precursors"m here (http://star-control.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1262)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on November 10, 2017, 07:59:05 pm
They did SC2 all by themselves, except for some music.
So....

Of course they CAN.

Anyway: in one of the linked articles from theri twitter:
Quote from: Christian Today (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/star-control-ii-news-games-direct-sequel-announced-after-25-years/115721.htm)
[...] it will contain races from the predecessor game, such as Ur-Quan, Precursors, Super-Melee, Umgah, and more.
Who here ever knew the Super-Melee are a race?

Well except for the art, alien design, animation and much of the writing.

Star Control II had some legends on it.  A few examples:

Greg Johnson, who designed Starflight was on the project.

Iain McCaig worked on the game who later on went to design Darth Maul, Princess Amidala, characters for Harry Potter, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.

Erol Otus who created the Zoq-Fot-Pik and is very well known for his work in fantasy and D&D.

Kyle Balda worked on the animation in Star Control II and went on to lead the animation on Monsters Inc. and most recently directed the Minions movies.

None of this takes away from Paul and Fred.  But I think it is fair to say that Star Control II's awesomeness was the result of a nexus of awesome talent.  Truly lightning in a bottle.




Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Telecart on November 20, 2017, 08:04:19 pm
HAPPY DAYS AND JUBILATION!


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 02, 2017, 10:36:35 am
Dang, don't have my StarControl pasword here, so I'm gonna link it here first:
Quote from: @Dogar_and_Kazon (https://twitter.com/Dogar_And_Kazon/status/936706263609573376)
Unfortunately not an Umgah prank...
https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/blog/2017/12/1/there-were-many-great-battles-and-some-of-them-involved-lawyers (https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/blog/2017/12/1/there-were-many-great-battles-and-some-of-them-involved-lawyers)

That does not sound good.... :(


Edit: Alvarin was faster on PoNaF anyway: http://www.star-control.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=1269&p=26508#p26508
There is also a link to Stardockīs response: https://forums.starcontrol.com/486273/ (which gives me an "Access denied" error message).

edit2: here' some reply/discussion: https://forums.starcontrol.com/485378/page/2/#replies


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on December 02, 2017, 01:41:00 pm
Since Iím the one who created the topic here announcing Ghosts it should be self evident that Stardock supports Ghosts.

And has been stated elsewhere, many times, Stardock isnít and wonít be using the aliens from SC2.

However, since Ghosts is happening and the IP in SC2 is messy, there needs to be a real live agreement that puts the old Accolade agreement to bed. 

We are baffled by the post they made.  Our position on SC hasnít changed. And our support for Ghosts is public knowledge.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 02, 2017, 06:16:04 pm
This was not meant as critique to anyone. Just an update.
Thanks for commenting, though.


I do NOT know anything about the stuff going on, about licnse or no-license agreements, and I honestly only care marginally.

I'll see how it plays out, and it may well be that in the aftermath of renaming/buy-outs/bankruptcies the whole mess bcame even less clear, and that somewhere down the line someone sold more rights than he owned or had right to sell himself, believing that no-one will ever notice due to the old software behind these rights (seen it happen before).
Or that the creators have been led to believe they own the idea/creation, but not the name and distribution rights, but in the contract fine print, the distributor/publisher has the right to sell those IP elements too, without consulting the creators again.... (seen that too)
Bankruptcies do not make the mess clearer.
Therefore the issue who put the stuff on steam and earns a part of th sale fee may be very relevant, but I'll leave that to the owners of the IP and the ones who honestly believe they do on the rights to sort oit the mess among themselves.
That's also what we have judges and a judicial system for. With that old stuff, finding the relevant proofs and contracts may be difficult, but usually it is doable.

I hope for all sides, that you can come to an agreement without requiring the service of judges, due to the time-effort and costs involved.
We'll hear about it, or not, but I do wish all sides concernd to come a satisfactory solution for all.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zanthius on December 02, 2017, 09:39:51 pm
I hope for all sides, that you can come to an agreement without requiring the service of judges, due to the time-effort and costs involved.
We'll hear about it, or not, but I do wish all sides concernd to come a satisfactory solution for all.

I am sure it is going to work out well. Frogboy is going to ensure that. Otherwise, it wouldn't be very good publicity for his game...


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: player1 on December 02, 2017, 11:42:15 pm
Official response on the situation by Stardock:
https://forums.starcontrol.com/486284/page/1


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Stardrake on December 03, 2017, 06:06:10 am
Well, this is a surprise... and from what it looks like, it's a surprise to Brad as well.

I would say that there were a few things I've seen in the SC:O marketing that I did think were a bit... presumptuous... but I'd assumed that they had been agreed on with FF&PR3 in the name of making the brand as a whole stronger for everyone. Apparently that isn't the case, since that's basically the third point that FF & PR3 made.

The key point, and one in which the two sides seem to be arguing past each other, is this:

"Stardock now seems to think that not only can they use our aliens, ships and narrative without our permission, but thinks that we cannot make a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters without their permission -- this is where we got really, really angry."

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.

The cleanest resolution is probably for Stardock to formally transfer all rights to the Ur-Quan Masters universe (which includes Kessari Quadrant, since it uses IP from Ur-Quan Masters) to FF & PR3, while retaining the right to make Star Control games in universes unrelated to the Ur-Quan Masters universe (which might require removing references to the Androsynth in the backstory as well). This would have the effect of resolving the other points FF and PR3 raise in their favour, because after such a transfer, Stardock would not be able to publish the first three games or to include the Ur-Quan Masters universe on diagrams without having permission from FF & PR3 (although they might be able to ask for such permission as part of the agreement). It would probably still require some lawyers to make sure that the agreement actually says what both sides want it to say, but that could be more along the lines of hammering out the terms of an *alliance party* rather than great battles.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 on December 04, 2017, 01:14:41 pm
If I were Frogboy, I'd be checking in with my lawyers to make sure they aren't doing things that would be normal in this situation but I don't want them to be doing.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 04, 2017, 04:43:19 pm
That holds true for the other side as well.

Like I said, split Intellectual Property (content by FF and PR; name and distribution rights by Stardock, through bankruptcy and previous "inheritance") are messy.
Even more so when somewhere down the line the IP was sold, resold, bought, inherited through merger/buy-out of a company, and worst of all: bought from a bankrupt company.

I hope for FF and PR, that their side of the deal is well documented, history has shown that companies often do not keep full records over all these years, especially when bankruptcies come into play.
Also often a company tries to sell more rights than they own, making it a legal mess. The buyer then expects certain rights, which he does not have. And often he does not have a full documentation how the seller acquired the rights in first place. If the other side cannot provide documents filling the gaps, often the newest contract wins in court (the buyer of the IP rights, who actually bought stuff the previous owner had no right to sell).

I like Frogboy's comment, that he wishes to come to an agreement with FF and PR. But he may start from a wrong premise with this agreement. If he thinks FF and PR might need his permission to continue the Ur-Quan universe, while he has no right to block the stories there, this gives a wrong impression to all sides.
But a new agreement, even if simply stating the currently undisputed facts both sides see, would be very valuable in court, as it would be the starting point the judges will use (as it just lists rights which at a certain time were undisputed/agreed upon; thus setting aside all messy (through history) previous agreements):
name rights with StarDock.
characters with FF and PR3.
story line with FF and PR3.

Leave the rest (e.g. future story lines; rights for distribution of SC1/SC2/KessariQuadrant) out of the first agreement.
Try to put the remaining stuff in further agreements.

This way, the IP gets sorted again, and gets a newer document putting all rights to a current name.


Main issues with such first agreements often are inclusions of paragraphs like "assuming all responsibilities".
Because "responsibilities" are not defined in their limits.
An example:  if a story-continuation ("GotP") gets shredded by critics, and subsequently leads to a drop in sales of SC:Origins (or other "Star-Control universes" - e.g. a licensed universe), are the losses in earnings for StarDock the responsibility of FF and PR, who are thus obliged to pay a compensation? How will you calculate and quantify this "compensation"? (Remember that StarDock wants to sell licenses, and that licensees may experience a drop in sales too, which might lead to reduced license fees, or even result in damage claims against StarDock.)
Thus I would propose to leave such stuff out, and just make a list of non-disputed rights.

As second agreement, I would list "disputed rights" and the intention of both sides to find an agreement regarding these currently not mutually-recognised rights.
This approach may look slow, but it makes for a better working atmosphere.

* the drop of sales will most likely happen if the magazines publishing the review also point out that GotP is a continuation of Star Control II, which is now being continued by StarDock, with the following spin-offs based on the same engine: <licensee 1><licensee 2>,... Magazines do not care much about simplifying complex context. Their readers often do not care to check whether the implied low quality is inherent to the game architecture by same engine, and if the different products even use the same engine...


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on December 04, 2017, 09:40:11 pm
I posted this on star-control.com but I think it's worth repeating here.

---

I have to admit that I started from a position of being an anti-fan of what Stardock was doing, back when Origins was announced.  I always wanted the "real" SC3.  SC2 was an awesome story and I want to see what more they have to tell in that vein.

... but ...

... reading the Ars article that Fred&Paul linked, about Stardock's project, that's EXACTLY what I always wanted to be done in Star Control.  Both the game Stardock is making, AND the openness to user-created content.  And reading how Brad describes himself, how SC2 affected him - it hits me right here.  I know exactly what he's talking about.  That's not an evil lawyer talking, that's a superfan of SC2, just like all of us.  Anything he does with reference to Fred&Paul's work is pretty clearly done from a position of hero worship.  Just like things I did, back in the day.

And then, on the gripping hand, there's how this dispute went public.  The one thing that comes to mind when I look at how Fred&Paul announced this is "not ready for prime time".  This is not how professionals handle these disputes.  This is not how adults handle legal issues.  This IS how I, as a dumbass teenager or early-twentysomething, might have thought was a good way to handle it - but now I know better.

You don't start a legal dispute with an unclear broadside to the court of public opinion.  You start it with cease & desist letters, making it clear specifically what your objection is and what action you consider necessary to resolve the matter - and BEFORE you do that, you make damn sure you've prepared your ground properly and have a reasonable expectation of prevailing in court. 

Yelling in public about being "really, really angry" is not the sort of argument that will get ANYWHERE in a courtroom.  This is not what Fred&Paul should have done.  They should have gotten their ducks in a row, paid a lawyer, sent the C&D.  Only AFTER Stardock failed to do whatever it is Fred&Paul think Stardock should be doing (and it is a major problem that this is not remotely clear to anybody yet) - only THEN do they open up with the public statements - statements that include specific details as to how Stardock is failing to meet its legal requirements.

I'm the biggest Fred&Paul fan there is (yes i am, shaddap, i'll fite u, i'll fite u all).  I had a "STRCTRL" license plate for several years.  But ... this is absolutely not how they should have handled the issue, and starting just from the manner in which they started this makes me think they haven't thought their position through nearly carefully enough, and maybe are setting themselves up for an entirely unnecessary legal defeat.

I would hate that.  I expect everyone would.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on December 05, 2017, 01:29:46 am
More info.

https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/blog/2017/12/4/star-control-i-ii-and-iii-arent-for-sale-on-gogcom-any-more-how-come

Quote
Why was it okay to sell the games on GoG, but not on Steam or elsewhere?

The simple answer is because we have had our own direct distribution agreement with GOG since 2011 and no agreement with Stardock or Steam or anyone else.

Quote
In October of this year, history repeated itself when Stardock began selling our games on Steam and elsewhere (even bundled with theirs), again without getting our permission.  This time we couldn't come to an agreement, so we asked that Stardock stop bundling and selling the games. They refused, so we've decided to end our 2011 distribution agreement with GOG as a first step to having the games pulled down.

If this is accurate, then my speculation in my previous post is completely wrong.  If Toys For Bob has indeed contacted Stardock and made this request, and been refused, then I don't know why Brad Wardell would be saying "nothing has changed".  Unless the request got lost in lower-level channels somehow and he never heard about it.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 05, 2017, 09:22:41 am
Yeah, this starts more and more to sound like the guys who liquidated Atari sold from the assets remaining more rights than Atari actually had.
This would lead StarDock to believe they have the right to sell and bundle SC1/SC2 games, while actually Atari (and the liquidators) never had the right to sell that.

Now it is for both sides to document the flow of rights. (Which might be messy for Stardock, as they might not have full access to the Atari dossier. - And will never get it now the company has been fully liquidated.)
Ah well, by now I own 3 copies of SC1, and 4 copies of SC2, and one copy of SC3.... I have a copy of UQM too, but I do not own that one. And it is out of date.
Will install Megamod 0.8 once it is done (thanks to Kohr-Ah Death/Serosis!).
I wouldn't buy more, except if they will come bundled with SC:O and/or GotP.
Yet I do find it a pity that GoG took them down. (Where did the Atari share flow to after the sale of the brand name? Through this, Stardock may have known about the need for a separate agreement.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on December 06, 2017, 01:07:52 am
Brad's posts on the GOG forums:

https://www.gog.com/forum/general/star_control_1_and_2_being_removed_from_gog/post67
https://www.gog.com/forum/general/star_control_1_and_2_being_removed_from_gog/post69

Notably including these bits:

Quote
Thus, upon recently finding out that the actual agreement was between Paul/Fred and GOG we contacted Paul and Fred to contacted GOG to remove the titles and, as GOG can verify, we contacted GOG to terminate that agreement so that the games can be sold as part of the existing Stardock/GOG agreement.

 Now, if GOG users don't want the games available, that's a different story. Or, alternatively, if Paul and Fred can produce some sort of documentation, even an email, that acknowledges that Atari (and by inference Stardock) doesn't have the right to sell the classic series then we will discontinue them. So far, we've received nothing.

This all shines more light on what the dogarandkazon blog posts were getting at, and at the same time, makes them look more and more like an error in judgement.

I hate seeing this.

edit: Brad Wardell announces the games are back for sale on GOG.com:

https://www.gog.com/forum/general/star_control_1_and_2_being_removed_from_gog/post89

Which definitely supports his version of events over Fred&Paul's.

Guys, you're my childhood heroes, whydja have to be so dang silly about this?



Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Narsham on December 06, 2017, 01:52:24 am
For what it is worth, I pulled out my old SC manuals from the original releases of the games and on the back cover is all the legalese. I quote:

(Star Control): The software and the user manual are copyrighted 1990 by Accolade, Inc.

Star Control II is a trademark of Accolade, Inc. Game (C)1992 Paul Reiche III & Fred Ford. All other materials are copyrighted 1992 by Accolade, Inc.

Star Control 3 and ACCOLADE are trademarks of Accolade, Inc. (C) 1996 Accolade Inc. All rights reserved. Star Control 3 is based upon characters created and used under license from Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford.

Accolade seemed to believe that they required a license from Paul and Fred to use characters (ie. races) from SC 2. I don't know whether rights to SC 1 were at some point transferred to Paul and Fred or remained with Accolade; that would seem to introduce ambiguity over ownership of races appearing in both games.

If Accolade did need a license from Paul and Fred, then presumably the rights to the characters so licensed were owned by them and not Paul and Fred, and could therefore not be sold either to Atari or to Stardock. My memory may be imperfect, but my sense was at the time of Stardock's purchase there was a lack of clarity about whether the rights to the characters/races were included or not.



Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on December 06, 2017, 01:58:15 am
That would cover creating new material based on the IP.  It doesn't say anything about who does or doesn't have the right to put the games up for sale.  It kind of doesn't make sense that the publisher would agree to delegate sale rights to someone else.

This is why a carefully written legal document dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's would be useful, if Fred&Paul have such a thing, and I really hope they do.

As you say, there's a lack of clarity about lots of different aspects of this.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on December 06, 2017, 05:29:19 am
And it should be noted that Stardock absolutely does not claim any ownership of the characters, setting, lore,

Our reading has always been that Accolade had no ownership rights whatsoever to what Paul and a fred created.

The problem, and this was common in these older agreements which were based on commercial software contracts (think mainframe style) is that the contract is actually a licensing agreement. And the licensed content was permently tied to the product through a series of restrictions. This kept the developer from doing exactly what Paul and Fred are trying to do. And this even survives termination of the agreement. Itís pretty nasty stuff.  Itís still common, even today, in commercial software development agreements.

Nowadays, you handle this with a concept called first right of refusal on sequels and we call the game publishing agreements modeled after book agreements instead of mainframe licensing agreements.

So how do you solve this? You sit down and detangle this and eliminate this restriction and transfer all those rights back.

Why would Stardock do this? Because Ghosts solves a huge problem for Stardock. Stardock isnt going to touch the Ur-Quan story wo Paulís involvement. So it is making Origins in a new universe. But the hard core fans will want to know about the deal with the Orz and such, Ghosts solves that.

Now, as has been stated elsewhere, Stardock has taken the position that it would just not enforce the restriction provisions but thatís not a good idea long term. I may not always be in charge at Stardock so this would be a good time to get this straightened out since we arenít asking for anything beyond indemnification and  for it not to be associated (I.e. donít confuse the market by calling it a Star Control game or a sequel to Star Control II. Call it UQM II or something instead).

Obviously, so far, weíve failed to come to an agreement and the public acrimony has not been terribly helpful. But I do think something will come together that will ensure both games get made.
 


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 06, 2017, 09:54:16 am
So how do you solve this? You sit down and detangle this [...]
YES!

But I do think something will come together that will ensure both games get made.
You want me to LOVE YOU? I do LOVE this sentence here!

I really hope you all find a conclusion to this mess.
I am not expecting UQM II to be finalised in 2018 anyway (although I would love to buy some copies (IF they even go for sale) for Christmas 2018).
I am still in for a long wait, but having this mess sorted will help all sides.


edit2: to further Narsham (http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=6968.msg76377#msg76377)'s post: on the PoNaF-forum (star-control.com) (http://www.star-control.com/community/viewtopic.php?p=26566#p26566), I looked at some versions of the Legal Mumbo Jumbo as printed on the manuals:

Quote from: http://replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.1119 (http://replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.1119) (page 102 of the PDF)
LICENSE AGREEMENT AND LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO

This computer software product (the "Software") and user manual are provided to the
Customer under license from Accolade, Inc. and are subject to the following terms and
conditions, to which the Customer agrees by opening the package of the Software and
user manual and/or using the Software. Granting of this license does not transfer any
right, title or interest in the Software, or user manual to the Customer except as
expressly set forth in this License Agreement.

Star Control II is a trademark of Accolade, Inc. Portions (c) 1992 Paul Reiche III & Fred
Ford. Game (c)1992 by Accolade, Inc. All rights are reserved. Neither the Software nor the
user manual may be duplicated or copied for any reason. The customer may not transfer
or resell the Software or user manual.

[...]

All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.
Here, only portions are copyrights by FF and PRIII.
This contradicts Narsham (http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=6968.msg76377#msg76377)'s version posted above.

Quote from: http://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYSTEM/Panasonic_3DO//Manual/formated/Star_Control_2_-_1994_-_Accolade.pdf (http://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYSTEM/Panasonic_3DO//Manual/formated/Star_Control_2_-_1994_-_Accolade.pdf) 3DO manual, back side
Crystal Dynamics, GEX and Off-World Interceptor are trademarks of Crystal Dynamics. Star Control II is a trademark of Accolade, Inc. (c) 1994 Fred Ford and Paul
Reiche III, 3DO, the 3DO logo and the Interactive Multiplayer are trademarks of The 3DO Company. This game is licensed for home play on the 3DO Interactive
Multiplayer system. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, [???-possibly hiring/lending], public performance, or broadcast of this game is a
violation of applicable laws. (c) 1994 Crystal Dynamics Inc., [?]7 Encina Ave., Palo Alto, CA94[?]01. All Rights Reserved. Developed and manufactured in the U.S.
Here, the copyrights are fully with Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III.
Something has changed, or an error was made on one of the two manuals.

Anyway, I do get conflicting messages here.

And 1992/1994 is a long while ago. It may take a while for either party to find complete documentation of their claims. IF it is even possibly for Stardock (IF they even received a complete documentation when they bought the Star Control brand). IF the papers have been kept.....

last edit: disabled smileys....


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Jerod_Le_Trd on December 08, 2017, 07:17:28 pm
I think you've nailed it on the head actually...

The Narsham version was for the 3DO version, which was licensed and published in such a way that they retained control of the code... (where we got the Ur-Quan Masters).

Your version looks like the PC version, which was where the rights that Stardock obtained came from.

Their initial post talked about making a direct sequel to Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (Way-Back Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20171020202532/https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/)

As they do not have the rights to the Star Control name, they cannot make a direct sequel to any star control games... but, they can make a sequel to Ur-Quan Masters... MAYBE.

As Frogboy said, easiest way to fix this was to sit down, untangle the rights, transfer what needed to be transferred, and clean up the rights mess... this would allow them to make a direct sequel to Star Control II, while minimising backlash against Star Control: Origins if things should go sideways...

Going for the 'Stardock can't stop us, so we'll take games off steam/gog to prove we hold the rights' approach is childish, and a bad-faith negotiating tactic.

There is no 'win' for them down this line... just a whole lot of money for lawyers.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Narsham on December 09, 2017, 07:43:41 pm
I was quoting from the physical manuals for the PC versions of SC 1, 2 and Kessari, all of which I purchased in the store and still possess.

I would wager that when subsequent SC collections were packaged and sold, the copyrights had changed.

At this stage, it sounds to me like the solution is for each side's lawyers to sit down and hash out the tangle. Nobody is making themselves look good right now, and both sides have made public statements that contradict available facts.

In a matter of disagreement over the law, lawyers are the proper channel to resolve the disagreement. I doubt many people would recommend having a brain tumor removed by someone who isn't a professional neurosurgeon...

I think you've nailed it on the head actually...

The Narsham version was for the 3DO version, which was licensed and published in such a way that they retained control of the code... (where we got the Ur-Quan Masters).

Your version looks like the PC version, which was where the rights that Stardock obtained came from.

Their initial post talked about making a direct sequel to Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (Way-Back Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20171020202532/https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/)

As they do not have the rights to the Star Control name, they cannot make a direct sequel to any star control games... but, they can make a sequel to Ur-Quan Masters... MAYBE.

As Frogboy said, easiest way to fix this was to sit down, untangle the rights, transfer what needed to be transferred, and clean up the rights mess... this would allow them to make a direct sequel to Star Control II, while minimising backlash against Star Control: Origins if things should go sideways...

Going for the 'Stardock can't stop us, so we'll take games off steam/gog to prove we hold the rights' approach is childish, and a bad-faith negotiating tactic.

There is no 'win' for them down this line... just a whole lot of money for lawyers.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on December 10, 2017, 01:16:48 am
I am not expecting UQM II to be finalised in 2018 anyway (although I would love to buy some copies (IF they even go for sale) for Christmas 2018).

Not a chance in hell.  I'd expect it's 3-4 years away.  Best case, they've already been prototyping code and drafting scripts and plotlines for a while, and have still 2 years of solid dev time to go.

I just really wish - if their claims are as well-founded as they seem to believe - that they had found a way to convince Stardock of that without this mess.  IF Brad Wardell's statement that Stardock has received no documentary evidence from them at all is correct - and it's the sort of claim that is easily disproven - that makes it look like they're deliberately trying for a legal fight for some reason.  That's nearly always a terrible move.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on December 10, 2017, 09:26:30 am
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.

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.

At this point in history, 2017, Paul & Fred should realize that no matter how famous someone is they are not too famous to be taken down.
If they keep this shit up Stardock is going to be forced to shut them down.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on December 10, 2017, 12:17:16 pm
The goal is telling more stroyline.
The game might be less important.
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.

Anyway, they wrote they are at a VERY EARLY stage, meaning they got permission from TfB owners to do a sideline project not affiliated to TfB, on their own time.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Mormont 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis 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?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: TBeholder 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 (https://forums.littletinyfrogs.com/486284/Stardock-response-to-Paul-and-Fred) predictably shows frustration, confusion and fanboys (of either and both sides) chasing their own tails per tradition of internet discussions.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zelnik 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Scalare 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?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zelnik 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


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Death 999 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 withoutÖ 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.


BasicallyÖ 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 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.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle 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.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Mormont on February 23, 2018, 08:52:23 pm
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.
Brad has not been an an open book, just very vocal about broadcasting his highly selective version of events.  He has gone around for months propping himself up as the adult in the room who just wanted to talk things out without mentioning that his company had already sued them, and with some ridiculous claims.  (I found out there was a lawsuit back in December when I accidentally stumbled on it by a legal site, but decided to stay quiet and see how the news played out).

Their last blog post of 2017 was December 4; Stardock filed their suit December 8. I can understand why F&P would want to save their ammunition until they had everything in systematic legal form. Brad is also not technically a party to the lawsuit (Stardock is), which may give him a bit more freedom to speak publicly. Also, they have always been quick on answering my e-mails.

(snip)

BasicallyÖ 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:

(snip)

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.
Not a lawyer, but having read the documents I agree with Death here. Both sides have their weak points (the argument on the trademark expiring seems iffy), but overall Stardock's complaint is absurd and F&P's case seems stronger.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on February 23, 2018, 09:26:21 pm
Quote
Both sides have their weak points (the argument on the trademark expiring seems iffy), but overall Stardock's complaint is absurd and F&P's case seems much stronger.

You think Stardock's complaint about Paul and Fred claiming Ghosts is a direct sequel to Star Control II and promoting it as such as absurd? 

I'd recommend reading Stardock's response here: https://forums.starcontrol.com/487690/

We spent months trying to work out a co-existence agreement.  In response, they filed a DMCA take down on Steam and GOG for not just Star Control 1 and 2 but also 3 which they have no copyright claims to whatsoever. 

And it's a little ridiculous to be attacking Stardock over lawyer-speak as to what constitutes a "Creator" when Paul and Fred made a press release publicly accusing me, a non-party to any of this, of being a thief. 

You say that you've read both cases.  Did you notice exhibit E?

https://www.screencast.com/t/uixGUE0h

That was from 2013.  The games were already being sold then.   Stardock acquired the rights discussed in the email. Paul acknowledged this and for 5 or so years things went smoothly.   

I just want to make a Star Control game and we have done everything we can to respect Paul and Fred.  But if they're willing to DMCA games they had nothing to do with (even if you believe that the licensing agreement has expired, that doesn't give them DMCA power over Star Control 3) what would stop them from doing the same thing to Star Control: Origins on release? 

We've spent the last 4 years making the new Star Control. It's really good.  It doesn't use any of the characters and story even though, as that email makes clear, we acquired the publishing rights which granted us a perpetual license to their characters.  They didn't tell us we didn't have the rights to use those aliens, they asked us not to use them. In front of witnesses.  None of this was in dispute until this past Fall when they decided to do Ghosts of the Precursors.

So what would you have us do? They won't talk to us. I offered to talk to them on the phone several times and got their lawyer instead.

When two parties can't work it out privately, they seek a third-party to litigate it. That's where it is now.  The lawyers will figure it out.   

I think this will be my last post on this community.   For the last few years I've tried to be supportive of Star Control and I am the person who created this thread celebrating Paul and Fred's new game. 


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 23, 2018, 10:07:04 pm
Also, they have always been quick on answering my e-mails.

This is meant to be a joke unless it could work: Why don't you act as a mediator to see what the hell is going on since you seem to be able to get ahold of them?
Maybe if either side knew each other's true intentions this could be resolved.

P&F want Stardock to stop selling SC1/2 on Steam. We got that.
They also don't want them using SC1/2 characters in Origins. That's a given.

But why announce it publicly as if Stardock were doing these things maliciously when they could have simply emailed Brad and said, "Hey, could you do us a favor?"
Then they try to DMCA the games off both GOG and Steam.

They then go on to file a suit because in one image of an early Tywom comm screen you could see a Spathi Eluder and Ur-Quan Dreadnought hanging from the ceiling.
Because references and homages are definitely not ok. Says the guys who designed a game with tons of homages and references.

And that the in-game ship creator could be used to recreate previous Star Control ships.
A bit late to that boat because those ships have been recreated in other games long before Origins, and in other Stardock games. (Sins of a Solar Empire: Seven Deadly Sins mod)
Why Origins' ship creator makes this different, Į\_(ツ)_/Į

All I know is that Stardock started Origins because of their love for Star Control and had no intentions to piss off Paul and Fred or the fandom, but somehow managed piss them all off anyways.

It feels like someone snuck up behind P&F and deceitfully said that Brad called them both stupid cunts and ran away laughing like Dick Dastardly's dog Muttley.


____


EDIT:

Yes, and all the counter-suit nonsense.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on February 23, 2018, 10:21:19 pm
Still reading the cmplaint.
Now I know where to send Christmas cards.... ;)the fina

Otherwise I sincerely hope thta this will not throw spanners imto the cogwheels of both projects.

The caes are all weak.
And the judge/jury will not be happy to have to do a case like this.
But they are final mediators. expensive ones, too.


edit: hmm, in paragraph 20, the complaint explains what Stardock purchased in Ataris bankruptcy, and refers to an asset purchase agreement of 18 July 2013, Exhibit A.
But Exhibit A seems to be the IP Assignment Agreement, which itself refers to the Purchase Agreement (last lines of first paragraph of Exhibit A). exhibit A is signed, but has no date ("closing date"). Wrong document attached? Exhibit D also seems to be IP Assignmemt Agreement...
Because I want to know what the bankruptcy deal entailed.
And the contract of 1988 is not attached. FF and PR have attached it (counterclaim Exhibits 1-3, see paragraphs 5, 10a-10c,) but it's not part of the list of docs I printed...
Seems like an expensive way for Stardock to get copies of the agreement. I'm wondering if Atari was ever able to provide them with proof they could sell what they did sell to Stardock. I was expecting this to be the first Exhibits in the Complaint.

Because all will hinge on what's written there.
If the IP was written there as Reiche's(and/or Ford's), then Stardock is on very weak basisrigjt from the start, and they can only rely on a finding of unfair use of the trademark. But if the IP was split in the original agreement(and its amendments), then it will all hinge ony very minor details.

I'm still at square one regarding making an opinion on who's right.
But I tend to lean towards FF's and PR's position.
A car designer having designed a Ferrari will always be associated with that brand, even when he later designs FIATs.
I find that a fair use of the brand name. Personal opinion.


Edit: in paragraph 18 first mention is made of Accolade owning all classic Star Control copyrights, pursuant to the 1988 agreement.
As the game was developed without FF and PR. Here it starts mixing the classic StarControl and Star Control II with Star Control 3, where the situation is different than in 1 and 2. This seems to be an attempt to distract the jury/judge, and expand all borders to the borders of the widest property, which is SC3....  in paragraph 14, "classic SC games" is defind as all three games. (SC, SC II, and SC3).
Only in paragraph 28 is SC copyrights defined to limit to SC3 copyrights.
Yet I feel the complaint is trying to encroach beyond the border of the actual copyright.

Well. I'll see how it plays out. Until then, I'm still waiting for SC:O and GotP.

further edit: (to keep new posts on topic)
Complaint paragraph 52: the GOG sales agreement was part of the contracts Stardock bought, and listed in the assets when Atari went bankrupt. I distinctly remember having seen that as part of the agreements. Yet I miss all references to that in the Complaint. Hence why the Asset Purchase Agreement is not attached? Should've been listed there...
Again, paragraph 52 expands the scope of the Star Control copyrights beyond SC3. The lawyers seem to be mixing it all up....
Also, Exhibit M does not refer to provide further games for free under the Star control mark. (paragraph 54) It refers only to UQM.

paragraph 55: the name is not the goodwill. If I hear a new publisher/developer is behind a sequel with the same name, I am cautious (after my desaster with StarControl 3, and the very disruptive ICOM online gameplay), since then my goodwill is with the developer/programmers...
I know, for marketing the name is more important, as it catches attention of the relevant target group faster.

paragraph 57: from what I've read, previous Stardock attempts to resurrect older series has crated the negative reports for SC:Origins, and not the announcement done by FF and PR3. I cannot remember a comment from them negative for Origins, besides that UQM is better than SC2 on Steam or GOG.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 23, 2018, 10:37:21 pm
I think this thread needs to be locked. It has long since been derailed from its original topic.
Which was to celebrate the coming of a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on February 23, 2018, 10:53:17 pm
Split off into a new thread, then?


I'm still celebrating the coming of two new StarControl games....


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 23, 2018, 11:05:39 pm
Yes, let's get this thread back on track.

And... I guess that guy Zelnik can start another Stardock bashing thread over in Starbase Cafe.
Good luck competing with Zanthius.

Do you think through all these legal precedings that P&F had time to work on Ghosts?
Would be nice if they had a website, Discord, or even a thread on here with updates to their progress.

You think they're going to repurpose the UQM code or start on a new engine?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on February 23, 2018, 11:18:26 pm
Idk.

I'm hoping for a new engine, but that'll take a long while.
Since I feel, that their project scope is intended to remain small, and just tell the story they're coming up with, doing something hardcoded like UQM, and not freely changeable like Origins, seems more likely.
I'm therefore expecting a kind of Project 3014 (?), shifting (or maybe even enlarging) the map of UQM, and go from there.

Would be much cheaper as a project, not according to modern gaming standards, but depends on who they're catering for: just the hardcore fans and supply a continuation of the story, or a real new game alluring new players too, which would require a new engine.

I can live with both.
A simple, out of modern touch, game with a continuation,
or a full blown game, which will take very long to develop, and will require a rather large team, and not just those two.

But hmestly, I think they're still writing the story, and shifting through their original notes, as far as they survived.
Project scope comes once they are contend with the story.
But as SC2/UQM showed, a lot of story can be told in a very variable way using conversation trees.
For feel, I would even prefer a game like that.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 23, 2018, 11:41:46 pm
That's one of the things I liked about Project 6014 was they used the same map but shifted the focus.

As far as engines that are not UQM I could see them taking advantage of Unity, heck, if everything gets resolved amicably they could use Origins as a platform.
Brad would be over-the-moon if that were the case.

But Unity seems like the most logical starting point and possibly porting some of the code from UQM over like the Melee code so they don't have to reinvent their wheels.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on February 23, 2018, 11:48:14 pm
I just hope they'll be able to create new ships and have them balanced near as well as the new ships in SC2 were compared to the SC1 ships.

(I am using the trademark name here, because the games were published as such first.
It won't be easy to refer correctly to the games otherwise, even if I want to avoid using the trademark now.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 24, 2018, 12:42:52 am
That will definitely be one of the most difficult bits.

Though they might not need to come up with too many new ships this time around. Depending on how their story works out.
But than again to get a proper adventure out of it there should be quite a few new alien races.

I'm curious about the Keel-Verezy comment from the original blog post. I wonder how they'll fit in.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on February 24, 2018, 03:22:33 am
I think this will be my last post on this community.   For the last few years I've tried to be supportive of Star Control and I am the person who created this thread celebrating Paul and Fred's new game. 


I for one am sorry to see that, although I totally understand why (assuming your motives are honest) you might be feeling a bit beleaguered right now.  There's nothing wrong with just not commenting further until after the legal dispute is over.  Assuming and hoping that it does resolve such that both games still get made, it would be great to have you around afterward.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Mormont on February 26, 2018, 03:54:03 pm
Also, they have always been quick on answering my e-mails.

This is meant to be a joke unless it could work: Why don't you act as a mediator to see what the hell is going on since you seem to be able to get ahold of them?
Maybe if either side knew each other's true intentions this could be resolved.
They're not going to use a random unqualified fan as a mediator, haha. I don't have any legal training and they haven't shared any legal details with me. There are lawyers whose specialty is mediating suits, and for all we know F&P and Stardock might hire one.

That said, why don't you e-mail them? If you're polite they'll probably answer. I'm sure they would be interested to see the modding you've done with UQM too (not joking).


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 26, 2018, 05:01:36 pm
Nah, I don't think now is the right time to start contacting them with my fanboy projects.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zanthius on February 27, 2018, 06:40:45 pm
Quote
Stardock filed a complaint in Federal court against us, personally, alleging among other things that we are not actually the creators of Star Control.  This is news to us!  Are we clones of the original Fred and Paul, just now learning of our squelchy vat birth?

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

Maybe I shouldn't joke about this, but I always had this theory that the Arilou transmitted Star Control 2 to you telepathically:

(https://i.imgur.com/OIyJEW4.png)

But I guess the theory just originated from a general I distrust I had in the ability of humans to create anything meaningful. Now I am more convinced that humans actually have the potential to create meaningful things (if they are properly nurtured).


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on February 27, 2018, 11:53:58 pm
For anybody who isn't reading the Dogar and Kazon blog or PNF,

https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/blog/2018/2/27/report-from-planet-surface

and that email chain is indeed pretty convincing.  That would seem to be the evidence Stardock claimed they needed.  Well, they have it now.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on February 28, 2018, 03:53:09 am
Indeed it seems Atari didn't feel they had the rights to distribute the classic games from what I read there.  I don't know the whole story but I'm just reading what you read.

However, far more importantly, it establishes that they understood that the trademark was in full force.

As most of you know, the distribution of the DOS games on Steam and GOG are not central to the case (has anyone here actually bought a copy from either?).  We had offered to voluntarily remove the titles from distribution in exchange for ceasing representing Ghosts as being related to Star Control.  They refused. 

You might feel that they should just be able to ride on the renewed interest of Star Control due to Stardock's considerable efforts because of your admiration.  I can't argue with how you feel.  For decades we waited for a new Star Control game.  None came.  Stardock acquired the rights and has invested millions of dollars to create it and from 2013 on I have been here to answer your questions and listen to your feedback.   I still am happy at the idea that Paul and Fred want to return to their universe.  But this isn't the way to do it.

Stardock isn't married to the distribution of the DOS games.  When Stardock asked them to explain why it didn't have the rights to distribute the games even though this had previously been discussed 4 years  prior they didn't provide any basis for the sudden change in attitude.  Now they've posted this email that seems to indicate that Atari didn't think they had the rights to distribute but also negotiates a new agreement for distribution and acknowledges the trademark.

Let's assume that the lawyers come back and agree to take the DOS games down.  Now what? This doesn't help them at all with Stardock's complaint regarding Ghosts of the Precursors representing itself as being associated with Star Control. 


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 04:02:30 am
You spent millions of dollars developing a game with none of the original Star Control characters, setting, or story.

Regardless of this lawsuit, you'll still be able to put out a game with none of the original Star Control characters, setting, or story.

Honest question, no sarcasm. Why do you even want to call it a Star Control game?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: vok3 on February 28, 2018, 04:18:09 am
I actually did buy SC3 off GOG the very day they said they wanted the games taken down.  (It's actually not that bad.  It's not a suitable sequel and there's some mind-bendingly stupid design choices in it, but some fun stuff too.) (edit: just realized I bought SC1 and 2 off GOG some years earlier, too.  I still have the original SC2 floppy install disks, as well as a later copy I bought on CD, but GOG's convenience factor is high)

From my reading of all this, their objections to Stardock's actions do seem to turn on Stardock selling and distributing the games on Stardock's terms instead of theirs.  I am of course no lawyer but reading through their suit it looks like that was the action that made them decide Stardock was deliberately overstepping boundaries rather than pushing annoyingly hard for cooperation.  That in turn makes the DMCA takedown understandable, and the DMCA takedown looked like the trigger for Stardock's suit.  I am not sure how the trademark claim justifies the lawsuit.  Are they not allowed to even mention the fact that they worked on the product? I am not asking you to say yes or no, I'm not trying to trap you - just that this is the sort of question that springs to mind.  People can and will talk about their past projects as a way of establishing credibility for future ones.  Chris Roberts for example talked a LOT about Wing Commander in pitching Star Citizen.  In that case of course his total inability to deliver has made it increasingly clear that there was a lot more to Wing Commander than just Roberts himself, but I haven't seen EA make any noises about trademark lawsuits.  If EA Legal doesn't have a problem with such behavior, I'm curious why Stardock Legal does.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: CelticMinstrel on February 28, 2018, 04:25:44 am
(has anyone here actually bought a copy from either?)
Although I didn't buy a copy from GoG, I had strongly contemplated waiting for a sale when I could get the whole series at half price. (Or at the very least, half price on SC1+2, just so I could say I own a copy of SC1.) So, in other words, removing them from the GoG store deprives me of that option. (And for the record, I'm not going to get a copy on Steam, regardless of who gets royalties from it. For classic games at least, I prefer GoG.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on February 28, 2018, 04:47:41 am
Quote
Honest question, no sarcasm. Why do you even want to call it a Star Control game?

The reason is that we wanted to create a very specific game.

How many games these days actually brag about "randomly generated quests"?  How many of you now wince that that sort of thing?

At its core, what does Star Control mean to you? Honestly?  To me, back in Fall of 1992 what it meant to me is that I was playing a game, for the first time ever, where I felt like I was captain of a ship going on adventures with hand crafted stories.

Did you ever play Pirates? I always felt like that game came...so close...to being the perfect story telling game.  But Star Control did it (for it's time).

Now, let's fast forward to 2012.  

We wanted to make a game that is your story.  Your adventures.  You are the Captain.  You are going out there, exploring, having adventures.  But not random adventures.  Not adventures where you kill 9 space goblins to get 10 warp cells.  You are going on adventures that will change the universe in some subtle way and lead the way to more engaging stories.

Now, look back. What games have done that?  Mass Effect?  Almost.  But their engine stifled it (imo of course).  People like me...maybe  like you want something more free form.

We had experience at the battle part. As some of you know, Stardock developed a MMO super-melee style game.  It was called Stellar Frontier.  64 players fighting space war style battles.  It was great.  Now, we wanted to combine that with adventure.  With story telling.

Then in 2013, we saw that Star Control was available.  My favorite game of all time.  I had been hanging out here for years. Had signed a petition to see if Activision would let Paul and Fred make a new game to no avail.  

So we acquired Star Control, we offered it to Paul and Fred at our cost if it would help them make a new game even if they wanted to have nothing to do with us. They said that Activision wouldn't let them.  

They *asked* us if we made a new one not to use their characters and lore because they wanted to revisit their universe as a retirement project "someday".  I think this is in line with what you guys have heard to, no?  So we agreed.  Not because we couldn't use the aliens but because we wanted to leave things open for them because we're huge fans and our goal with the trademark was to instantly convey to casual players what kind of game this was: a story-driven adventure game.  

We didn't consider that much of a sacrifice.  Ask yourselves, how would you even go about it in a world with SC3? How do you undo space cows? It's just so messy.  Only Paul and Fred could clean that up was our thinking at the time.  Let them return someday to their story.   We offered to help them when that day came whether we were involved or not.

Now, not using the aliens and lore diminishes the value.  If the cost had been a lot higher, it wouldn't be worth it.  But for $300k or so? Yea, that's a no-brainer to have a game that has the brand recognition.  It would cost far more than that to make a new game from scratch and have to explain "it's like Star Control" over and over.  

And so we went forth and made a new universe and kept Paul and Fred up to date because, frankly, as you guys have gathered, we are super fans of theirs (even if the lawyers are not).  

But then, after a quarter century,  but only a few years after we had started, after we've spent millions of dollars, Paul and Fred, not retired but rather on the eve of our beta release, decide to come out and announce they are making a sequel to Star Control lI?  Not a sequel to Ur-Quan Masters.  Star Control.  After we had offered to transfer it to them at our cost.   Now, after all these years, right when we're starting our marketing ramp-up they decide they want to compete with us and do so by associating their game with Star Control.  Not just associating but literally calling it the true sequel to Star Control.  

I realize there is going to be an inherent bias for Paul and Fred here.  I can't blame you.  I was the super-fan who bought the IP and I know how I felt about them. But, how can you guys seriously ignore what they've done? Most of you are probably my age or older.  How can you reconcile their actions?  We just wanted to make a new Star Control game.  We even avoided use of the old lore and settings even though, like I said, the lawyers said we could out of respect.  

There are so many ways all of this could have been avoided.  Frankly, and I know their IP attorney will read this, if they had had the attorney they now have, none of this would probably have happened.  Now they have a top-notch IP attorney (this is a good thing).  They got bad legal advice and here we are.  People who should be friends now acting as opponents.



Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 05:21:24 am
Quote
Now, not using the aliens and lore diminishes the value.  If the cost had been a lot higher, it wouldn't be worth it.  But for $300k or so? Yea, that's a no-brainer to have a game that has the brand recognition.  It would cost far more than that to make a new game from scratch and have to explain "it's like Star Control" over and over.  

Do you understand that the biggest damage to your value hasn't been anything that Paul or Fred have said, but words that you (not to mention your company's litigators) have repeated?

I've seen your team try to make the George Lucas analogy. Imagine how quickly the audience would turn on Disney if they said they said George Lucas may not have created any of the characters in Star Wars? If they attacked George Lucas for trying to associate himself with creating Star Wars? (The analogy breaks down if Lucas kept the copyright in the original Star Wars movies and sold the Trademark. Which is why it's a poor legal argument when your team raises it. But the analogy holds much more water when you focus on perception, and not law.)

Your lawyers might tell you that the goodwill is vested in the Trademark, but after a saga of more than two decades, most of the fans weren't here talking about how much they loved Trademark-holder Accolade or Trademark-holder Atari. The goodwill is 90-99% vested with Paul and Fred. That's why nearly any project needs to have their blessing -- which you seemed to say you had from them for a few years, and evidently isn't the case. Having them decline your every offer isn't a "blessing". That's another dangerous overreach you made that has costed you, now that the truth has come out.

I can honestly tell you with the best of my expertise -- you already know the copyrights are vested in Paul and Fred, and there's increasing evidence that the licenses you acquired from Atari expired at least a few years ago, if not longer. I don't honestly know how the Trademark dispute will go. But even if it works in your favor, you don't need the goodwill from the Trademark. You need the goodwill from Paul and Fred, and all the press coverage that comes with it.

Your best course of action is to apologize and ask them what they want.

You currently have a game with all the great things you just described -- and the worst thing that could happen to you is that you don't call it Star Control. That's not so bad. Every penny of your development would still count, assuming you didn't accidentally put any of the original characters or story in there. You paid 300k for brand recognition, and like you said, it would cost a lot more to market it. You probably got at least half of that value just from the announcements alone.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on February 28, 2018, 05:23:06 am
I have read your posts and am not surprised that you hold those views.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 05:36:38 am
I'm trying to be as fair and factual as possible. If they rejected Accolade's Star Control 3, what do you think they'd say about your game if you keep your current legalistic tact?

I'm sure you're trying to calculate right now how much it matters.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on February 28, 2018, 05:39:00 am
I'm trying to be as fair and factual as possible. If they rejected Accolade's Star Control 3, what do you think they'd say about your game if you keep your current legalistic tact?

I'm sure you're trying to calculate right now how much it matters.

At this stage, sadly, it has a value of 0 to us.  And that makes me sad.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 05:41:35 am
Needless to say, it shows that's how little it matters to you.

The community is reacting appropriately.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Kaiser on February 28, 2018, 05:50:59 am
Fred and Paul's PR firm doesn't represent the community with their 3-day-old account.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Hunam_ on February 28, 2018, 05:52:13 am
Needless to say, it shows that's how little it matters to you.

The community is reacting appropriately.

Speak for yourself.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 05:55:34 am
I don't claim to speak for everyone, and I'm not even speaking for myself at this point. I'm pointing out the undeniable damage as a consequence of this dispute. Regardless of how much damage, it's there.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 28, 2018, 06:15:51 am
I'm pointing out the undeniable damage as a consequence of this dispute.

Which Paul & Fred purposefully aired out into the public to their advantage. Or so they think.
Time will tell, but if they lose they're going to regret that decision.

Because remember, Stardock's suit against P&F isn't about the IP, it's about P&F associating themselves and their new game with the Star Control mark.

All the lawyers have to do is ask the jury, "What do you think of when you picture Ghosts of the Precursors?" and if they say "Star Control" P&F have lost.

EDIT:

As an aside.

Could you guys keep this legal shit to one specific thread?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 06:28:35 am
The root word of "publish" is public. What do you think is going to happen when two different parties both try to publish the same games on different stores? It was going to play out in public no matter what. They aren't just arguing about money either, where the lawyers can let events play out and just argue behind the scenes about the dollars. They're arguing about who has the right to proceed with their creative plans. Surprise. Both parties are going to make a lot of conflicting announcements.

(As an aside, that's not how a lawsuit for Trademark infringement works. Or juries, for that matter.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 28, 2018, 06:41:34 am
Quote
They're arguing about who has the right to proceed with their creative plans.

...Ummm, no, they're not.

P&F may think that's what it's about but Stardock were all for Ghosts and were just as excited as everyone else.
That is until P&F started making bitchy blog posts and filing DMCAs.

The dates of the legal filings show as much. The lawyers were completely shackled until P&F started fighting dirty.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 06:43:38 am
You realize the DMCA happened because they saw their copyrighted games being sold without their authorization? That they approached Atari under the same issue, and Atari quickly conceded the issue? By the same token, this might have been avoided, or at least delayed, if Stardock hadn't tried to package and sell an anniversary edition of the old games to help promote their new game.

You're also ignoring the post that Stardock made trying to diminish their role as authors, made before Stardock tried to sell the old games, and conveniently cited over and over now that the legal shit has hit the fan.

Playing "who started it" is stupid when you have a bonafide disagreement about who has the right to do what.





Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on February 28, 2018, 06:49:38 am
And that DMCA triggered a lawyer flood. Which Brad has repeatedly said that if they had talked to him, that he would have taken the games down on their behalf.

Also editing your post to add more things to it after I've responded is a bit of a dick move.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 06:55:49 am
If you stole my car, would it be my lawyers who started it, or the fact that you stole it? Or the fact that you thought you had the right to take it because you thought it was your car? Or the fact that I thought you might think it's your car, so I pre-emptively announce to everyone "hey, that guy might try to say this is his car, but it's really not (https://www.stardock.com/games/article/485810/star-control-ii-25th-anniversary---on-the-shoulders-of-giants)".

Again, it's silly to talk about what "triggered" it. They had conflicting rights, or at least conflicting understandings of those rights. It was bound to go this way.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on February 28, 2018, 11:04:06 am
First of all thanks for stilll hanging out and answering questions.
Despite the legal situation.

Quote
Honest question, no sarcasm. Why do you even want to call it a Star Control game?

The reason is that we wanted to create a very specific game.

How many games these days actually brag about "randomly generated quests"?  How many of you now wince that that sort of thing?

At its core, what does Star Control mean to you? Honestly?  To me, back in Fall of 1992 what it meant to me is that I was playing a game, for the first time ever, where I felt like I was captain of a ship going on adventures with hand crafted stories.
Thank you. Still looking forward to Origins.



[...]  Ask yourselves, how would you even go about it in a world with SC3? How do you undo space cows? It's just so messy.  Only Paul and Fred could clean that up was our thinking at the time.  Let them return someday to their story.   We offered to help them when that day came whether we were involved or not.
I actually liked the idea of space cows. I found that a pretty unique answer to how a pan-galactic empire could disappear without many traces.
While they messed up certain things totally, I also liked others. But they simply closed too many storylines.
SC2 was such a success, because the story had more open ends than endings. Everybody filled it out differently in their minds.
And SC3 simply tried to solve as many mysteries as possible. Which finally ruined it all.
On top of that SC3 had a kind of rubbish gameplay: very often I just sat in my ship waiting for a new found colony to produce the fuel I needed to fly elsewhere.
So I planted a colony in nearly EVERY system I visited.


Quote from: Frogboy
Now, not using the aliens and lore diminishes the value.  If the cost had been a lot higher, it wouldn't be worth it.  But for $300k or so? Yea, that's a no-brainer to have a game that has the brand recognition.  It would cost far more than that to make a new game from scratch and have to explain "it's like Star Control" over and over.
But then, Star Control has acquired a certain expectation of the story line and background. Your'e changing that, thus messing up the goodwill acquired to the trademark Star Control.
But, as I said elsewhere before, the trademark is a catchy name. It's short, and hints directly at quite a diversity of things around Space. Controlling space (which can be done through battle, diplomacy,...), which also imply reconaissance missions. To compare with Star Wars: the name hitns much more towards physical violence, than Star Control does. Star Trek as a brandname goes more towards "trekking", flying hrough space in whatever your mission is, but does not necessarily imply fighting/adventuring. In my mind the more boring elements come to play, like being the captain of a trader ship flying the secure trade routes between the main worlds.
I find the name "Star Control" simply a well chosen one, even if in-game lore the name has no value during the story line of SC2. (Star Control is the military wing of the UNO, during the events while the Ur-Quan are Masters an organisation that has been dissolved by the Ur-Quan.)




Quote from: Frogboy
But then, after a quarter century,  but only a few years after we had started, after we've spent millions of dollars, Paul and Fred, not retired but rather on the eve of our beta release, decide to come out and announce they are making a sequel to Star Control lI?  Not a sequel to Ur-Quan Masters.  Star Control.  After we had offered to transfer it to them at our cost.   Now, after all these years, right when we're starting our marketing ramp-up they decide they want to compete with us and do so by associating their game with Star Control.  Not just associating but literally calling it the true sequel to Star Control.  
I agree, that FF and PR may have been leaning very close to your efforts.
But then, they were the lead designers of SC2.
And as such, I, personally, find the mentioning of the trademark being "fair use".
Now, naming their new game the "direct sequel" is in that context extremely unlucky, and may have overstepped the boundaries.
If a judge decides so, I can accept that. But also if a judge decides that that's still "fair use".

It also depends on which style the game is/was intented to be. (Simple game building on existing engine and intended to go out for basic costs/token price/for free, or actually a full blown modern game with intention to go fully commercial.)
But of this we know nothing of FF and PR's intentions. They may not even know themselves yet.


Quote from: Frogboy
I realize there is going to be an inherent bias for Paul and Fred here.
Yes, I am biased towards FF and PR. Because of the storyline of SC2, and how it affected me back when I was in school.
And I can feel your pain about this whole thing having turned sour.
But honestly? These two games will likely be the first PC-games I will have bought in a very long time. Master of Orion III was the last one I spent money on (as a new game).
One because of what I heard about it so far. And one because it comes from the creators of SC2, who are returning to that story and want to continue telling it.
From the first one I expect a gameplay similar to Star Control. And a story to discover.
From the other I expect a continuation of the story line of SC2, and I fear that nobody will be able to live up to my expectations, not even the original creators. SC3 was a disappointment in that, even if they had some elements I liked very much. (the most annoying element about the space cows I found to be the CUD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V8AY80GIqw). Even technology can't make sentience appear from one moment to the next like that. Otherwise I liked the idea of undevolving, to force evolution to expand the abilities of the race. Unlikely though,t hat through their re-births and falls of their empire their race has not split into several subspecies.)

You realize the DMCA happened because they saw their copyrighted games being sold without their authorization? That they approached Atari under the same issue, and Atari quickly conceded the issue?
Atari even told GoG to send all the royalities to FF and PR (of the unlicensed sales so far). (Mail of 25 April 2011; 3:42 PM)
There never was a haggling by either side of how valuable one part or the other is. They simply split the revenues 50-50. (Meaning 50% of the "50% of net revenue" for each party, 25% for FF/PR and 25% for Atari.) Atari was happy it did not end in front of court, and FF and PR were happy the good old game got sold again. (https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/blog/2018/2/27/report-from-planet-surface)
Money was not the main driver for either side, otherwise I'd have expected quite some haggling over the money split, especially in the case of SC3, where even the IP was mainly with Atari, and yet they still agreed to send 25% towards FF and PR (page 113 of the counterclaim (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4385486-2635-000-P-2018-02-22-17-Counterclaim.html)). For the SC3 game itself in the original distribution, it was only 3,5% (for the game) and 10% (for derivative products, e.g. hintbooks or the like) (page 57 of the counterclaim (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4385486-2635-000-P-2018-02-22-17-Counterclaim.html)). Honestly, I found that so astonishing that I stumbled over it when I read it.
Money may have been a driver in getting the stuff to GoG on Atari's side, but on FF and PR's side, it was defending their own rights. And once Atari saw what they accidentally did, they did nothing which could've caused higher waves. But I think the protection of the trademark b using it may have been a more important issue for Atari at that point than a few dollars each year from GoG.



We're turning circles here.
Let's meet again when the jury has spoken.
(And yes, I will continue discussing here, but I know it'll all not matter. What'll matter is the jury and the judge. Once that is out, new opinions will have to be formed, old opinions reassessed. - I wish all sides good luck, and may the professionalism win against emotion.)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on February 28, 2018, 05:15:08 pm
Thanks, Krulle, for the recap of the Atari/P&F/GoG issue. Atari dealt with that in a way that was respectful. And it seems to make it clear that P&F do have some rights in SC3, even if they largely don't care. Probably because SC3 includes so much copyrighted content from SC1 and SC2.

And this is the thing that gets me. Stardock keeps saying they had no choice but to sue Paul and Fred. But Atari seemed to have a choice. When Paul reached out to say "hey, you're distributing our copyrighted games", Atari had their attorneys read over the old agreements and said "woops, our bad". Easy. Stardock chose a very different approach. It's absolutely their right to sue someone, but it's a choice.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Gildon on February 28, 2018, 07:22:58 pm
Stardock chose a very different approach

Stardock's claim has nothing to do with licensing or distribution, but the trademark; the association of Ghosts of the Precursors as a Star Control game.

I personally think some of the allegations are ridiculous - especially the terminology circus loop going after the title creators - while others make a lot of sense - like saying Ghosts of the Precursors cannot be called a "true sequel to Star Control".

Just to make the point of the title creator, I have never seen a publisher contest that title with any other creator/designer of similar status. Kojima is free to call himself the creator of Metal Gear. Julian Gollop is free to do the same w/r/t X-COM, and in fact does so with Pheonix Point (https://phoenixpoint.info/).

So demonstrably it should be perfectly fine for Fred & Paul to advertise their new game as being from the creators of Star Control, but (assuming Stardock indeed owns the Star Control trademark) they can't market it as a Star Control game.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on February 28, 2018, 11:19:26 pm
Quote
Honest question, no sarcasm. Why do you even want to call it a Star Control game?



There are so many ways all of this could have been avoided.  Frankly, and I know their IP attorney will read this, if they had had the attorney they now have, none of this would probably have happened.  Now they have a top-notch IP attorney (this is a good thing).  They got bad legal advice and here we are.  People who should be friends now acting as opponents.



Frogboy id be surprised if you remembered me. I was one of the first pains in your ass years ago on your forum. (same name im using here) I was one of the people who HATED the idea of an alternate reality, or a  prequel. I desperately wanted a sequel. ( I was the one who thought if you went far enough into the FUTURE you could make a story that referenced the lore without actually effecting it, and  you wouldn't need an alternate universe. Similar to the old Fantasy Star sequels )

In any rate I want to keep my comment simple..... I WANT MY SEQUEL.  In all honesty I dont care if its from you or them. If this lawsuit concludes with Fred and Paul unwilling or unable to make a true sequel YOU BETTER MAKE ONE!!!!!!


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on March 01, 2018, 12:11:31 am
I was under the impression that project 6014 was an attempt at a sequel?


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Elestan on March 01, 2018, 12:28:25 am
I was under the impression that project 6014 was an attempt at a sequel?

True, but that was a purely fan-created project, so it couldn't really be counted as a canonical sequel.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on March 01, 2018, 01:01:49 am
Stardock's claim has nothing to do with licensing or distribution, but the trademark; the association of Ghosts of the Precursors as a Star Control game.

I personally think some of the allegations are ridiculous

Correct. Stardock sued P&F for Trademark violation, for announcing that the original creators of Star Control (TM) were creating a sequel to Star Control (TM).

As for the licenses and distribution, they had an exchange with Atari over the exact same issue, with the exact same contracts. And it worked out on much more friendly terms. But Stardock not only approached it differently. They also bring up the takedown request in their Q+A for no apparent reason except to  say "... but they started it!"

BTW, those other ridiculous allegations in their claim that have nothing to do with the Trademark? Those are about the licensing and distribution of the original games.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on March 01, 2018, 01:24:56 am
Stardock's claim has nothing to do with licensing or distribution, but the trademark; the association of Ghosts of the Precursors as a Star Control game.

I personally think some of the allegations are ridiculous

Correct. Stardock sued P&F for Trademark violation, for announcing that the original creators of Star Control (TM) were creating a sequel to Star Control (TM).

As for the licenses and distribution, they had an exchange with Atari over the exact same issue, with the exact same contracts. And it worked out on much more friendly terms. But Stardock not only approached it differently. They also bring up the takedown request in their Q+A for no apparent reason except to  say "... but they started it!"

BTW, those other ridiculous allegations in their claim that have nothing to do with the Trademark? Those are about the licensing and distribution of the original games.

That is not a very accurate representation.  I invite Paul or Fred to explain their side here as I am.

They announced Ghosts of the Precursors as a direct sequel to Star Control. They also said at times it was the "true" sequel to Star Control.  Simultaneously, they began demanding that the DOS games be pulled from distribution.   If they had agreed to stop representing their game as the sequel to Star Control we would have agreed to pull down the DOS games.  They refused and instead began to make blog posts attacking Stardock.

When they filed a DMCA take-downs against Star Control 3, a title that Stardock literally holds the copyright for we realized that this had to be resolved via litigation.

If you read their countersuit, they make various claims about Star Control: Origins.  Thus, I have no doubt that there would be people here justifying a DMCA take down notice of Star Control: Origins based on whatever claim, regardless of the merits, even if that resulted in the game's failure and loss of jobs at Stardock.   It makes more sense for this issue to be litigated before Star Control: Origins ships than to leave it in the air.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on March 01, 2018, 02:29:44 am
I was under the impression that project 6014 was an attempt at a sequel?

Ok Frogboy. I am going to try keep this civil, BUT thats the same passive aggressive crap you used to do that got me upset before.  You know damn well that project6014 was a very limited fan fiction mod that was never going to truly be the seqeul fans want. Kudos to them for putting in the hard work to try to pull that off with very limited resources. Bringing that up now and using the word "ATTEMPT" is demeaning and insulting to them, not to mention the good people here in this forum.

I made my comment about YOU making a sequel if Paul and Fred were unwilling or unable, somewhat in jest. I didn't expect you would or could comment considering the circumstances. Its not like you can say "SURE We will make a sequel if they cant" SO don't comment at all.

Bottom line is fans have always wanted a sequel. Even if there was interest in your alternate universe, fans were never going to stop wanting a true sequel. NOW (regardless of who is right or wrong) this legal squabble might rob them of what they have wanted for decades. The responsibility is on YOUR shoulders to make sure one way or the other fans get their sequel. That responsibilty became  yours the day Stardock bought the trademark. Seeing as  you claim to be a fan, I hope you keep what the fans want in mind as this thing drags on


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on March 01, 2018, 02:57:45 am
Bringing that up now and using the word "ATTEMPT" is demeaning and insulting to them, not to mention the good people here in this forum.

Eh... But it was an attempt. A very decent attempt. A lot of good things came out of their attempt to create a sequel to UQM.
It was only like 3 or 4 people behind it so it was a massively impressive attempt.

Specifically it can be defined as an attempt because they abandoned it mid-development.
Technically the same can be said of the HD-mod, a lot of it was left unfinished with ridiculous placeholder art and unfinished code.

The word, "attempt" only holds a negative connotation if you think it does.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on March 01, 2018, 05:05:33 am
The reason  I think it was passive aggressive is because he knew that project wasnít from a developer. He knew it was abandoned a while ago. Referencing it now in reply to my comment expressing the fans passion for a real sequel felt like he was referencing the fans failure. . Almost as if to say we need him. BUT Iíll admit thatís just my opinion on a very small comment. One that is derived from years of seeing Frogboy argue with fans in forums.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on March 01, 2018, 09:19:36 am
Regarding the use of the word "attempt":
I find Star Control 3 also only being an attempt at continueing the story of Star Control 2.

Heck, even successful attempts are that. An attempt. Professionals or volunteers alike. If they try to do something, it is an attempt.

Quote from: Cambridge_Dictionary
    to try to do something, especially something difficult:
[ + to infinitive ] He attempted to escape through a window.
He attempted a joke, but no one laughed.
There's no point in even attempting an explanation - he'll never listen.
[source (http://url=https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/attempt)] *



It makes more sense for this issue to be litigated before Star Control: Origins ships than to leave it in the air.
If there's no way around litigation, you're right.

Still hoping there are friendly way out.
Through the split of IP and Trademark you'll have to continue working with each other to a certain degree.
And it would be good if that can happen without lawyers involved at every step sometime in the future.



*Is there a way to link to external sites in the quote? phpBB has it, but SMF works differently, and their help did not help me....


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Zanthius on March 01, 2018, 10:40:06 am
I find Star Control 3 also only being an attempt at continueing the story of Star Control 2.

There are so many integrated stories in SC2:

Where are the Rainbow Worlds? Where did the Precursors go?
What is the Ultron? How can you fix the Ultron?
What happened to the Syreen homeworld?
How can you get the Sun Device?
How can you free the Chmmr?
Where is the Arilou hiding?
Where did the Androsynth go?
Where did the Orz come from?
Where can you find the Taalo shield?
How can you get a Dnyarri?
Where is the Vux beast?
How can you start the Yehat rebellion?

It doesn't matter what you do first, but you need to complete most of these pathways before you can complete the game. This is what makes SC2 so rich. There are so many integrated stories.

Any worthy sequel would need to have an equal amount of integrated stories, or richness.  And it wouldn't be fair to just continue on the stories from SC2. You would need to come up with completely new and original stories. That is more or less what Paul Reiche III did when he invented SC2.

Also, that you get payed for the location of Rainbow Worlds, and that their locations form a pattern on the map. That is really deep mind-boggling stuff.  Makes me think of the proposed bible code:

Quote
The Bible code (Hebrew: הצופן התנ"כי‎, hatzofen hatanachi), also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Hebrew text of the Torah. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to reveal an otherwise obscured message. Although Bible codes have been postulated and studied for centuries, the subject has been popularized in modern times by Michael Drosnin's book The Bible Code and the movie The Omega Code.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code)


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on March 01, 2018, 01:46:32 pm
The reason  I think it was passive aggressive is because he knew that project wasnít from a developer. He knew it was abandoned a while ago. Referencing it now in reply to my comment expressing the fans passion for a real sequel felt like he was referencing the fans failure. . Almost as if to say we need him. BUT Iíll admit thatís just my opinion on a very small comment. One that is derived from years of seeing Frogboy argue with fans in forums.

You are assuming way too much.  I know of the project but I have not followed it. 


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on March 01, 2018, 04:07:17 pm
The reason  I think it was passive aggressive is because he knew that project wasnít from a developer. He knew it was abandoned a while ago. Referencing it now in reply to my comment expressing the fans passion for a real sequel felt like he was referencing the fans failure. . Almost as if to say we need him. BUT Iíll admit thatís just my opinion on a very small comment. One that is derived from years of seeing Frogboy argue with fans in forums.

Not everyone is familiar with Project 6014, after all it was an incomplete fan project from 2011 with its last beta release in 2012.

Honestly I'm surprised he even heard of it all things considered. It's been effectively dead for 5 years.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on March 01, 2018, 05:43:31 pm
The reason  I think it was passive aggressive is because he knew that project wasnít from a developer. He knew it was abandoned a while ago. Referencing it now in reply to my comment expressing the fans passion for a real sequel felt like he was referencing the fans failure. . Almost as if to say we need him. BUT Iíll admit thatís just my opinion on a very small comment. One that is derived from years of seeing Frogboy argue with fans in forums.

Not everyone is familiar with Project 6014, after all it was an incomplete fan project from 2011 with its last beta release in 2012.

Honestly I'm surprised he even heard of it all things considered. It's been effectively dead for 5 years.

Than why on earth would he think that a 5 year dead project would satisfy my "fans want a sequel" comment. If the only response is gonna be about a fan developed project that died 5 years  ago as being the true sequel people wanted, than just don't bother commenting at all. Its not like I was saying anything controversial that required a reply. Before all this legal stuff it was believed that Stardock wasnt creating a true sequel because Fred and Paul might. If this legal dispute ends with Paul and Fred unable to legally create a true sequel, than I hope Stardock would, because if they dont the fans will lose out on something we have waited for since that damn kid asked about the Mark  II


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on March 01, 2018, 05:48:52 pm
If Stardock really wants to make me happy they will buy the rights to Xenosaga and finish that story too. LOL


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on March 01, 2018, 06:18:49 pm
The reason  I think it was passive aggressive is because he knew that project wasnít from a developer. He knew it was abandoned a while ago. Referencing it now in reply to my comment expressing the fans passion for a real sequel felt like he was referencing the fans failure. . Almost as if to say we need him. BUT Iíll admit thatís just my opinion on a very small comment. One that is derived from years of seeing Frogboy argue with fans in forums.

Not everyone is familiar with Project 6014, after all it was an incomplete fan project from 2011 with its last beta release in 2012.

Honestly I'm surprised he even heard of it all things considered. It's been effectively dead for 5 years.

Than why on earth would he think that a 5 year dead project would satisfy my "fans want a sequel" comment. If the only response is gonna be about a fan developed project that died 5 years  ago as being the true sequel people wanted, than just don't bother commenting at all. Its not like I was saying anything controversial that required a reply. Before all this legal stuff it was believed that Stardock wasnt creating a true sequel because Fred and Paul might. If this legal dispute ends with Paul and Fred unable to legally create a true sequel, than I hope Stardock would, because if they dont the fans will lose out on something we have waited for since that damn kid asked about the Mark  II

I don't know of his intentions of mentioning it. He probably didn't even know it was dead.
You could always not immediately jump to the negative whenever he answers.

Benefit of the doubt and whatnot. Sounds like you didn't even know it was dead until I mentioned it.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: bum783 on March 01, 2018, 06:45:43 pm

You could always not immediately jump to the negative whenever he answers.


The level of irritation with this entire thing is making it tough to be logical. I was mildly excited when Origins was announced. It wasnt the true sequel I wanted BUT it was something and maybe it was a step towards it. Than Ghosts was announced, and suddenly there was all this excitement and hype. Not more than 2 months ago there was TWO Star Control games on the horizon, NOW fans are left wondering if there will be any future at all.

Frogboy takes the brunt of the anger because he puts himself out there. I know that engaging with fans can be a good thing, but he has had a knack for rubbing some people the wrong way, myself included.  I hope when this is all over Paul and Fred can make the game they want, ORRRRR that Stardock will make a sequel if Paul and Fred are unable or unwilling too.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Serosis on March 01, 2018, 08:47:18 pm
The thing about it is that these proceedings will have zero impact on Origins or Ghosts.
Nothing can stop P&F from making Ghosts if they actually want to.

They just need to work out the trademark stuff out before-hand if they want to promote it as "Star Control".
Or they could take a hit to their pride and call it a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters.

It's totally up to them. Stardock in no way, as far as I have seen, wants to stop P&F from making Ghosts.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Krulle on March 01, 2018, 09:25:57 pm
It already seems as if they're marketing it as continuation of The Ur-Quan Masters.
From the creators of Star Control 2.


This way, the Trademark is mentioned.
But it is factual, hence a fair use of the trademark, IMHO.

They seem to have switched over, hence the changes in their original blog posts.

If they wish to remain daring, a judge may even decide, that
"Continueing the story directly from Star Control 2."
could be factual and fair use as well. But that'll be again leaning very close to the allegations brought forward by Stardock , so this would again be pushing it.
But even then, the UQM fans here would not mind an additional line explicitly stating, that this game has no further affiliation to the trademark "Star Control" and the trademarkowner "Stardock", nor to the upcoming Star Control (TM) game Origins.

Would be quite a lot of information to keep together, and I fear that not all games-sites would leave the disclaimers in their publication.

And I must say, I am impressed by Frogboy's will to keep facing us here.
And I wish to thank him once again for doing so.


And we have Fwiffo's ( Fred and/or Paul in the IRC chats) promise (http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Mysteries_left_by_Star_Control_II#Why_did_the_Melnorme.27s_bridge_turn_purple.3F) that the new game will explain why the bridge turned purple, IF we're willing to spend the credits for that....


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: rosepatel on March 01, 2018, 09:56:17 pm
The thing about it is that these proceedings will have zero impact on Origins or Ghosts.

I mean, it already has had an impact on Origins. It won't feature any stories or characters from the original game. Initially Stardock said this was out of respect, but looking at the times that Paul and Fred refused to license that stuff to them, and the lawsuit, Stardock will likely never be able to make a game that features anything from the original games. (To be fair, they do own the derivative copyrights in Star Control 3, so maybe you'll see the Vyro-Ingo if you remember them.)


Quote
Nothing can stop P&F from making Ghosts if they actually want to.

They just need to work out the trademark stuff out before-hand if they want to promote it as "Star Control".
Or they could take a hit to their pride and call it a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters.

Agreed. Ghosts of the Precursors will come out one way or another, under some name. If they can prove the Trademark expired, maybe it will be Star Control. If not, Stardock will own the name.

But one important note to add -- it might not even be called a sequel to the Ur-Quan Masters.

Because Stardock is trying to claim the name "The Ur-Quan Masters".





Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Elestan on March 01, 2018, 10:14:42 pm
The thing about it is that these proceedings will have zero impact on Origins or Ghosts.
Nothing can stop P&F from making Ghosts if they actually want to.

Well, there's some potential danger if Stardock were to prevail in getting "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark.

Note that their Q&A  (https://forums.starcontrol.com/487690/page/1)page has added the following:

Quote
Q: Why did Stardock trademark Ur-Quan Masters?  

A:  Our actions continue to be in the interest of protecting Star Control and our ability to create and share more Star Control assets to the community in the future (including releasing the source code of Star Control III, which we own, as well as future Star Control Origins and content) without fear that Paul and Fred would claim that we are creating "confusion" by doing so.   As background:  Stardock always had the common law trademark to Ur-Quan Masters. It's the sub-title to Star Control II after all and was, by Paul and Fred's admission, available in commerce on GOG even before Stardock was involved.

Of all the issues in this case, I think this has the greatest chance of making it blow up and get really messy, if Stardock tries to push it.  First, I'll note that this trademark has not yet been granted.  Stardock's application (https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87720654&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch) was rejected due to errors in the form, and Paul R. has filed a competing registration (https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87772787&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch) for the same mark.

Moreover, I think Stardock's claim to "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS" has a lot of potential vulnerabilities.  To name just a few:

  • Trademarks require continued use in commerce.  Even if "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS" had been fully registered when SC2 came out, there's a strong argument that it would have lapsed in the early 2000s.  That certainly also applies to whatever common law trademark they might claim.
  • The argument that Atari's GoG sales qualify is going to run into the problem that Atari acknowledged that it didn't have the right to put them up on GoG in the first place due to the expiry of its license with Paul.
  • Trademarks can't allow anyone to contest their use, but the open-source project has been using this name since 2002, without being contested.  The first hit for the phrase in any web search in the last decade would take you to the open-source project, not anything controlled by Atari or Stardock.
  • Trademarks can't be speculatively registered.  If Stardock wants to register "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS", it's going to have to show that it actually plans to use that phrase to market a game that it sells or is planning to sell.  This means that it needs to either put the Ur-Quan in SC:Origins, or win a rights battle with Paul over SC2.
  • Unlike "Star Control", a name with "Ur-Quan" in it is using material that Paul R. can make a copyright claim against.
  • Common law trademarks are usually designated with (TM), but this was never done for this phrase.

But even if the claim is weak, it could get tied up in court for a long time, with the potential to injunct the release of any new properties that mention "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS".

So, my worry here is that Stardock is trying to assert that they not only own the "Star Control" trademark, but that they also still have the right to use the SC2 characters and universe.  And I understand why they would want to be able to do that; if they can't use the SC2 universe, the value of the "Star Control" trademark is greatly reduced.  But to pull that off, their lawyer is going to need to find a way around Paul's contract language, and that could drag into an Eternal Conflict.

I hope that this registration is just legal maneuvering for position/leverage on Stardock's part.  I think it would be a dumb move for them to push it, because it'll clearly make them into the bad guy, they'll have a weak hand, and it's a fight that Paul R. could not step back from.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on March 01, 2018, 10:51:21 pm

And I must say, I am impressed by Frogboy's will to keep facing us here.
And I wish to thank him once again for doing so.


Thanks.  I appreciate that.

I too want to see the Ur-Quan story continued.   Despite some of the depressingly cynical interpretations I've read, the principle reason Stardock didn't use the characters from SC2 was because Paul said he hoped to someday return and continue this story and we didn't want to muddy that. 

Obviously, the situation has changed and will continue to change.  All we can hope is that some sort of mutual understanding is reached that satisfies everyone.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Mormont on March 03, 2018, 06:01:54 pm
I would like to apologize to people here, including Frogboy, if some of my past posts were overly aggressive. I generally try to avoid picking fights with people online, but I probably got carried away in the past couple weeks.

If I post on the legal conflict in the future, I will do it with less hostility and be less confrontational.


Title: Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming!
Post by: Frogboy on March 03, 2018, 07:15:38 pm
I would like to apologize to people here, including Frogboy, if some of my past posts were overly aggressive. I generally try to avoid picking fights with people online, but I probably got carried away in the past couple weeks.

If I post on the legal conflict in the future, I will do it with less hostility and be less confrontational.

No apology needed.  I am the last person to take offense. 

My own writing tends to come across as very abrasive. It is something I continually work on (with limited success).