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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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16  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 13, 2019, 05:28:25 am
Didn't Wardell claim to have the SC1 source at one point? Or was that made up?

According to Serosis, the disc Brad was talking about turned out to be the production master, not the source code.

EDIT: Per followup, that disk was for SC3 (but still wasn't source).

Thinking about it, I believe the rumor I heard was that the SC1 source was lost when Fred's hard drive crashed.  Take that for whatever you think it's worth.
17  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 13, 2019, 03:48:06 am
I don't know, can you?

Preemptively open source the code in case that it's ever found?

Maybe?  The trick would be specifying exactly what you were open-sourcing, when you don't have a copy.
18  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 12, 2019, 08:39:19 am
As for the trademarks, what is there for Stardock to license to F&P? F&P already have the UQM and Frungy trademarks, and Stardock has dropped all trademark applications for the classic alien names. The Star Control and UQM franchises are now officially confirmed to go their separate ways.

Brad had, at times, argued the position that anything that could cause consumer confusion - such as sharing a universe with the prior Star Control games - required licensing the Star Control trademark.  That seemed too expansive an interpretation to me, and I doubted it would hold up if tested, but it would be nice to see it properly buried.
19  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 12, 2019, 02:17:32 am
P&F have posted a summary of the settlement terms

Key highlights include:

* Stardock will create new games in the Star Control franchise.  
* Paul & Fred will create new games in the Ur-Quan Masters franchise.  
* To help differentiate the two franchises Paul volunteered to create a few new alien races for Origins.
* Brad offered to help Fred and Paul with technology.
* Both sides recognize each other’s copyrights and will not challenge them in the future.
* Stardock is dropping all trademark registration of the alien names and won't use the described aliens without permission from Paul & Fred.
* Star Control, Star Control II, and Star Control III will be coming back for sale by Stardock so that fans of all ages can enjoy the classic games in their original form.  Paul and Fred will split royalties equally with Stardock.
* Both sides will support the current UQM team and project.
* Stardock accepts that Paul & Fred are the creators of Star Control and Star Control II.
* Paul and Fred will be changing the name "Ghosts of the Precursors" to something "a little less generic".
* A significant exchange of honey and mead.

All in all, this looks pretty good.  Technically, the UQM core team could have a stronger claim to the UQM trademark than P&F have, but Serge indicated a while ago that he was willing to subordinate his claim to Paul's, and I think we can trust Paul not to get litigious with it.  :-)  Between that and the race trademarks being dropped, UQM and its clones should be safe from attack.  P&F's universe is exclusively theirs, and renaming GotP at this point is a fairly minor concession.

One thing not mentioned is the status of the1988 agreement; it would be good to know if Stardock conceded that it was terminated.  It would also be nice to confirm that there wasn't any licensing of Stardock's trademarks.  It doesn't sound like there was, but any such licensing by P&F could set a precedent that could impact UQM.

"Brad offered to help F&P with technology" is an interesting item.  That Brad would like to see the original aliens brought to the SC:O engine is no surprise (he's wanted that from the beginning), but I have to wonder if P&F want to risk mingling their IP with Stardock's.  Their newfound rapport is great, but it might be tempting fate.

In any case, congratulations to the parties for finally settling the dispute; hopefully we'll start seeing and talking a lot more about games, and a lot less about lawsuits.  I suppose I may have to demonstrate that I'm still capable of talking about the latter.

When all is said and done, Stardock appears to be coming out of the litigation with a few custom races from Paul and some mead.  I suspect this will go down as some of the most expensive mead in the history of the computer game industry.

EDIT: Two other clauses are mentioned in the ArsTechnica article:
* "there are a few caveats around the Arilou" - It sounds like Paul agreed to let Brad have the Arilou in SC:O.
* "The agreement also includes some stipulation that Ford & Reiche go into a quiet period for a while"

I'm not thrilled by these - especially the idea that P&F might not be able to speak freely.  But if it only pertains to announcements about their game, and is for a limited time, I'm not overly concerned.
20  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 11, 2019, 03:14:18 am
I think that the response given by R/F when approached by Stardock about SCO was very similar to the response given by R/F when they were approached by Accolade about SC4. "No" was meant to be their initial position, not their final answer; R/F were willing to let Stardock use their materials, for the right price.

I am skeptical of this.  Paul's emails to Brad (ca. Sep. 2013) do not suggest to me that he is inviting an offer; they seem like flat refusals, full-stop:

Quote from: PaulReiche
Fred and I are just not comfortable handing over our world to be developed by others.  We’ve been discussing this for almost 20 years and we’ve always regarded a return to Star Control as our dream project – something we’d work on as soon as we found the opportunity.  I know this will be a disappointment for you and your team, but Fred and I still have a Star Control plan and we’re not ready to give it up yet.

It's worth noting that at the time the SC4 contract was signed, the sales term of the original (exclusive) 1988 contract was still active (per P&F's countercomplaint, the royalties did not drop below the $1000 trigger point until years later).  Consequently, Accolade had a much stronger negotiating position than Atari would a decade or more later, after that agreement had expired.
21  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Settlement Reached! on: June 08, 2019, 04:57:22 am
Accordingly, and pursuant to a stipulation by all six parties, the Court has dismissed the case with prejudice. From my perspective, this sequence of events ends here.

I take it there's no other information on the docket about what the settlement terms were?

Yep.  I'll admit that there's a part of me that will be a bit disappointed if we never see a Judge rule on some of the topics we've discussed here over the last couple of years...it would be nice to see where we got it right and wrong.  But I'd rather see P&F get back to making GotP.
Do you really believe that all of the parties would have accepted the judge's rulings as final?

Even if they hadn't, seeing the Judge's ruling would have provided a lot of interesting insight to the armchair lawyer crowd.
22  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Settlement Reached! on: June 08, 2019, 02:51:34 am
A document filed at the Trademark Appeals Board today indicates that the parties have reached a settlement.  Terms are not yet known, other than that P&F are no longer opposing the "Star Control" mark.
23  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 04, 2019, 04:20:39 pm
Ugh, I kind of expected that to happen. I wonder what makes the parties want to stall things like that.

There are lots of little details to figure out in a settlement, and everyone is posturing and haggling to try to get as much as they can, so it's not really an environment conducive to efficient problem-solving.

Quote
Also, if Stardock does file its 4th amended complaint, wouldn't that mean that the settlement negotiations have failed, at least for the time being?
Although, that may be exactly the reason for extending the deadline. If the settlement talks succeed, there would be no need to file an amended complaint.

Asked and answered.

Quote
Or, as the stipulation suggests, the parties actually need to file their amended pleadings before settlement negotiations can continue.

No, they can keep asking the Judge to extend the deadlines.

Quote
Oh well, if they are going to settle after all, then a few more days of waiting would be more than worth it. After all, we all want things to be done right. And the settlement talks having been resumed and apparently being quite successful is the best news we've had in a long while.

Yep.  I'll admit that there's a part of me that will be a bit disappointed if we never see a Judge rule on some of the topics we've discussed here over the last couple of years...it would be nice to see where we got it right and wrong.  But I'd rather see P&F get back to making GotP.
24  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: May 31, 2019, 08:00:50 am
Personally, I would not be surprised if this pending deadline was part of the impetus for this round of settlement talks. Federal jurists love awarding pyrrhic victories - they're harder to appeal - and by dismissing counts 12 and 13 without prejudice, the Court may have actually made more trouble for Stardock. Per the Court's instructions, in order to move forward, Stardock would have to rewrite those allegations to focus on R/F's tortious disruption of Stardock's contractual relationships with a specific, limited group of customers who pre-ordered SCO and whose identities can be readily ascertained. But, after the embarrassing "backlash" quotes from Frogboy's affidavit, it should be clear to NP that Stardock's collected "exhibits" are worthless. NP would be hard-pressed to draft a Fourth Amended Complaint which doesn't have evidentiary problems (assuming Stardock does not want jurors to hear from disgruntled ex-Founders) and open up Stardock to damaging, albeit limited discovery (why was Stardock issuing refunds, anyway?).

I'm also wondering if one of the parties might be motivated to abort Discovery in order to avoid having to turn over documents that contain things they don't want to risk being made public.
25  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: May 29, 2019, 06:42:12 am
I'm not sure that the Stipulation would enlarge the time Stardock has to file its Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint. Each party's discovery materials - the responses to other parties' interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production - are owed to the other parties. Stardock's pleading is due to the Court.

They just asked for (and received) the same extension to Stardock's 4th AC deadline, as well as GOG's pleading response.  Looks like we'll have some news by June 3rd, one way or another.
26  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: April 08, 2019, 05:27:59 pm
Is there a thread dedicated to playing this game?

Discussions regarding Stardock's ‘Star Control: Origins’, which is related to Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters only by name, belong in the off-topic section of this forum, the Starbase Café. I will allow discussions regarding the lawsuit in ‘General UQM Discussion’, as it directly involves the future of the UQM universe, and it is now threatening the Ur-Quan Masters Community.

SC:O is not well-regarded here, for reasons explained in the first post of this thread.
27  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: February 04, 2019, 06:12:13 pm
I think that when Brad talks about "ideas", he doesn't mean expressions as they are defined by copyright law. Rather, he seems to mean more generic things such as tropes, styles and genres, screen layouts, etc. Of course, that's where Brad accuses F&P of trying to claim a copyright on generic ideas, and unfortunately F&P's chart in the Injunction Junction post can be easily (mis)understood as doing that.

This is a good example of why I find ethical fault with Brad's statements:  He knows that P&F aren't actually trying to claim that they own "ideas", like the color red, or the concept of hyperspace, but he persists in misrepresenting their position that way because it makes a good sound bite, and misleads those who do not spend the time to read P&F's post in depth.  I find taking advantage of people's legal naivete that way offensive.
28  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: February 03, 2019, 10:39:10 pm
So, I was posting a bit in the Stardock forums (hello to Stardock lurkers who read this) and some users there had this to say about why the 1988 Agreement is still in effect...

Seldon seems like a reasonable person, and they're doing the work of supplying linked references, which I appreciate, but they're quoting Stardock's FAQ as though it were gospel, when it is, of course, at least as one-sided as P&F's blog.  For one thing, I don't think we can take Stardock's word about what P&F wanted during settlement negotiations without evidence, just as we were hesitant to take P&F's word about what Stardock was demanding until they showed the settlement proposals.  

Regarding settlement advances, I don't think Stardock has ever said so directly, but I suspect that they are relying on §5.1 of Addendum 3, in which Accolade agreed to advance $20,000 in royalties to Paul, in $10k/5k/5k installments.  However, that section specified that these were advances against royalties payable under §5.2 of Addendum 3, and §4.1 terminated that Addendum three years after signing because Accolade never released a game under it.  Once that Addendum expired in 2001, I doubt that those advances could be applied to the $1000/year required under §2.2 of the original agreement.

Plus, we have Atari's emails indicating that it agreed that the agreement had terminated, and as Krulle indicated, §7.1 of the original agreement would have terminated it upon Atari's bankruptcy.

Ah, I see Brad eventually falls into his usual pattern of resorting to personal insults.  Keep a thick skin, don't take his bait, and let us know if this becomes another example of him banning people for politely disputing the Stardock position.
29  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: February 01, 2019, 05:03:32 pm
Good find, and it sounds like Mr. Wardell, but has been posted by a "deleted user".

I'll vouch for its authenticity.  "Deleted User" is Brad's old Frogboy account, which got deleted by Discord after he used it to make doxing threats.
30  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Interstellar Frungy™ League on: February 01, 2019, 05:00:41 pm
While all the trademark applications are almost certainly going to end up suspended until the main lawsuit is over, Stardock have finally filed an exhibit (Exhibit A) showing their "use" of the Frungy "Mark" in their opposition.  Which is a not an example of use in commerce, shows no connection to Star Control or Stardock unless you already know what the product is, and is probably copyright infringement.

The video the exhibit was cropped from wasn't too hard to find - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq-HuIYIrds . Go back to part 1 of the let's play series and it's clearly The Ur-Quan Masters and not Star Control II™ at all...

To trade away one's integrity in an act of pure laziness? To oppose a trademark application out of spite?

Just to expand on that linked message:

And they still can either via a royalty free, no charge license if they to develop it independently from us.  Or they can do it with us using the Star Control: Origins engine.

They could create a new studio.  Call it Frungy Games or something.

I'll note that we've seen Stardock's idea of a "royalty free, no charge license", and it was essentially a deceptive trap.  I'll also note that at the time Brad wrote that, he was certainly already aware of P&F's application for the "Frungy Games" trademark, which had been filed several months prior.

Quote from: Ariloulawleelay
When the application may well be suspended anyway? To misrepresent a seven year old exhibit that, facially, does not demonstrate a use in commerce?  If true, this allegation would be very ... disappointing.

The one thing I wonder about that video is that while it is certainly not a valid example of the use of "Frungy" in commerce, it is labeled as a playthrough of Star Control 2, which might play into claims of consumer confusion in some way?

Quote
Coupled with what seems to me a short-sighted decision to represent Valve and (briefly) GOG, this may seriously erode the presumption of competence I previously afforded NP.

Just wondering:  Why do you feel it was short-sighted?  Since Stardock is indemnifying them, their interests are aligned to at least some degree.
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