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News: Paul Reiche and Fred Ford want to continue the story they started when they created Star Control II — The Ur-Quan Masters. «Happy days and jubilation!» «But wait!» «There is something wrong here... something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.» «Please, Captain, we need your help!»

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 02, 2019, 05:55:43 pm
According to Brad, both Valve and GOG have a policy that they automatically comply with all DMCA takedown notices regardless of their merits, which is presumably why both stores have taken the game down, even though both Valve and GOG know very well about this legal dispute, and Valve has already taken Stardock's side in the lawsuit. I, for one, thought that it was pointless for F&P to issue a DMCA against SCO for this very reason.

This policy from Valve and GOG makes sense. As I understand the DMCA takedown process, an online service provider can avoid liability for copyright infringement itself if it complies with a takedown notice. When a work is taken down following a takedown notice, the party accused of infringement can send a DMCA counter notice, and the online service provider can then restore the work without liability to itself.

So the next step for Stardock, if they really were acting in good faith, would be to send a counter notice to Steam and GOG to have SC:O reinstated.
However, the counter notice must include a statement sworn under penalty of perjury that Stardock has a good-faith belief that the material was removed as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material. Falsely making such a statement would make Stardock criminally liable.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act for more info.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Star Control: Origins OST is up on Spotify on: September 30, 2018, 12:34:02 am
Quote from: meep-eep
If I'm not mistaken, the 'only' contribution of Riku to the original SC2 was the HyperSpace music.

Hm! I stand corrected.
No, I stand corrected. You were right. Riku created more music for SC2, as PRH detailed.
See the Ultronomicon.

3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Star Control Origins, game mechanics (Spoilers!!!) on: September 28, 2018, 12:27:09 am
While it would have been nice to have an in-game logical explanation for such things as the RU logistics, this does not actually concern me much because of the Rule of Fun. If an unrealistic mechanism makes the game more fun to play, then I want the unrealistic mechanism.

And apparently, Paul and Fred were also also aware of this principe when they created SC2. Here are a few places where realism gave way for fun. (There are probably many more.)
  • ships the size of planets (particularly in SuperMelee)
  • ships bouncing off of planets in SuperMelee
  • crew loss when a ship takes damage
  • a maximum speed of ships (non-relativistic)
  • resources are interchangeable (e.g. you can bring back a load of radioactives and antimatter and make a crew pod out of it)
  • the captain is allowed to decide everything he does on his own, even building alliances and putting the future of the Earth on the line

I usually consider such things as to be representative of what goes on in the game universe, not as what literally happened.

I have been watching the Youtube video's from Marbozir playing SC:O, and I could spend quite some time discussing what SC:O lacks compared to SC2 (and also what it does right). But I don't hold things like magically teleported resources against it.

4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Star Control: Origins OST is up on Spotify on: September 27, 2018, 10:59:35 pm
Roughly half of these songs are composed by Riku Nuottajarvi, who did much of the music for The Ur-Quan Masters decades ago, and he's apparently in great form today.
If I'm not mistaken, the 'only' contribution of Riku to the original SC2 was the HyperSpace music. I put 'only' between quotes, because it is an awesome track, which more than any of SC2's songs helped shape the atmosphere of the game. (He also won TFB's music contest with it.)

He was however also involved with the remixing effort. His Ilwrath remix stand out for me.


2018-09-30 edit: I was wrong. See below.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: September 23, 2018, 11:36:13 pm
I think that was the end of the chain, correct? We’ve not threatened or interfered with this or any other fan community nor do we plan to.
This was the end of the chain.

This exchange, as you know, was two months ago.  I received your response and forwarded it on to BizDev and that was the end of it.
Almost. Unless the screenshots where you were shown having posted part of this exchange on your own private channel, with the 'eliminating the vile little community' remark, were fake.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: September 23, 2018, 10:57:43 pm
Ok, here is the full email conversation, unmodified except for the removal of email addresses, response history present in emails, and email signatures.

The attachments are shown with the email to which they belong, but for convenience, I will link them here as well:

Quote
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2018 16:16:37 +0200 (CEST)
From: Serge van den Boom
To: Henry Pailing
Subject: Contact information


Hello Henry,

I understand that you've been trying to contact me. I'm not on Steam or
Discord, but feel free to send me an email.
As you can see in the 'sender' header, my email address is
[REMOVED].


Regards,

Serge van den Boom
(Meep-Eep on the UQM forums)

Quote
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2018 19:03:36 +0000
From: Henry Pailing
To: Serge van den Boom
Subject: Re: UQM Project

Hello,


I am the lead community manager here at Stardock. I'm contacting you to have a chat about the UQM project and Stardock's relationship with the project.
As you are probably aware, we have been developing a new Star Control<https://store.steampowered.com/app/271260/Star_Control_Origins/> title for some
time now (read: 4 years) which is scheduled for release this year in September.


In the meantime we have been going back and forth with founders and various members of the community and one issue that has been raised is idea of
preserving the UQM project for future generations. With many of us here being fans of the classic games, and some of the original talent involved with
SCO having worked on SC2 in the past, we wish to make it clear that we have no intention of interfering with the Ur-Quan Masters project now or anytime
in the future.


If you have time to talk properly I'd like to get you on something like Skype or Discord if possible or even IRC. This is more my preferred way of
discussing things since email is pretty much snailmail for me and I expect you will have quite a few questions which I can better answer in realtime. If
you want to join us on Discord all you need is to set up an account and poke me (Schism Navigator) on here: https://discord.gg/starcontrol

[https://discordapp.com/assets/ee7c382d9257652a88c8f7b7f22a994d.png]<https://discord.gg/starcontrol>

Discord - Free voice and text chat for gamers<https://discord.gg/starcontrol>
discord.gg
Step up your game with a modern voice & text chat app. Crystal clear voice, multiple server and channel support, mobile apps, and more. Get your free
server now!



On the other hand, if you prefer to have this chat all via email I'll do my best to accommodate you.


Kindest Regards,

Henry Pailing

Quote
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2018 21:59:47 +0200 (CEST)
From: Serge van den Boom
To: Henry Pailing
Subject: Re: UQM Project

Hello Henry,

As you may or may not know, the UQM project is led by four core team
members. While I may have been the more visible person in the past, and
I am the one who administers the UQM forum and the Ultronomicon, I
cannot generally speak for all of us, and I certainly cannot make any
decisions about the future of the project on my own.

I therefor do prefer to use email, as this gives me the chance to
discuss your points with the others before responding.

I do apologise for the consequence that this will make the conversation
slower than it would otherwise be.

That said, I am certainly interested in hearing what Stardock's thoughts
are regarding the future of the UQM project.


Regards,


Serge

Quote
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2018 01:49:26 +0000
From: Henry Pailing
To: Serge van den Boom
Subject: Re: UQM Project
Attachments: UQM perpetual trademark license v1.pdf

Hello Serge,

I was not aware that there was a four-person core team involved. Is it the case that any decision has to be decided unanimously by all four then? You are
free to forward the contents of this email to the other core members of the UQM project as this is intended as an offer to the UQM Project as a whole.

We like UQM and our founders who have been helping us shape Star Control: Origins have explicitly asked us to support the Ur-Quan Masters project. You
may or may not be aware that Stardock has a long history of supporting the modding and fan communities of our games. In fact, some of our people were
hired from the modding community as well, that includes me by the way.

As a show of good faith from our end, we would like to grant your project a perpetual license to the "Ur-Quan Masters" trademark at no cost to
yourselves. This will allow you to continue using the Ur-Quan Masters name in connection with the project, so long as it remains a non-commercial
endeavour.

I know this might seem a little unusual, but it is all to make sure the lawyers are happy. The guys here, that is to say, the team working on Star
Control: Origins including the CEO himself want the Ur-Quan Masters project to continue on without any interference or legal technicalities getting in
the way. In the near future we also hope to release the Star Control 3 source code and assets.

As a bonus, we would also like to give you and the rest of the UQM core team copies of Star Control: Origins and invite you to try out the beta,
including the modding tools we have been building into it. One of our main goals is to create an engine which allows amazingly creative and dedicated
fans such as yourselves to tell, retell and remix your own adventures and we would appreciate your input.

Attached is a version of the perpetual license agreement. It has been pre-filled out with your name but it can be modified as required and sent through
DocuSign whenever possible. If you have any questions about it or anything else I've said here just ask and I will do my best to answer them.

Kindest Regards,

Henry.

Quote
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2018 17:53:13 +0000
From: Henry Pailing
To: Serge van den Boom
Subject: Re: UQM Project

Hello Serge,


Just following up to check that you got my last message on the 5th. Hope to hear back from you soon.


Regards,

Henry Pailing

Quote
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2018 20:12:46 +0000
From: Henry Pailing
To: Serge van den Boom
Subject: Re: UQM Project

Hey Serge,


Just another reminder. I hope everything is okay.


Regards,

Henry Pailing

Quote
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2018 15:14:33 -0400
From: Brad Wardell
To: Serge van den Boom
Cc: Henry Pailing, legal@stardock.com, David May
Subject: The Ur-Quan Masters project
Attachments: UQM perpetual license agreement v2.pdf

Hi Serge,

My colleague, Henry Pailing, has been in contact with you regarding the UQM
project.

I'm aware that the UQM is led by a team of four members and that you are
the one who administers the UQM forum and the Ultronomicon.

As you know, Stardock acquired the Star Control trademarks in 2013 and we
very much want to support the UQM project.

Unfortunately, a trademark dispute between Paul and Fred and Stardock has
arisen forcing us to lock down the Star Control related trademarks
including the Ur-Quan Masters trademark.

Some fans have been concerned that Stardock's trademark enforcement might
have negative consequences for the UQM project.  To help alleviate these
concerns we'd like a representative of the UQM who has administrative
access to the site to sign a trademark licensing agreement that will allow
UQM to continue forward as it always has.

With our release of the new Star Control game, we want to clear up any
confusion or fan concerns regarding the trademark rights surrounding Star
Control.  For that reason, I'm going to have to ask that you or one of the
other members with administrative access to the UQM project site to sign
the trademark license no later than Friday, August 3.

I am attaching an updated version of the agreement that provides more
protection for the UQM project than v1 did.  We are very interested in
seeing the UQM project continue forward and want to avoid seeing it being
drawn into this dispute.

If you or the other members have any questions, please don't hesitate to
ask.

Thanks,

Brad

Quote
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2018 19:44:13 +0200 (CEST)
From: Serge van den Boom
To: Brad Wardell
Cc: Henry Pailing, legal@stardock.com, David May
Subject: Re: The Ur-Quan Masters project

Hi Brad,

I am glad that Stardock is supportive of the UQM project, and that you
want to alleviate the fan concerns that Stardock's trademark enforcement
might have negative consequences for the UQM project.

I do not feel, however, that signing an agreement is necessary, or
indeed, in the best interest of the UQM project, or the community.

First of all, I do not have any reason to conclude that you in fact have
any tenable claim to the The Ur-Quan Masters trademark; the assets which
Stardock bought from the Atari bankruptcy sale included no claims on
this trademark, nor have you yourself used it in commerce.
On the other hand, we (the UQM team), and creators of spin-off projects,
have been continuously using 'The Ur-Quan Masters', under the auspices
of Paul Reiche and Fred Ford, since 2001.

Second, in your agreement, you want us to state that Stardock *does* own
the trademark rights, and to the extend that *we* do, assign those
trademark rights to Stardock. That seems like a step backwards to me.

Third, if we were to sign your agreement, we could not transfer or
sublicense the rights which you gave to us, which is incompatible with
an Open Source project which could be abandoned and continued by
different people at any time.

Fourth, if you do not like the way in which we use the trademarks, you
could in theory unilaterally revoke the license at any time, leaving us
with nothing.

That said, I do think that there is a genuine concern within the fan
community that Stardock's trademark enforcement might have negative
consequences for the UQM project. Not because it is perceived that your
trademark claims would stand up to scrutiny, but because a small Open
Source project of a few individuals is no match against a large company
backed by a law firm, if that company were to decide to use the Open
Source project as a pawn in a legal battle with the original creators of
the game.

Fortunately, there is a way to alleviate those concerns, and show the
fans that you would not act in bad faith against the community.

What I am suggesting is that you unilaterally grant a full and
non-revocable license to whatever necessary intellectual property rights
you hold to the community. It is my understanding that it is in fact not
required to have the licensee assert that the licensor actually has the
rights they are licensing; you could instead say 'to the degree that we
own ...'.

You could probably just publish such a license grant on Stardock's
website, and it would put a few minds at ease.

Please consider it. After all, with your new game on the way, some
positive attention is always welcome.


Regards,

Serge van den Boom


On behalf of the UQM core team:
    Serge van den Boom
    Mika Kolehmainen
    Michael Chapman Martin
    Alex Volkov
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: September 23, 2018, 10:05:46 pm
@Frogboy
You act like that ‘license agreement’ didn't include a clause where I would be stating that Stardock owns the various trademarks which are under legal dispute,
nor a clause where I would be transferring whatever rights I have on them to Stardock.

Would you consent to me posting the entire email chain, including the proposed license agreement, so that everyone can judge for themselves?
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: September 22, 2018, 10:01:32 pm
Hey guys,

As you may know, Stardock has just released its latest game. Considering that this game shares part of its name with the game to which this forum owes its existence, I can imagine that a few people here bought it and would like to discuss it.

I would like to point out that this forum was created for the The Ur-Quan Masters Open Source project, and that the ‘General Discussion’ forum is only intended for all things related to the The Ur-Quan Masters game (which includes the UQM universe, its creators Paul Reiche and Fred Ford, fan creations, the remix project (a.k.a. the Precursors), etc.).

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. (Read on...)

Stardock's ‘licence agreement’
A little while ago, Stardock, through its CEO Brad Wardell (known as ‘Frogboy’ on this forum), has contacted me to — in his words — ‘alleviate concerns that Stardock's trademark enforcement might have negative consequences for the UQM project.’
He did this not by unilaterally granting the community the use of the trademarks which Stardock claimed it had, but by offering what he called a ‘license agreement’. By signing this document, I would have stated that Stardock owns these trademarks (including ‘The Ur-Quan Masters’ and alien and ship names) and I would assign any rights I myself have regarding these to Stardock.
Even though I do not see how Stardock could be owning any of these trademarks other than ‘Star Control’ — unless it recently bought them from Paul Reiche and Fred Ford — by signing this contract, I could have actually given Stardock some claim on them. After all, the UQM project has been actively using these trademarks since 2002. (I by the way offered to Paul and Fred to transfer any claim that I might have on these trademarks, to them, gratis.)

I do not know whether I am legally allowed to post the complete mail exchange with the legal documents, but I will include here my response to Brad and his legal team, which should give some insight in what he asked of me:
Quote
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2018 19:44:13 +0200 (CEST)
From: Serge van den Boom
To: Brad Wardell
Cc: Henry Pailing, legal@stardock.com, David May
Subject: Re: The Ur-Quan Masters project

Hi Brad,

I am glad that Stardock is supportive of the UQM project, and that you
want to alleviate the fan concerns that Stardock's trademark enforcement
might have negative consequences for the UQM project.

I do not feel, however, that signing an agreement is necessary, or
indeed, in the best interest of the UQM project, or the community.

First of all, I do not have any reason to conclude that you in fact have
any tenable claim to the The Ur-Quan Masters trademark; the assets which
Stardock bought from the Atari bankruptcy sale included no claims on
this trademark, nor have you yourself used it in commerce.
On the other hand, we (the UQM team), and creators of spin-off projects,
have been continuously using 'The Ur-Quan Masters', under the auspices
of Paul Reiche and Fred Ford, since 2001.

Second, in your agreement, you want us to state that Stardock *does* own
the trademark rights, and to the extend that *we* do, assign those
trademark rights to Stardock. That seems like a step backwards to me.

Third, if we were to sign your agreement, we could not transfer or
sublicense the rights which you gave to us, which is incompatible with
an Open Source project which could be abandoned and continued by
different people at any time.

Fourth, if you do not like the way in which we use the trademarks, you
could in theory unilaterally revoke the license at any time, leaving us
with nothing.

That said, I do think that there is a genuine concern within the fan
community that Stardock's trademark enforcement might have negative
consequences for the UQM project. Not because it is perceived that your
trademark claims would stand up to scrutiny, but because a small Open
Source project of a few individuals is no match against a large company
backed by a law firm, if that company were to decide to use the Open
Source project as a pawn in a legal battle with the original creators of
the game.

Fortunately, there is a way to alleviate those concerns, and show the
fans that you would not act in bad faith against the community.

What I am suggesting is that you unilaterally grant a full and
non-revocable license to whatever necessary intellectual property rights
you hold to the community. It is my understanding that it is in fact not
required to have the licensee assert that the licensor actually has the
rights they are licensing; you could instead say 'to the degree that we
own ...'.

You could probably just publish such a license grant on Stardock's
website, and it would put a few minds at ease.

Please consider it. After all, with your new game on the way, some
positive attention is always welcome.


Regards,

Serge van den Boom


On behalf of the UQM core team:
    Serge van den Boom
    Mika Kolehmainen
    Michael Chapman Martin
    Alex Volkov

I understand that other members of the community have been approached by Stardock. By posting this, I hope to avoid that any others who have their own UQM-derived project, sign an agreement which could hurt not just them, but Paul and Fred as well.

The ugly
Now a little while after I sent my response to Brad, I was contacted by someone (who wishes to remain anonymous) with screenshots purportedly from Stardock's #sco-elite channel. In one of these screenshots the user ‘Draginol’ — a name which is used by Brad Wardell — posted the email exchange between Brad and me. Another screenshot was this one:

Note the line about eliminating this community (‘and star-control.com as well’).

I have no means to verify that these screenshots are genuine, so keep this in mind when forming your opinion. Considering the potential impact on the UQM community however, I thought it was important to share this. I can confirm however that the email posted in the screenshot by ‘Draginol’ appears to be the one which I sent to Brad, and I have only sent a copy of this to a few trusted others.

For me personally, these events, combined with Stardock's legal actions against Paul and Fred, are enough that I will never buy another Stardock game as long as Brad Wardell is its CEO and Stardock hasn't dropped the lawsuit against Paul and Fred.
I apologise to Stardock's other developers who have nothing at all to do with these unpleasantries and are just trying to create a fun game and earn a living.


Edit 2018-09-22: Those supportive of Paul and Fred's case, who would like to see their sequel to Star Control II (in spirit, though not in name) made, may want to consider donating to the Frungy Defense Fund.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: A mobile version of this forum? on: September 07, 2018, 03:57:30 pm
An upgrade to the forum is something which will be required in the near future.
I'll make sure that whatever software we end up using, will have mobile support.

I'm also looking into new hosting, as Stack (the computer society of the Eindhoven University of Technology), will stop operations within a month.
I will probably be able to keep using the uqm.stack.nl domain, but this might be a good time to switch to the urquanmasters.net domain, which I've held for years. (With appropriate redirections so that old links keep working.)
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Star Control 3 STAR001.VOC archive WAV file format? on: June 13, 2015, 10:19:36 pm
For future readers; the 'previous three messages in this thread' that Bisqwit referred to, no longer exist.
I have removed them, along with the later spam postings.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Kickstarter for a game inspired by The Ur-Quan Masters - Ok to post? on: January 31, 2015, 06:48:54 pm
I did send a personal message to a mod but did not get a response.
Maybe that's because you sent your message just 18 hours ago... Tongue

Anyhow, feel free to create a posting about this in the StarBase Café.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Fan Art! on: October 11, 2014, 03:08:36 pm
Very nice.
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Possible Fan Film. Legalities? on: April 11, 2014, 12:42:06 pm
Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Buying new stuff for my ship on: January 12, 2014, 02:52:46 pm
Are you actually unloading the minerals you have collected? You need to talk to the StarBase commander to do that.
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Adding new phrases in NPC`s dialogues. on: January 06, 2014, 09:11:26 pm
They do not need to be packed into uqm-0.7.0-content.uqm. But if you have both packed and unpacked files at the same time, the wrong one might be used. See here.

1. You can just use any zip program, but you should configure it to just store .ogg files uncompressed.
2. I'm not sure. It could be that this only happens with tracks which do not have an associated .ogg file. You could try adding an empty line at the end of the dialog segment in the dialog .txt file. If you're using a post-0.7.0 development version, this bug may be involved.
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