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

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46  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 22, 2018, 08:30:42 pm
Help me understand folks:
Does UQM project remains intact in all scenarios? Nobody has said anything about it, and that's one of my main concerns...

If Stardock wins, UQM project is under immediate threat.  Period.  If they are able to snag the "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark and claim copyrights to the original Star Control properties, the UQM project will basically be forced under the rule of Stardock to whatever whim they desire.  Stardock may claim otherwise, but there would be NOTHING to stop them from shutting down the project the second it no longer serves their end goals.  Stardock is a business run by people that are very business orientated.  The bottom line is the only thing that's ultimately important.  In fact, I would not be surprised if Stardock files litigation to seize the material of the UQM project and derivatives.  The Pages of Now and Forever will also be under threat for their domain name, too.

If P&F win, it will be business as usual and possibly more material they are uncovering for their legal defense will find its way to the project.

Stardock and P&F equal scenario, business as usual since Stardock will only ever be able to touch Star Control: Origins.  Which is fine... They can have that.  Just leave the originals and new works (Ghost of the Precursors) alone.
47  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 22, 2018, 06:43:45 am
Hey folks I read most of the past 40 pages but am still trying to grasp at something and maybe you could help me:

1. What is the "win" scenario for Stardock?
2. What is the "win" scenario for P&F?
3. Are there any in-between scenarios where neither "win" condition is granted or somehow both "win" or a gradient therein?


Specifically, I would like to understand if any "win" condition could prevent either games from being released, and if any scenario could bring the closure of this project.

1.  Stardock "win" scenario - (Based on previous settlement offer and intent via legal documents submitted to the court) Full acquisition of Star Control rights, P&F discredit as creators, and Ghost of the Precursors killed forever unless P&F capitulate and submit themselves as vassals to Stardock if they ever want to create it.  Likely only Star Control: Origins gets made.

2.  P&F "win" scenario - Trademark invalidated so they don't have to worry about that thing anymore.  Star Control 1 and 2 copyrights fully recognized and protected.  Ghost of the Precursors cleared to be made without interference from Stardock.  Stardock can't touch Star Control 1 or 2 works or derivatives for their Star Control: Origins... This includes all aliens from Star Control 1 and 2, and Stardock's trademark filing abuse is called out and benchslapped by the courts for what it is.  Both games can get made.

3.  Stardock keeps the Star Control trademark and Star Control 3 specific rights, all other trademarks filed by Stardock ruled invalid due to many, many reasons.  P&F allowed to make Ghost of the Pecursors and their previous use of the trademark declared properly nominative... Since they did make Star Control 1 and 2.  Both games can get made.
48  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 19, 2018, 04:30:09 pm
I thought even you agreed that F&P own the copyright to the story and characters of SC1 and SC2. Are you taking that back now?

His lawyers are in their answer to the counter-claim (April 16, 2018).
Original Counter Claim:  https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/17/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/
Answer to Counter Claim:  https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/38/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/

Paragraph 44 Counter-claim:  "Over the years since their various releases, Reiche, Ford, and Reiche and Ford’s Star Control Games themselves have acquired a valuable fame, reputation and goodwill among the purchasing public."

Answer to Paragraph 44:  "Stardock denies Reiche’s and Ford’s suggested possession and ownership of Star Control, Star Control II, including The Ur-Quan Masters, and Reiche’s Preexisting Characters used in Star Control 3. Stardock admits that the Classic Star Control Games have become popular over the last couple of decades in the video game community and have acquired a reputation and goodwill among the purchasing public. Stardock lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of any and all other allegations asserted in Paragraph 44 of the Counterclaim, and on that basis denies such allegations."

Paragraph 102 Counter-Claim:  "Reiche and Ford are the owners of all copyrights to Reiche and Ford’s Star Control Games, and particularly the Reiche and Ford Registered Copyrights."

Answer to Paragraph 102:  "Stardock denies the allegations in Paragraph 102 of the Counterclaim."


Reading it over, Stardock does not concede to grant even Star Control 1 or 2 copyrights to Fred and Paul.  The most humoring part to me is the Seventh ("On information and belief, Defendants’ copyright claims are barred because they are not the rightful owner of the alleged copyright."), Fifteenth ("Defendants’ copyright claims are barred by the doctrine of fair use."), and Sixteenth Affirmative ("Defendants’ trademark claims are barred by the doctrine of fair use.") Denfenses.
49  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 16, 2018, 07:22:47 am
I've seen this behavior before in the political realms and quite a bit in my professional day to day.  With some people, if you can't counter the argument, you counter the person making the argument.  You discredit and devalue them in an attempt to discredit and devalue the point they make.  Meanwhile, you claim superior position over them and try to showcase their inadequecies to the audience.  The argument is never properly addressed, but given the right crowd, dissent is quelled and countering opinions routed.

Nasty tactic, but it works to those who are not willing to question and/or have already decided their position on the matter.

Those same people often get very defensive when you hit too close to home...  And they ignore you/divert to another topic/go silent when you hit the mark.

Those who are confident of their position should show no troubles explaining it and should seek to educate others so they understand the situation enough to arrive at the same positon.  Those that are afraid of explaining their positon often are not confident of it... or know exactly what may be revealed via explaining it.
50  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 09, 2018, 04:54:25 pm
There, if names are only trademarkable, not copyrightable, then 11.5 in the original agreement says that any trademarks are the property of the publisher.  Stardock seems to be putting a twist into things by applying this to common law trademarks, which might include the race names.  But I suspect that when this was written, the parties were really only thinking of the primary product name ("Star Control").

"Star Control" is the only registered trademark from Accolade, hence it would have been the ONLY trademark to have survived the lack of active use and the bankruptcy of Atari.  From what I've read up so far, common law trademarks are practically non-transferable in this situation.  They have extremely limited and very regional protections that are very fragile at best and are granted no federal level protections, and have to be in constant in use to keep remotely alive.

For example, "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark filing should easily be undone by the existence of this very website, as it has been actively using the mark as a brand well before Stardock's filing.  And that's all it takes to undo even a federal registered mark, is demonstration of active use before the filing.  Since the ownership of "The Ur-Quan Masters" was never established officially via registration, Stardock could only maybe cite it's use with GOG.com sales as it's earliest use, (despite the fact it was just a subtitle after their registered mark) but...  Technically, Fred and Paul were using it before Stardock with their GOG.com agreement  and even before that ...  So, Stardock has very little to stand on in that regard, as any other party's prior use before their cited use could invalidate the trademark.  Reference:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qzZL2yfUgI&feature=youtu.be

So the attempt to register the alien names by Stardock is very strange, since...  Well, Fred and Paul and the The Ur-Urquan Masters project have precedence over Stardock, since they've been jointly distributing a product that uses the names actively well before Stardock even had a chance to buy anything from Atari and have been actively doing so well before Atari/GOG.com/Fred and Paul did a joint distribution deal through GOG.com.
51  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 09, 2018, 05:19:36 am
I think people associate names very strongly.  That's why trademarks are so valuable.

Indeed.  People identify things with names.  And I will agree that trademarks are valuable.

Quote
In Galactic Civilizations we redesigned the aliens when we made the Windows version as we had much better visual capabilities by then.  Nobody cared that the Arceans and Drengin looked different.  The fans cared that the Arceans and Drengin were in the game.

But, I would question what response such a OS/2 to Windows drastic change would garner today.  After the OS/2 transition, most of the appearances seem to derive from each other.

You can look at the progression of the Drengin and can make a valid argument that Early GalCiv III Kona is directly derivative of Early 90s Kona: https://forums.galciv3.com/450345/the-evolution-of-the-drengin  Most of the core aspects that characterizes the Drengin have not changed drastically.  The representation of the concept of Drengin has not drastically changed.  No matter where you start on that scale, someone who becomes familiar with one can be shown the others and will recognize them a Drengin.  When it comes to copyright, these are the thing that are examined.

Quote
The Orz, Spathi, Ur-Quan are all very strongly associated with the Star Control brand.  It's not circumventing anyone's copyright.
Association?  Yes.  Highly.  But as a trademark, a mark that denotes the source of a good or service?  I disagree.

In way it can possible circumvent a copyright.  If you claim you are referring to your trademark when talking about race names within product, you can effectively step around the context such unique names would normally fall under with copyright.  It has been shown to interfere with referencing copyrighted work, at this point I would be curious as to what else it could be manipulated for.

Quote
It is interesting how passionately you are willing to defend what appears to me to be naked maliciousness in trying to cancel the Star Control trademark while simultaneously condemning something that most fans of STAR CONTROL would want: The Orz, Ur-Quan, Spathi, etc. in new Star Control games.  I also find it pretty amazing that you describe what happened as Stardock using its trademark against Paul and Fred. Wow.

Let's break it down.  The attempt to cancel the Star Control trademark, I see as a defensive measure on the part of Fred and Paul.  Stardock filed the claim, first, as of December 8, 2017.  The counter-claim was filed by Fred and Paul, later, as of February 22, 2018.  So, this is roughly two months of them trying to figure what they are going to do.  Even if they fend of this trademark infringement claim...  What's to stop it from happening again?  What's the best way to prevent someone from hitting you with a stick?  Get rid of the stick.  It's NOT an attack of Stardock's creation of Star Control: Origins.  It's a means to disarm the Star Control trademark, so they cannot be harmed by it again.  This is a defensive measure.  All canceling the trademark would do is force Stardock to come up with a more defined trademark to use:  "Stardock's Star Control" or stylized "Star Control" over the Stardock logo in the background.  That's it.  Stardock can still have a Star Control game, just with nice logo as the trademark instead of a general text mark.

People want The Orz, Ur-Quan, Spathi, etc in a new game...  But if you have to create appearances, personalities, and more that cannot be considered derivative of a copyrighted work, then they are only going to be names... assigned to completely different aliens.  People have associated a lot to the alien names as their identities.  Cowardly Spathi, strictly business Melnorme, overlording Ur-Quan, and more...  What good are the names if they cannot be properly associated with the proper representations?

And Stardock is using the Star Control trademark against Fred and Paul.  Stardock filed a claim against Fred and Paul stating many trademark law violations.  Stardock is invoking the litigation allowed by having the Star Control trademark to file a federal claim against Fred and Paul.  When a party files a claim, it does so against another party.

I was pretty much at the sidelines even with the initial claim.  I thought "Well dammit...  Looks like they got to sort things out and draw up the boundaries a bit clearer."  Then...  Stardock filed "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark.  That is when I started questioning everything Stardock was doing, because that did not and still does not make sense under the assumption of good faith.  When there's a dispute about trademarks...  why do you file for a trademark a little over a week after filing a claim (December 14, 2017)?  Now the trademark filings for the alien races' names pushed me well away from Stardock side.  Why?  Fred and Paul filed their counter-claim and 4 days later...  Trademark filings for the alien races' names were filed (February 26, 2018).  So in the starting procedures to even determine the validity of both sides' various rights...  Stardock is filing behind the scenes.  That is some dirty pool right there.

If Stardock hadn't filed for anymore trademarks, I wouldn't have much of an issue with Stardock.  You bought the Star Control trademark.  You are using it as brand and have established its presence.  Neat.  I still think filing a trademark infringement lawsuit was overkill, but should be easy to settle.
52  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 09, 2018, 03:11:00 am
What's the point of the having the names of the alien races...  If they a NOT going to be the alien races people associate with the names?  Stardock can not represent the aliens races that people expect without infringing upon copyrights.  So... the names are going to be absolutely hollow terms that mean NOTHING to those who want those alien races.

So... Why even trademark them?  They are not used in trade by Stardock as any kind of identifying marks on any product.  It seems the only reason Stardock wants the trademarks is to circumvent other parties use of the terms as a means of  gatekeeping and to circumvent copyright so Stardock can use the names falsely as trademarks rather than them being subjected to copyright examination via context of their use within a product.


Stardock used the Star Control trademark against Fred and Paul.  So, Fred and Paul are trying to disarm the trademark club from Stardock.

Cancellation of the Star Control trademark does not stop a game from being created.  It can still be titled, Star Control: Origins.  You cannot copyright titles.  Cancellation of the trademark just means no one can use it as a means of uniquely identifying the source of a good or service.  That's it.  Star Control: Origins can still exist without the Star Control trademark.
53  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 09, 2018, 02:27:16 am
From the USPTO site,  Basic Facts 02: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cIBcl7dD4w#action=share
54  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 09, 2018, 01:35:11 am
Speaking of court documents here's a great project that is helping gain access of information:  https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/

They have a Firefox or Chrome extension that allows any documents from the PACER system to be duplicated to the CourtListener RECAP system:  https://free.law/recap/

PACER works by charging $0.10 page, up to $3.00 per document.  Charges are totaled per quarter and total charges below $15.00 are waived.  It's a fresh quarter right now.

The plugin will tag any document already in the RECAP archive when browsing PACER, too.  So collectively, we can grant access to everyone else out there.


Current Court Listener Page:  https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/
55  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 08, 2018, 06:47:20 pm
To use a programming analogy, you write a bunch of C-like gobblygook and insist it will compile and when someone who knows how to program tells you it’s gobblygook you start demanding that they walk you through your various lines of pseudo-code.  It’s impossible because you don’t even have the basics down.What makes your posts damaging is that to a lay person, they can come across as credible because hey, you seem to be using a C-like syntax.

The sign of a true expert is someone willing to educate one about the basics and explain the issues accurately with their expert knowledge, hence demonstrating their proficiency and showing what was wrong in one's assumptions.  When you refuse to do so because someone "cannot understand due to their lack of knowledge", then you do a disservice to everyone by purposefully leaving them in ignorance and you do a disservice to yourself by not exercising your knowledge when it could highlight the purpose of your  knowledge and value of such in society.  The sharing of this knowledge by an expert can help aid the expert in keeping their knowledge relevant and up to date via discovery of contradictions or changes that have happened since the knowledge was last exercised.

I am a computer scientist by training and I have never withheld my knowledge from anyone because I thought they wouldn't understand.  I have spent hours educating those who are willing about the concepts I have learned and took considerable effort to relate them in different manners, examples, and methods to remedy their ignorance.  Through that process both parties have always been enriched.

So, I do not understand this hording of knowledge over others to demean their honest quest to understand the situation.  There are people who are trying comprehend this situation to the best of their abilities and in the face of their honest struggle...  Supposed experts sit by and do nothing.  A situation has arisen to justify past efforts to acquire the experience and knowledge... and such is just being withheld, seemingly, contemptuously.

This is a great opportunity to garner goodwill and understanding of a position, but instead there is standoff and dismissal.
56  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 08, 2018, 08:46:42 am
It's also very interesting that the latest document about "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark filing by Stardock Systems Inc points out some glaring issues with the trademark filing itself.

Trademark Filing: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87720654&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

Latest Document (2/13/2018): http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn87720654&docId=OOA20180213153335#docIndex=2&page=1

Application was NOT SIGNED.
Specimens of Use Omitted
Identification of services clarification required
Information on multi-class application, if applicable

So basically, Stardock's legal representation sent an unsigned application without stating how the mark was used and did not properly classify the intended use of the mark in detail enough to meet published requirements... Despite there being published classifications to choose from.  And... published requirements on USPTO's webpage to properly file a trademark filing.
57  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: April 08, 2018, 07:25:36 am
So, let me get this straight...

Stardock is trying to supersede Fred and Paul's copyrighted material by trademarking unique names from their copyrighted material... to prevent them from using their copyrighted material without getting a license from Stardock to use their own work...

This is a MALICIOUS MISUSE of trademarks.  THIS IS NOT WHAT TRADEMARKS ARE FOR.  These trademarks have NEVER been NOR are presently being used to brand or label the source of any goods or services.  They are derived from copyrighted materials Stardock does not own.  And were FILED (Only one has even been assigned a trademark lawyer for review) after litigation was filed by Stardock.

This is trademark trolling as retaliatory action.

58  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Incorrect music credit in wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Star_Control_Music on: April 02, 2018, 10:09:07 pm
Neat mod.  Already giving me prompting to implement certain effects in my side project.  (Plus fix a Effect F, Ticks Per Division/Beats Per Minute issue.  For some reason, two Effect F settings in one division.)  Found a new test mod.

EDIT:  Took adding a few features to the audio subsystem and getting the module player to process the effects, but...  Seems like it works.  I'll need to do some careful verification with comparative listening with MilkyTracker to check to make sure the effect work as intended.

https://youtu.be/q0Mm3w9NcqA
59  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Incorrect music credit in wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Star_Control_Music on: April 02, 2018, 05:47:53 am
Maybe a plot post with links to whatever web-accessible file storage you have?  Would be neat to see a blog post all about what was left on the cutting room floor, along with original sources for the beautiful cut scene art in the game.

If nothing else, Amazon Drive allows for specific file sharing via web links.
60  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: March 31, 2018, 08:14:14 pm
But there's no way this doesn't end in a settlement. Especially now that both sides have to stop talking about the settlements publicly.
https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/#entry-36

"Yeah, that was my take on the situation too, and I don't see how Stardock can win.  Which is why I really don't understand why they went this way."

Given Stardock's general attitude towards this situation, their efforts they have made to mass filing trademarks upon the elements from the old property, how they have been focusing significantly upon status of authorship of the copyrighted material, and that they amended their complain to include copyright infringement...   I don't think they care that much about the trademark issue in comparison to their interests towards the copyrighted material from the classic games.

The Trademark issue ultimately wouldn't be a threat to Star Control: Origins getting released.  Stardock is a big company, they have a significant fan base, and most of that fan base will pretty much go with whatever Stardock does at this point.  Let's face it, the old Star Control community is maybe a thousand or so folks, total.  Stardock's fandom is easily pushing a lot more than that.  So, Stardock has fandom on their side.  Before the launch of litigation, most the old community was at least interested in Star Control: Origins to give a try because it has been portrayed as a Star Control game in form and function, and the construction tools looked really cool.  The Stardock fandom, it was another good looking space game from Stardock aligned with most of their preferences.  With the Ghost of he Precursors announcement, I don't think that changed anything.  The old Star Control fandom looked over and collectively thought, "Awesome!  This might be finally happening!  Finally continue the story where it left off AND I get to play around with Star Control: Origin's creation tools and adventure building platform.  What a nice year!"  Meanwhile, a healthy portion of the Stardock fandom didn't even notice that announcement happened, the remainder were still going to buy Star Control: Origins, and a segment of that were thinking along the same lines the old fandom "Cool, two games for things I like!".

So, the dramatic launch of litigation from Stardock after the DMCA Notice from Fred and Paul just feels WEIRD, especially with the trademark filing barrage from Stardock.  Because, the copyright issue with selling the old games has happened before on record with Atari.  Fred and Paul, Atari, and GOG.com rechecked everything and Atari realized that they were in the wrong, but they were all able to negotiate something.  If Atari could rebuff Fred and Paul legal, they would have.  Atari was still riding decently high at that point, so it would have been no thing to shutdown Fred and Paul if they had the legal grounds.  So, the trademark infringement claim from Stardock is just kind of out of the blue, especially with the amount of association that Stardock itself had made to Fred and Paul's project in the past.  Finally, the trademark filing upon "The Ur-Quan Masters" really got me, especially with the REALLY shoddy justification.  (Sharing assets and content to the community is a copyright issue, not a trademark issue.  Take a look t the open gaming license from Wizards of the Coast.)  So...  The old copyrights must hold a bit more weight than at first glance.

With Stardock's fandom and marketing/PR team, they could rename Star Control: Origin to Stardock: Origins and it would sell just as well under that name.  From general impressions, most folks are attracted to the exploration, customization, modding, building, and other components rather than anything to deal with old Star Control elements.  I was actually a lot more interested in the game just doing its own thing content wise, since I've been burned multiple time by the practice of other companies handling IP they've acquired.  So, it was a bit refreshing to see someone doing their own take in the spirit of it all.

The What, Who, Where, and Hows have been explored really deeply throughout this whole scenario, but a lot of  "Why"s remain unknown.
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