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

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61  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: March 31, 2018, 04:54:34 am
Paul can take a magnifying glass to SC:O looking for trivial copyright infringements...and maybe even injunct you against releasing, if the court decides your game is too like SC2.

No, he can't.

When it comes to the mechanical design, concepts, and function...  You are correct.  That falls well under patent law territory.  The only game company I think ever had a patent that protected a type of game, at least in the tabletop games industry, is Wizards of the Coast with Magic: The Gathering -     This is one of the reasons why no tabletop game of recent era uses the term "tapping".  No one wants Daddy WoTC knocking on their door, because Grand Daddy Hasbro ain't that far behind.

BUT...  When it comes to the tangible assets/works used to represent the designs, concepts, and function, that falls under copyright territory and a product can be examined to find derivative assets within the product itself.  So no Spathi icon on the emergency hyperspace button, code straight from the original games (which shouldn't be too hard to avoid), and, arguably, unique terms that are used in a very similar context.  This is why Paizo's Pathfinder spell list has a lot of functionally similar spells, but unique names and rules descriptions are different from Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons.

There's debate about whether such could be extended to the ship builder, but I believe that's NOT enforceable (the ship builder is a mechanism to make works) and any online service regarding the ship builder would probably fall under the Safe Harbors in the DMCA.  So Stardock is perfectly fine on that front, and will just need policy to purge any designs that get a DMCA notice that provides a legitimate copyright violation concern.  Similar to what ISPs have to do and Youtube... but less with the trigger happy AI.

The trademark is just about damages; if they infringed it, they pay you some money, end of story.

Thinking about the point of Trrademark infringment and what damages could be collected...  I don't think there's much to collect.  Reading up on the Lanham Act when it comes to recovering for violation of rights  ( ), apart from costs of the taking action (legal fees, lawyer fees, and anything spent to take action against the infringement), damage seems to revolve around profits that were misdirected to the defendant from the plaintiff.  Unless there's another clause that handles other aspects that could be considered damages, the defendants infringement has to be related to the "sale, offering for sale, or distribution of goods or services".  An announcement of a possible product in the future that may or not may come into existence does not seem to fall into that category.

That's a tricky one to argue.
62  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: March 30, 2018, 09:10:45 am
Brad thinks he is telling Paul about the Accolade agreement, but Paul thinks Brad is talking about the GoG agreement, and the message could be read either way.

Holy crap.  That would explain A LOT to how everyone acted initially, especially the years of relative amicability between them.  And drastic shift towards the defensive both sides took, recently.  The contract schedule from Exhibit 8 in the counter-claim, coincides with that.  Given the agreement had been terminated 02/23/2016 in that schedule (which means it was received by Fred and Paul after that point), but the Accolade 1988 agreement was indicated as live...  That means for almost 3 years, Stardock had the agreement... So any discussion about distribution rights may have been assumed to have been the agreement by Paul for AT LEAST that period of time, until receipt of that contract schedule.  Meanwhile, Stardock assumes the Accolade 1988 agreement was still live based on it being a contract sold to them by Atari without rebuttal by Paul.

That is VERY INTERESTING find.  It explains so much.

63  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: March 21, 2018, 05:30:33 pm
They have no legal rights to the names.  Only the copyrights of things that they created.

The names are unique terms created by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III that given the context of the rest of the work are copyrighted.  Such unique terms have been used in copyright cases to determine whether a work is derivative or not.  There are many terms that Paizo cannot use for Pathfinder that are within the IP portfolio of Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons due to copyright.  Common words cannot be copyrighted, but uniquely created terms within context can be considered part of a copyrighted work.

Given the dispute, it is has become abundantly clear that we have no alternative but to ensure that all trade-markable items already associated with Star Control are protected to prevent confusion or dilution.
By trademarking terms Stardock does not own the copyrights for, nor has ever used in trade.  By misusing the trademark system to enact retaliatory actions against another party, which there articles against in trademark law.  By trademarking components not associated with Stardock's Star Control (tm) trademark.  Stardock's trademark for Star Control (tm) is just that... A text mark "Star Control" that is designed to label computer gaming products.  It's right there in documentation of the trademark.  There is nothing else associated with it.

Given that Paul and Fred have already tried to cancel our trademark, we became more motivated than ever to ensure that our considerable investment has as many vectors of protection as possible.
Stardock used the trademark against them.  If one uses a stick to hit someone, one should not be surprised if that someone tries to take the stick away and break it to prevent getting hit by it in the future.  Now it seems Stardock's tactic to the threat of getting the stick broken, is it get as many sticks as possible...
64  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: March 21, 2018, 04:49:14 pm
"Whether Brad likes it or not, Ghosts of the Precursors is going to be made as a direct sequel to the Star Control: The Ur-Quan Masters adventure originally created by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III in 1992. As you stated below, we anticipate resistance. "

Yes, they intend to make a new game based on a previous title they worked on named Star Control: The Ur-Quan Masters.  They are not branding their game as a Star Control (tm) game, they are not labeling the product as a Star Control (tm) for identification purposes.  They referencing a product to which they HAVE copyrights for... As evidence by a post on your own site in the lower left hand corner of the second picture:

So on the one hand, we absolutely would have been willing to take down the DOS games if they really felt strongly.  But they not only refused to find some way to undo the harm they had done by creating market confusion with their announcement, they made it clear that they would continue to promote Ghosts as a direct sequel to Star Control and fully anticipated that we would have to take legal action.

Regardless of their feelings and Stardock's position...  The DOS games SHOULD be taken down by Stardock.  Stardock does not own the copyrights and as evidenced by Atari and GOG, Stardock does not have the distribution rights.  So, Stardock is actively and knowingly engaging in copyright infringement as a retaliatory action against Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III for matters unrelated to the copyright.  This is how it presents itself based on what has been presented.  Stardock continues to do X due to Y.

All this could have been avoided.

Indeed.  When the DMCA noticed was filed, Stardock should have complied and stopped selling the DOS games.  Stardock then could have asked for references to Star Control (tm) be kept to a minimum.  Problem solved.

But now Stardock is filing trademarks for elements within the realm of Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III's copyrighted intellectual property.  Which is why many raise a brow at statements like this:

So I have a pretty healthy respect for both intellectual property rights and the emotional attachments people can have form with their creations.

Stardock keeps on trying to portray themselves as reasonable and amicable folks, but then they conduct activities that run absolutely counter to their portrayal.  This is why a lot of people are taken back by Stardock at the moment.  It's like watching a speech from a third world dictator who pauses after a long part praising his leadership towards furthering humans rights...   Then the echoes of gun fire from the nearby firing squad ring out.  That's some serious cognitive dissonance going on.
65  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase CafĂ© / Pseudo Retro Game Engine Demo on: March 01, 2018, 05:53:31 am
This is something I've been working on for a while.  It's a pseudo retro game engine.  What does that mean?  The engine provides a very retro style interface to doing thing that was common in the past.

For example, want to write a pixel to the screen?  Just copy the pixel data to the virtual video ram.  Want to play a sound?  Load up the sample, map a channel to it, and play it.  There's a rendering library that provides common functionality through the raw basics provide.  A lot of memcpy and memset happening.  The font you see, is actually a custom written ASCII character ROM.  I've even coded up my own line, triangle, and filled triangle functions.

The engine itself is heavily threaded.  Game logic, sound, controls, and display all operate on their own threads.  Display is 32-bit color, 24-bits of color data with an extra channel.  Sound is handled by 32 emulated channels running at 16-bit @ 44.1kHz.  Keyboard and Mouse are handled and data updated to global status registers.

Support for file formats has been written by hand off of specification documents.  Wave and Bitmap data can be partially interpreted enough to allow extraction of the data and converting it.  Fast Tracker Module files can be loaded and played with MOST the effects implemented.  (31 sample, 4 channels max at this point.)  Not all effects are fully handled, I been pouring through the reference data I can get and educating myself about how to translate what was written for the Amiga to modern computer standards.  Initial drafts of the module player were... interesting at times.  The player sequences everything while intricate effects are handled through the channel when rendering.

Written in C++ 11 (Very close to C in style), PortAudio for the raw access to OS audio buffers, GLFW for window handling, and OpenGL to create one textured quad that is streamed data constantly.  (Presently 720p worth of 32 bit color data at near 100FPS... or roughly 352MB/s, thank you OpenGL 4.4)

Here's a link of the latest video of the demo I recorded, playing some songs you all will probably be familiar with:

Here's the link to the GitHub, (my apologizes for the mess of the code base, I'm slowly working to make it proper):

Mostly started it to freshen up my C++ skills, learn C++ 11, and educate myself about how it all used to be done and how to do it today.  Admittedly, it runs pretty decently, roughly 4-6% CPU usage average on my old Core i7 920.  Hope to eventually get off my lazy ass and write a game to go with it.  But, I've been obsessing with tweaking stuff to get that little extra bit of optimization.  Plan on implementing a ANSI terminal emulator (hence the color test patterns) and see about loading the raw ship images from the original Star Control 2 game.  And I've on and off played with the idea of adding FM synthesis, but I just figure out an implementation I like.

Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated, as it might help motivate me to get bits and pieces working on it.
66  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark on: February 28, 2018, 05:25:12 pm
To Stardock...

Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?
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