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

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: What, what is going on??! on: April 21, 2020, 06:43:57 pm
The Syreen outfit is a little over the top. The game even hangs a lampshade on that fact by Talana noting if asked that it's functional...and that she might be willing to show you why it's so functional, knife included.

One way I try to think about it is that the Syreen as a race are nearly extinct due to the devastation of their home world and it's probably required them to make some cultural adjustments as a result to increase the species population. Another thing to consider is that, if you can get past the costume, the Syreen are portrayed as total bad***es in the game. They absolutely eviscerate the Mycon for instance.

There's a fine line between fan-service and blatant sexism and where that line is drawn is YMMV by person.

Part of it is also that the entire galaxy is effectively a "world of hats" tvtrope. You could just as easily call the Shofixti racist representations of the Japanese. Or consider the Druuge to be a snarky take on ultra-capitalists as another example on one end of the spectrum whereas the Pkunk are clearly stoner hippies on the other side of the spectrum.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 30, 2019, 02:06:00 am
Seriously, I hope people would just stop waging a war against Stardock already. The litigation is OVER. F&P and Stardock are no longer enemies. And I personally don't give a flying F about what Brad Wardell feels about this whole incident. I don't need to see him in tears over what he had done, or otherwise humiliated or wracked with remorse. The only thing I want is a guarantee that nothing like this ever happens again, and the settlement agreement and the court order to dismiss all complaints and counterclaims with prejudice seem like a pretty solid guarantee to me. F&P's copyrights and the UQM trademark are safe in their hands, and there's nothing Stardock can do to change that anymore, even if they wanted to. So personally I hope you people would just move on. I haven't seen any lingering hostility on Stardock's side of the fence.

The decision to forgive and forget is up to each individual person. Personally, I saw enough blatant bad faith and bad actions that, combined with previous history, leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a desire not to hand somebody more money in the future absent some indications that they have learned a lesson.

Stardock in general, and Brad Wardell in particular, outright attempted theft as well as the destruction of online communities who objected. Further, they rather blatantly lied about it. (P&F aren't the "creators" of Star Control? What a joke.)

MAYBE the intellectual property is safely in the right hands. But to me that doesn't mean that a year and a half of bad actions just get to be hand waved away and swept under the rug. That's just me personally. I hold nothing against anyone who holds a contrary viewpoint. But, conversely, as has been pointed out.

1. There's a history of bad behavior. The money you spend on Stardock games now could very well finance future bad behavior. Perhaps against F&P, or perhaps against some other small developer.

2. Stardock is the company that was predominantly attempting to take what did not belong to them. They failed. But they didn't really suffer all that much for their actions. There's more reason to hold lingering hostility on the other side.

Lastly, one additional point that I have not seen mentioned, high powered individuals getting away with bad behavior once or twice with no consequences emboldens future bad behavior. I suppose you could take Randy Pitchford as one prominent example in the video game industry, but you don't have to squint that hard to see individuals outside of the video game industry who have repeatedly gotten away with doing bad things - such as merit-less lawsuits - only to feel emboldened and escalate over time.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 28, 2019, 09:49:17 pm
In-between, there's little to prevent Stardock from blowing up these issues again...

They are dismissed with prejudice. If Stardock tries to file a complaint against F&P again with the same claims as before, those claims would be rejected by the court immediately.

The fact that F&P will have to keep silent for a few years to let Stardock have its time in the spotlight does make me feel a bit uneasy, but I don't think Stardock would be able to keep F&P's announcements on hold indefinitely.

Catching up after being away for a while.

For me, P&F having to be quiet for a few years isn't much of a concession. It's going to take a couple of years minimum for their next game to be close enough to being ready to be marketed.

Switching subjects...

On the subject of forgiveness and the purchase of future Stardock created Star Control games:

I'm not a religious person, but in at least one major world religion that I was raised in (Roman Catholic), you have to actually admit you were wrong and ask for forgiveness for it to be granted. To me, that's a requirement for future Stardock purchases.

Which is quite unfortunate as I really do like Stardock's games. But barring this sort of step, I don't see myself supporting the company in the future while Wardell remains at the helm.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Making the Galaxy embrace Juffo-Wup on: January 29, 2019, 09:30:41 pm
Why not? Go for it. I have no objections. Can't guarantee whether I'd like it or not, but I like Star Control and I think Stellaris is a great game so it's a good premise.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 18, 2019, 09:48:35 pm
Just an update for your info: Steam has put Origins on sale again.

I don't know why, but I guess Stardock guaranteed to pay any damages against Valve if a judge/jury does find the game to be copyright infringing.

Could be wishful thinking, but one other possible explanation is that there are settlement talks going on behind the scenes wherein P&F allowed the game to go back up on sale as a goodwill gesture.

I don't consider this to be particularly realistic, but it IS one other possible explanation that might fit.

But, being real here, this does not seem like a course of action Brad has ever been interested in considering.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 15, 2019, 09:23:59 pm
So what do you think of the comparison table at the end of the Injunction Junction post? Currently it seems to me that F&P's arguments for copyright infringement in this particular case are very weak. Most of the points they have listed seem to be completely irrelevant, as they are generic concepts, gameplay elements or UI elements, neither of which is copyrightable as far as I know (otherwise why would we have so many video game clones?). The only parts that do seem relevant are the visual appearance of hyperspace and maybe the "true space" name (which in itself would not constitute copyright infringement, but may contribute to substantial similarity - IANAL, though, and currently I'm inclined to think that this is also irrelevant). And yet, there are still some ways in which the expression of hyperspace travel in SCO is different from that of SC2, though still obviously inspired by it. So I'm currently on the fence whether the court is going to rule that as infringing, as there are good reasons to believe it won't (I'm personally amazed at how Accolade managed to avoid a lawsuit from whoever owns the copyright to the 2001: A Space Odyssey film, when ICOM in SC3 looks like this). This post by Brad on the SCO forum and the Kotaku link he gives are also interesting.

I think you can make the argument, as Brad has done, that each individual piece is weak.

It's the accumulation of the various pieces that makes the argument more compelling. If you copy one or two pieces, you can call it a tribute, an inspiration or even a coincidence.

Copy everything about something and it becomes a much more compelling case.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 08, 2019, 08:04:39 pm
That's a little joke, by the way, I haven't actually done that myself. The screenshot is from elsewhere. I meant to say that CeltricMinstrel's idea was something you could do on Humble Bundle just a few days ago.

Which does make the point that the game has already been heavily on sale in certain places. (Having already bought it I hadn't really been watching for sales on it so I didn't really know if it had or not.) So there probably aren't THAT many fans who would likely be impacted by the game being taken off of Steam and GoG at this point who hadn't already bought.

Naturally there will be some, but games usually don't show up on Humble Bundle early on in the distribution and sale life cycle.
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 07, 2019, 11:02:49 pm
Dogan and Kazon speak:
https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2019/1/2/injunction-junction-court-instruction

Unfortunately I think this hurts the fans, but I understand that it's (probably) intended to give F&P the upper hand in negotiations going forward.

I'm not sure that I'd really agree that it hurts the fans that much, with the exception of possibly planned DLC not being released.

I would think that the game has been out long enough at this point that the majority of fans who intended to purchase the game have likely already done so if the sales trends follow traditional patterns wherein the majority of purchases are made in the initial week or two after a game's release.
I doubt I'm the only person who doesn't buy games on release. Some people may prefer to wait until the game goes on sale, for example.

I'm certain that there will be exceptions. And I'm sorry to hear if you're one of them who was waiting on a sale and still wants the game. Four things I'd say in response though.

1. I was speaking for the more typical sales curve, not saying that there would not be those who were waiting to buy the game who now can't. A typical video game sales curve post-release is a huge spike initially followed by a pretty steep drop and then a gradual "tail". Or, put another way, it's pretty typical for the lion's share of a game's sales to take place in the first week or two.

2. If P&F are correct in their claims, then Stardock is essentially stealing from them. It sucks for the fans who haven't yet bought the game but want to, but you can hardly blame them for objecting.

3. As the court judge itself pointed out, Stardock knew of P&F's objections nearly a full year prior to the game's release and chose to go forward with the game release announcement in June 2018 anyway despite the pending legislation. This is worth reiterating: P&F had given notice that they considered certain things infringing almost a year before the game was released. If the fans are now hurt, then Stardock is at least as responsible.

"Plaintiff asserts that it stands to lose substantial monies spent on the development and marketing of Origins. Plaintiff was aware of Defendants' copyright claim to Star Control I and II since the development of Origins commenced, however, and was aware of the contours of the present copyright dispute since at least December 2017. Thus, whatever monies Plaintiff invested in Origins was done with the knowledge that serious copyright disputes were likely to arise or had arisen.

Plaintiff further asserts that the release of Origins 'has been widely communicated to Stardock's customers, partners, and the press,' and that any disruption in its release will be injurious to Plaintiff's reputation. ...

Again, Plaintiff announced the release of Origins in June 2018, six months after this action commenced. Plaintiff thus invited reliance on its announcement regarding the release of Origins with knowledge of Defendants' claims.

In view of the foregoing, the harm Plaintiff complains of is indeed of its own making. Plaintiff had knowledge of Defendants' copyright claims from the outset. Despite this knowledge, it developed potentially infringing material without resolution of the IP ownership issues, and then publicized the release of that material during the pendency of this action.  It now claims that its investment in Origins and reputation are on the line.

Given that Plaintiff largely created the foregoing predicament, the court is disinclined to extricate Plaintiff from a peril of it's own making."


4. If P&F's claims do end up being without merit, the game will go right back up on Steam and GoG at some point. At which point it will probably either be on sale at that time, or will be at some other time in the future.

In  other words...

If P&F are correct, then they're preventing outright theft from them after having given Stardock plenty of advance notice and warning.

If Stardock/Brad is correct, then fans will have the chance to purchase the game eventually anyway and it's nothing worse than a normal game release delay for fans who were waiting anyway.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 04, 2019, 06:24:55 pm
Dogan and Kazon speak:
https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2019/1/2/injunction-junction-court-instruction

Unfortunately I think this hurts the fans, but I understand that it's (probably) intended to give F&P the upper hand in negotiations going forward.

I'm not sure that I'd really agree that it hurts the fans that much, with the exception of possibly planned DLC not being released.

I would think that the game has been out long enough at this point that the majority of fans who intended to purchase the game have likely already done so if the sales trends follow traditional patterns wherein the majority of purchases are made in the initial week or two after a game's release.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 02, 2019, 04:17:51 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.

iirc Brad had already announced DLC to include blatant Star Control 1/2 aliens such as the Arilou and Chenjesu and the game already has modded in vessels like the Syreen Penetrator and Ilwrath Avenger. That, combined with Brad's attempt to register trademarks for all of the original races, seems like a good enough reason to me to issue the DMCA.

I'm guessing that if they'd allowed that to stand without object it would have hurt them in a legal sense.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 01, 2019, 02:06:21 am
I adjusted the formatting a bit but this is a very interesting section. Caps Lock at the conclusion at the end also my doing to add emphasis. This is pretty blunt.


"As aptly observed by Defendants,  'Stardock announced the release date and launched its marketing campaign for Origins in June 2018--long after this case was at issue and Stardock was well aware of Reiche and Ford's allegation that Origins infringed upon their copyrighted work. Stardock could have suspended development, or at least postponed the marketing and release of Origins until this case resolves who owns the copyrights to the content at issue and whether Stardock's planned use of certain content infringes....

Instead, Stardock did nothing to avoid the purported risk of irreparable harm that it now bases its motion on, and Stardock announced the release of Origins in the middle of this case and ramped up it's spending.'

Plaintiff does not directly respond to this point.

Further scrutiny of its alleged harm supports Defendants' argument, however.

Plaintiff asserts that it stands to lose substantial monies spent on the development and marketing of Origins. Plaintiff was aware of Defendants' copyright claim to Star Control I and II since the development of Origins commenced, however, and was aware of the contours of the present copyright dispute since at least December 2017. Thus, whatever monies Plaintiff invested in Origins was done with the knowledge that serious copyright disputes were likely to arise or had arisen.
Plaintiff further asserts that the release of Origins 'has been widely communicated to Stardock's customers, partners, and the press,' and that any disruption in its release will be injurious to Plaintiff's reputation. ...

Again, Plaintiff announced the release of Origins in June 2018, six months after this action commenced. Plaintiff thus invited reliance on its announcement regarding the release of Origins with knowledge of Defendants' claims.

In view of the foregoing, the harm Plaintiff complains of is indeed of its own making. Plaintiff had knowledge of Defendants' copyright claims from the outset. Despite this knowledge, it developed potentially infringing material without resolution of the IP ownership issues, and then publicized the release of that material during the pendency of this action.  It now claims that its investment in Origins and reputation are on the line.

GIVEN THAT PLAINTIFF LARGELY CREATED THE FOREGOING PREDICAMENT, THE COURT IS DISINCLINED TO EXTRICATE PLAINTIFF FROM A PERIL OF ITS OWN MAKING."
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: January 01, 2019, 12:40:00 am
Brad is deleting posts not 100% pro-Stardock and banning the people who post them on the Star Control Origins Steam forum.
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Paul and Fred discuss SC2's development on: October 25, 2018, 03:22:27 am
Ah thanks. I appreciate the context.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Paul and Fred discuss SC2's development on: October 25, 2018, 02:49:27 am
Arstechnica kind of goes out on a limb a little bit even covering it. For a lawsuit of this magnitude, there's been remarkably little coverage. Very few websites seem to want to touch it with a ten foot pole. Youtube personalities too have shied away.

Honestly lawsuits are far less interesting than actual games.

Please don't take my deleting the rest of your post in the reply for not finding it interesting. I do. But I found this piece the most interesting so I wanted to isolate it in our discussion.

There's two pieces to this. First is if this is true in general, and second is if it is true specific to this situation.

I can't claim to know for sure in either case, but I lean towards essentially an answer that differentiates the general target market. Star Control Origins has been released. This is a fact. And yet, there's not a ton of discussion on that game here on a dedicated Star Control board.

That's interesting to me.In terms of Star Control news it's easily one of the most interesting and notable news items in quite a while, but what are we all talking about? Is there a thread dedicated to talking about Star Control: Origins? Or really, even a non-dedicated thread?

Now I should caveat that I'm a very infrequent contributor here to this community so maybe there's some policy that I'm unaware of that specifies that Origins is not germane to the general discussion board. But it does seem like more people are interested in the discussion of this lawsuit than an actual new Star Control game.
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Paul and Fred discuss SC2's development on: October 25, 2018, 12:49:13 am
This is focused on SC1/2, not the lawsuit or Ghosts.

I don't think you can really separate them at this point. This is a pretty heavy "P&F were the creators of SC1/2" article and interview.

Arstechnica kind of goes out on a limb a little bit even covering it. For a lawsuit of this magnitude, there's been remarkably little coverage. Very few websites seem to want to touch it with a ten foot pole. Youtube personalities too have shied away.

It's only an issue if they advertise themselves as the creators in the context of advertising or promoting Ghosts, where it ostensibly creates formal confusion between "I helped write the game code and setting" vs "I was the publisher". I don't think anyone watching this would be confused and think they were a publisher. And Stardock can't prevent them from talking about their previous work in an objective, biographical sense - they can only stop them from leveraging that as promotion for their new game.

(I'm not saying Stardock is right, merely that this doesn't even cross the line that Stardock themselves has drawn in the sand)

Legal issue vs. PR consideration

Essentially, this sort of article very definitely helps promote the idea that they are the creators behind Star Control 1/2. I'm not qualified to say how much of a legal impact it might have, but arstechnica basically allowing them to go on at length about the intellectual process they went through to produce (create) Star Control 1 and Star Control 2 certainly doesn't hurt the argument legally that they're widely considered to be the creators in the public square.

Does it help that argument legally? Damned if I know. Like I said, not qualified to say.

But I'd have to think that the website in question was at least aware of the ongoing litigation, and allowing them to do a long interview/article heavily hinting that they were the creators and walking their readers through the creation process is unlikely to be an accident.
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