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

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61  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase CafĂ© / Re: Why we should not strive for complete economic equality on: July 22, 2018, 11:44:23 am
EDIT: I now see the yellow link at the very bottom.

You seem to have a lot of problems with links. What kind of browser are you using?

That seems like an intentional derailment from a discussion about economics. Please refrain from that.
62  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 22, 2018, 06:59:28 am
I found the F&P are multi-millionaires bit kinda hilarious. Since Activision is a publicly traded company, you can easily look at the 10-K for that year and realize that the acquisition of TfB wasn't even a blip on their radar. I took a look at it a few years back and if memory serves I think it was low-mid seven figure deal, split to 3 owners, about 50-50 cash and stock. So, yeah, they probably made a cool million or two each (gross, with California taxes!), and I'm sure they're paid well as studio heads (though likely an order of magnitude or two less than the $12M a year the head of Blizzard makes), they're still as individuals probably nowhere near as well-off as Stardock, the company, or even Brad Wardell the person.

The money may not have gone entirely to those three people, and if a company takes in a lot of money but also spends a lot of money, they don't stand to make a large profit, there's still many other variables, which is something that is true for either Stardock or Toys for Bob. From an artistic standpoint, I don't know if that's even relevant though, because not wanting someone to mess with your creative works is a common feeling for someone in any income bracket. Even though Joss Whedon is rich, it doesn't mean he wants some random company to start changing all the stories in Buffy.

But, we don't actually know that Fred and Paul are rich anyway, that just seems to be a random claim Stardock throws in, I don't see proof of it anywhere. I guess their tax returns could be subpoenaed but Stardock is already having enough trouble getting the subpoena for the Singers claim.
63  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 22, 2018, 05:11:41 am
That's very odd then, when I originally clicked on that link it linked to a twitter post.

I'm quite sure that I have never in my life linked to a twitter post,

It's possible I opened another link without realizing it then only saw it after I clicked on your link.

From what I gather overall though, even though I can understand how Stardock might construe trademark infringement over that one Ghost of the Precursors post, it's also fair to say that artists have the right to simply reference their past work and Fred and Paul indicate in the post that they were just celebrating the anniversary of their story. Fred and Paul hadn't claimed Stardock's trademark, so when Stardock goes off on that vindictive rant in the complaint about how the evil Fred and Paul are doing everything just to deceive the public into hating Stardock, they're probably overreacting or dramatizing for profit.

On the other hand though, the DMCA was enforced because it is actually possible Stardock infringed on Fred and Paul's creative content by using their copyrighted material from what I see. It's understandable how there might have been confusion where it seemed Fred and Paul thought Stardock was trying to infringe on their literary universe, which Stardock was initially interested in, but ultimately chose a different universe. That wouldn't be correct of Fred and Paul currently, because Stardock should legitimately own the title SCO as an extension of the SC trademark, and if they don't, what did they pay $300,000 for?

That specific point may be murky from Fred and Paul's perspective though, because Stardock did originally try to beseech Fred and Paul about specifically using their alien races in the GalCiv III game which gives Fred and Paul the impression that SCO is a continuation of their original story, but it seems like Stardock was intent on respecting that rejection...until more recently.
64  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 22, 2018, 04:19:33 am
What do you mean? Elestan linked it at the top of his post. It's right there on courtlistener.com.

I don't mean a twitter post I mean the actual documents, and not the Accolade publisher agreement, but I might be misinterpreting something, if you want to link to it directly. But we also see the terms Stardock purchased the trademark under.

I wasn't talking about a twitter post. I was talking about

Quote
I think I might have just figured out how Stardock is trying to claim that the1988 agreement is still active.



That's very odd then, when I originally clicked on that link it linked to a twitter post.
65  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 21, 2018, 08:01:51 pm
What do you mean? Elestan linked it at the top of his post. It's right there on courtlistener.com.

I don't mean a twitter post I mean the actual documents, and not the Accolade publisher agreement, but I might be misinterpreting something, if you want to link to it directly. But we also see the terms Stardock purchased the trademark under.
66  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 21, 2018, 11:35:17 am
Not really. Because even then there are restrictions.  You can't yell fire in a theater.  You can't provoke others to commit a crime.  

There are obviously reasonable limits, as with any law. But, you have the right to criticize a person or legal entity without fear of prosecution. There are cases of libel, but that's very tricky to sort out and includes proving an intentionally untruthful statement that can also be proven to cause quantifiable damage to another party and it specifically excludes statements that are intentionally hyperbolic or unrealistic.
67  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 21, 2018, 10:58:18 am
I have no opinion other than Stardock is really trying hard to find possible loop holes in the 88 agreement to justify it still hasn't terminated.

Supposedly there wasn't actually an single "1988 agreement" but rather two. It's definitely a risk if Stardock also doesn't know, but Stardock is also confident that any alleged agreement never granted Fred and Paul the trademarks to the races and ships since usually no one trademarks every name used in a game. Either side could still win the trademark dispute to those races because either can argue that the races have a strong association with their brand, which is probably why both sides claim those races.


Brad has made comments implying that he thinks the PR firm is setting up sockpuppets on the various social media forums.
He had claimed FP intentionally tried to damage Stardock's reputation with outlandish statements and sockpuppets which seems somewhat unrealistic, but it wouldn't be impossible for a PR firm to do that on their own, many PF firms use tactics like that. Not that it's entirely relevant since Stardock originally supported the Ghost of the Precursors though, but Stardock's biggest claim in all this, besides the trademark to "Star Control," is trademark infringement. Fred and Paul thought it would be fair to advertise the "Star Control" title when they originally released their Ghost of the Precursors purely as a reference to their past work (and they've already gotten rid of that title image), which artists are in fact allowed to do.

Stardock argues that people then confuse elements of Stardock's Star Control: Origins for elements of Ghost of the Precursors which constitutes trademark infringement. That on its own is reasonable at first, I was somewhat confused too, but, Fred and Paul have repeated stated that they don't want the Star Control trademark and so it seems to be a misunderstanding on Stardock's part, not to mention Fred and Paul have the right to celebrate the anniversary of their story.
68  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 20, 2018, 10:01:20 pm
Stardock has applied for Trademarks in Pkunk, Ur Quan Masters, Precursors, Chenjesu... the whole gamut. Add that to their (more credible) Trademark in "Star Control", and there's almost no way for Paul and Fred to so much as talk about their new game without potentially infringing Stardock's alleged Trademarks.
They are trying to trademark the races because Stardock considers those races to be part of the SC trademark that they purchased, or at least that they can enforce it being more closely associated with their brand than Fred and Paul's. Fred and Paul seem to disagree with that as it is associated with their original creative content, and although Stardock is confident in their side, their company never actually bothered to trademark those names before recently, though it doesn't seem Fred and Paul did either.

However, because no one laid claims to the specific trademarks for the races previously, or allegedly I should say, it's still rational for Stardock to use those races, but only as a DLC because they can get away with it until they're ordered to stop if they ever are. They won't get fined since the Fred and Paul's original claims to those races are still being disputed. Then, even if Stardock loses the trademark claims, it won't affect their sales because they can just release a statement that says something akin to "due to the unspeakable tyranny of Fred and Paul, we have been ordered to take these wonderful races you love from our game." so that they retain a positive reputation among their player base.  
69  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 20, 2018, 11:44:51 am
It is always cute when people cry "freedom of speech" on the internet.  This is all private property here.  You have as much freedom as the owners or their proxies (such as Death, a Moderator) allow you to have.
That's not really the dispute. A moderator can delete whatever they like, but no one will win a suit against anyone here for anything they said. Freedom of speech isn't protection from private property, it's protection from prosecution.
70  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 19, 2018, 10:45:51 pm
Rather, normally this particular statement would be wrong but it'd be hard to tell because something else would entitle them to all the creative content.

Also, you keep mis-spelling copyright as 'copywrite'. It's the right-to-copy, not something to do with writing.

From what I understand, the two are normally sold together, but in this instance with SC they weren't, so Stardock should only have the right to the SC trademark, not the artistic content. You're right I misspelled it, I'm used to writing it that way from communicating with ad agencies and graphic designers, but it should be copyright.
71  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 19, 2018, 05:49:20 am
They just don't want it to use any of their setting.
Which is also exactly what the fan base wants, which is perfectly compatible with SCO succeeding.

I've seen issues people bring up with SCO that they're using knockoffs of the original Arilou and Chenjesu and possibly the Spathi, which they don't need at all since they definitely bought the SC trademark and Fred and Paul didn't want it. Stardock has a chance to pull those races out before SCO is released, but if they don't, I hope the law makes them.

If GotP was truly the passion project that Paul and Fred claim it to be, they should have had those elements designed in their free time YEARS ago.
I have no expectations that they have anything done when they've just started,
Well, that is a part this issue, whether or not they actually had "plans" for it, which Stardock calls into question in order to argue Ghost of the Precursors is just a facade. After 20+ years though, that's not unreasonable to point out. However, many game publishers negotiate either some kind of non-compete clause in their contracts with developers or an exclusivity agreement, so it is also possible Fred and Paul literally couldn't make any new content for an outside game even if they wanted without it being owned by Activision or being slapped with a huge fine. Fred and Paul never needed the SC trademark though which is why they turned it down, because the SC trademark is separate from the artistic content, and the CEO didn't understand that.
72  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 19, 2018, 05:03:55 am
However, I don't see that they claim to have created every single thing themselves in the first place, and it's uncommon for a creator to claim they did every piece of dirty work. They were in charge of making most of the decisions, wrote most of the story, and were generally trusted with all of creative content by the Accolade staff, much like how a creator employed by a network would be trusted with creating a TV series. Even if they didn't physically make everything themselves, which rarely happens except with indie projects, they are responsible for shaping the original game into what it was, so it still makes sense that they are the original creators of the game.
I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding the relationship between Toys for Bob (aka Paul and Fred) and Accolade. From what I understand, TfB was the game studio, owned by P&F, meaning that P&F had control over creative content not by the grace of Accolade but because they had the top position in the company. Accolade, then, is the publisher, who licensed the game from TfB in order to sell it. It's more a contract between equals rather than an employer-employee type of contract.

Well, let me put it this way: 20th Century Fox owned the TV show "The Simpsons," but Matt Groening is still the "creator" of the show. The creator status is independent from who owns the brand which is what Stardock is attacking in one of their claims and what seems to be what you're hinting at. From what I understand though, Fred and Paul made an additional effort to negotiate with Accolade the rights to make sales with the content that happened to be used in the original SC series, so Fred and Paul should legitimately already hold the copywrite to all the content that was used in the original SC series anyway. Licensing does exist, but variations of licensing like exclusive sublicensing do too, so I doubt Accolade's original goal was to obtain only a non-exclusive agreement, but if they did, that would only make Fred and Paul's case stronger.

When I read Stardock's claims objectively, it still seems odd how audacious they are. They're claiming they literally own everything, even Ghost of the Precursors, despite never having anything to do with any of its creation, and then they're claiming all of this despite that they will continue making a profit from SCO regardless of if Fred and Paul validate their copywrite which means they have less grounds to win the trademark claims.
73  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 19, 2018, 04:53:38 am
Even if Stardock lost the Trademark -- which is possible but unlikely -- it just means that no one has the exclusive right to use it. Which means everyone can use it, including Stardock.
Possibly, or possibly not, apparently it's possible it can be ruled that no one can use it, though that's very unlikely.


If Stardock has risked anything, it's actually including those original aliens in the new game. That's something they could be enjoined from doing, and could mean losing their release date. Just to be cynical for a second, and let's just say Stardock is doing this on purpose, so that they might be painted the victim. Has anyone actually seen the original aliens in the game itself, or is it all concept art?


Yes, Paul and Fred stand to lose a lot more, so it's good they have a stronger case for their desired outcome. If they do lose the copywrite validation though, then they do have to dispute each trademark claim with Stardock which is there the funding is more important, because that will be a battle for the trademark to every single race, one at a time. Clearly Stardock has the funding to raise claims to all those trademarks, but Fred and Paul may not have the funding to dispute those claims, so Stardock would get them by default.
74  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 19, 2018, 04:12:35 am
In the interest of factual information, I'd be curious to see what P&F's most supportive comment to Stardock has been. Their support reminds me a lot of the girl who says "let's be friends" than someone who actually wants anything to do with them.
Fred and Paul definitely did want to set some distance between themselves and Stardock when you look at their correspondance, but that's not unreasonable. If someone you've never met asks if you want to go skydiving with them, it's more than fine for you to say "no." If anything, Stardock was wrong to keep aggressively pestering them about projects.

Stardock thinks that owning the SC trademark entitles them to all the creative content that was originally associated with it. Normally, they would be right, but because the content was negotiated separately from the SC trademark by Fred and Paul prior to auction, e.g. Star Control is different than UQM, an agreement which was then illegally violated before Stardock bought the SC trademark, Stardock's assumption is incorrect.
If I grab a picture of a nebula from NASA's website and stick it into my telescope manual, I don't spontaneously hold the copyright to that nebula no matter how many telescopes I sell and therefore I do not have the right to grant anyone else exclusive use over that picture either.

This is why people need to actually read critically. You can't just take anyone's assertions at face value. And frankly, Stardock has said more things that aren't borne out by the evidence, and that seem to be directly contradicted by evidence, let alone common sense.
On the surface, Stardock is worried most about their SC trademark and allegedly IP rights to GalCiv even though they'll never lose that either. They state Paul and Fred are after it, despite that they never wanted the SC trademark in the first place. Losing SCO might just bankrupt Stardock since they sunk 5 years into it, so if there's any perceived threat to it then they will take it seriously.

However, the chances of Stardock losing their SC trademark are incredibly low and after this much time they should know that, so they could just be throwing around this dispute to draw attention to the game in order to make more sales. They already know that fans will naturally side with Paul and Fred, so they want to paint themselves as a victim in order to get ahead of accusations of wrong doing.
75  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 19, 2018, 12:39:54 am
No I'm not here trolling.  I'm calling those who are being Social Justice Warriors and the cult they indoctrinate the trolls.

Doesn't sound so bad to fight for social justice. Especially not if you live in a country where women or homosexuals are discriminated against by law, or even if you live in a country where men are discriminated against by law...

Some people take it out of hand as an excuse to troll which I think is what the fear was.
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