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Author Topic: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark  (Read 30923 times)
FakeMccoy
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #75 on: September 07, 2013, 05:28:28 pm »

If you're talking about the artwork, script or sounds, then yes you're right, which is what I was trying to say before. You can take care of that with a document you sign to waive your intellectual rights or a document to transfer legal ownership or copywriter holdings to the Stardock company. It doesn't make sense for Stardock to use everything, like the 2-D art, but if they modified the script for the planet generator they can make some high-res planet textures. In fact if Nico can update the p6014
script to implament more complex prelin-noise algorythms that are very close to photoshop's I can give the command for noise and alterations in a particular order that will generate a much more high-res and realistic looking texture.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 05:33:01 pm by FakeMccoy » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #76 on: September 07, 2013, 08:40:52 pm »

Quote
the script for the planet generator

Is the code under the GPL? Anyone using that license or any other copyleft license who as any integrity would refuse to give an exception to Stardock.
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FakeMccoy
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #77 on: September 07, 2013, 09:35:10 pm »

Not sure what game you're talking about, I'm talking about star control that hasn't had a sequel or prequel  for like 20 years.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #78 on: September 09, 2013, 08:49:56 am »

I removed all the off-topic posts in this thread; please stay on topic.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #79 on: October 08, 2013, 10:58:09 pm »

And it's somewhat pointless to make a game that's "another reality" because if you assume there's one alternate reality then you have to assume there's infinite number of possible alternate realities because there's nothing stopping the probability of other realities from existing, so how come you aren't making games for all of those realities too?
Are you proposing someone should make an infinite number of games? Tongue

Why pick that one specific reality?
There doesn't have to be a reason. It's arbitrary.

And why not make many many others if the intent is the be an alternate reality game?
This question doesn't even make sense. If you're making a game that's an alternate timeline relative to another game, it's just as arbitrary as the previous choice. Again you seem to be suggesting people should make an infinite number of games.

Why would so many parts be based off of SC2 if the intent was to be a different reality?
Why would making a game intended to be a different reality preclude them from basing things on SC2?

As for your idiocy about the lack of a sequel... you're saying the lack of an official sequel means that P6014 must be the official timeline, which doesn't follow at all. It's an alternate timeline simply because it's not official. The lack of an official sequel in the main timeline is totally irrelevant.
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rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #80 on: February 25, 2018, 09:55:50 pm »

I'm afraid the Paul connection is old. Note the Atari party: "Accolade"
My bet is that this refers to Accolade licensing the Star Control IP to make Star Control 3, with the $0.00 meaning that no more payments are due.

I do hope that Stardock realise what they got (and what they didn't). They may now own the Star Control trademark and the SC3-specific IP, but Atari did not own the SC2 IP.
If Stardock wants to make a game including any of the SC2 races or plot points, they will still need to make a deal with Paul and Fred (unless they already did).

And considering that Paul and Fred have on numerous occasions stated that they still want to make a sequel to SC2 and that they still talk about SC3 game ideas among themselves, it's not likely that they will let another party make a true sequel.
And with the Stardock people being Star Control fans, they will not want to make a sequel based on the Star Control 3 IP.

So these are the scenario's which I came up with:
  • Stardock thought they got the SC2 IP, but didn't. Ouch. I hope they didn't pay too much.
  • Stardock were only interested in the Star Control trademark. This is probably not it, as Brad Wardell claims to be excited by the purchase.
  • Stardock are actually working with TFB. Maybe they were even enlisted by TFB to make the purchase. Still, all that excitement about just the trademark?

My money is on the first scenario.

Also, I don't know what it would mean if Atari's Star Control trademark claim would be judged invalid, considering that the extension to the registration was based on token use.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2018, 10:37:24 pm »

https://www.screencast.com/t/uixGUE0h

Quote from: Paul Reiche & Brad Wardell
On Wed, OCt 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM, Paul Reiche <email snipped, it's in the screenshot> wrote:

Hi Brad,

As always, sorry for the tardy response.  One question Fred and I have - what are the total Star Control rights and assets you acquired from Atari?

Thanks,

- Paul

On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM, Brad Wardell <email snipped> wrote:

Hi Paul,

What we received was the trademark and all of Accolade's publishing rights for the original trilogy (i.e. the ability to sell, distribute, market and promote) plus all code and assets for Star Control 3.

Brad

On Oct 22, 2013, at 5:55 PM, Pal Reiche <snipped> wrote:

Hi Brad,

What was your cost on the trademark and publishing rights to SC1-3?

Thanks,

- Paul

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But go ahead and trust random forum posters to inform your ideas of legal outcomes.  That'll end well.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:39:39 pm by vok3 » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #82 on: February 25, 2018, 11:07:40 pm »

Appreciate you trying to keep everyone's head on the law. Just trying to make the point -- the truth has been out there for at least 5 years.

We see consistently that Paul and Fred own the copyright to the first two games, including every creation in it.

And we see consistently that Stardock contracted to buy the trademark (or what's left of it, depending on the validity of the extension), plus whatever derivative copyrights there are in SC3.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 12:26:40 am by rosepatel » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2018, 03:29:42 am »

We see consistently that they own the IP within it.  Stardock's claim (as I understand it) is that part of what they purchased was a license to sell and distribute the games - a license with no termination.  The quoted email exchange seems to support that - Wardell is talking about having purchased distribution and marketing rights, Reiche doesn't argue.  Paul Reiche and Fred Ford were the ones to issue the DMCA takedown, which, if the email exchange quoted is correct, appears to be something they might not have had the right to do.  Take it out of the Star Control context for a moment: you have a company, you've bought a property which - as you understand it - includes the right to sell certain things digitally.  So you do that.  Then somebody starts throwing DMCA takedowns at you, on - as far as you can tell - fraudulent bases.  What else is there to do besides lawsuit at that point?

I'm not saying I like seeing lawsuits flying here.  I'm not saying Stardock can't possibly have done anything wrong.  I AM saying that I can see it's very possible or indeed probable they think they're doing perfectly reasonable things in the interests of SC and are suddenly getting whacked by a two-by-four out of left field for doing things that, as far as they can see, they think they have a perfect right to do and paid good money for.

I can also see how and why Reiche & Ford might not want someone else capitalizing on their work if they think that other party doesn't have a right to do so - and also how Stardock, in full admiration of what Reiche & Ford created, could talk about it in positive terms, in the context of what they've bought and hope to accomplish, without expecting it to be taken badly - even if they're wrong in that expectation.  But that's the whole point of having a legal dispute and getting it settled in a courtroom in the first place - to figure out what's what, and who actually has what rights.

I don't see any bad guys here.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #84 on: February 26, 2018, 04:35:19 am »

The only bad guys I can see for sure are the lousy lawyers Stardock has who thought that their first claim was a good idea to include. Its sheer implausibility and audaciousness puts the rest of their claims in a poor light.
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CelticMinstrel
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #85 on: February 27, 2018, 02:50:34 am »

But go ahead and trust random forum posters to inform your ideas of legal outcomes.  That'll end well.
I'm just amused to see you describe the administrator of this forum as a "random forum poster".
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Death 999
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #86 on: February 27, 2018, 02:56:05 pm »

But go ahead and trust random forum posters to inform your ideas of legal outcomes.  That'll end well.
I'm just amused to see you describe the administrator of this forum as a "random forum poster".

I'm not a lawyer, though, and for that point, it's what matters.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #87 on: February 27, 2018, 04:34:32 pm »

But go ahead and trust random forum posters to inform your ideas of legal outcomes.  That'll end well.
I'm just amused to see you describe the administrator of this forum as a "random forum poster".

The point still stands though. Serge has no connection to P&F besides being handed the code to what became UQM and a few correspondence between them and Chris Nelson.
None of us are lawyers here, including him. He wouldn't know exactly what Stardock bought unless he was shown the full documentation.

All of us here are pretty much arguing out of our collective asses over the posts by Fred & Paul. And their focus on things that don't exactly pertain to the case.
It's highly likely Stardock will lose the creator debate, but Stardock isn't taking them to court over SC1&2, they're taking them to court for trying to associate Ghosts of the Precursors with Star Control.

Nobody seems to be talking about that last bit, just the emotional crap that P&F post on their blog.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #88 on: February 27, 2018, 05:02:01 pm »

I was actually talking about the crap that Stardock is posting publicly, that somehow Paul and Fred didn't create the game, and don't own the copyright.

Quote from: Stardock

... and then he links to his own website.

Meanwhile, you have literal employees who worked on Star Control 2 saying "hey, it's nice of you to give us credit, but this was Paul and Fred's game".

Anyway, most of us aren't commenting based on feelings. (Oh my god, the creators have a FEELING about being sued into dispossession of their game! What terrible human beings.)

I, for one, was actually digging into the legal documents.

For example, the 1988 Accolade agreement on page 30 here.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 05:04:40 pm by rosepatel » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #89 on: February 27, 2018, 05:38:58 pm »

The point still stands though. Serge has no connection to P&F besides being handed the code to what became UQM and a few correspondence between them and Chris Nelson.
None of us are lawyers here, including him. He wouldn't know exactly what Stardock bought unless he was shown the full documentation.

All of us here are pretty much arguing out of our collective asses over the posts by Fred & Paul. And their focus on things that don't exactly pertain to the case.
It's highly likely Stardock will lose the creator debate, but Stardock isn't taking them to court over SC1&2, they're taking them to court for trying to associate Ghosts of the Precursors with Star Control.

Nobody seems to be talking about that last bit, just the emotional crap that P&F post on their blog.
We've mostly been going by the text of the legal complaints and the documents contained within, plus public statements by Stardock and others. The "creator" stuff is obviously an attempt by Stardock to marginalize Fred and Paul from associating themselves with Star Control 2 in any meaningful way, even though "from the creators of X" is regularly used in marketing. It's an absolutely absurd point, especially when contradicted by people who actually were actually there helping with the game. The fact that Stardock was probably ramping up for questioning their authorship since at least November with the 25th anniversary post makes them look really bad.

Stardock has clearly been doing some shady stuff and seemed to be trying to muscle Fred and Paul out of their IP as much as they can get away with before this went public and maybe even before Ghosts was announced. Like ordering them to cancel the GOG agreement (as Wardell has publicly said) - if they want to be the adults in the room and defuse tensions, why would they do that? In addition to selling the old games, their use of Orz and Spathi in marketing Origins is copyright infringement if the license has expired (let's set aside the comm screen for the moment). If Stardock doesn't have a license, Fred and Paul would have the basis of a legal complaint even if Stardock hadn't sued first.

Not long ago, Wardell was saying he had a license that not only gave him the right to distribute the games, but that he essentially had carte blanche to make a sequel or anything he wanted with the Ur-quan universe and chose not to only by his good graces. This looks very difficult to support by a straightforward reading of the contracts (NAL), and they appear to have backed down on it now. I've come to the conclusion that Wardell's reasonableness is largely a facade - he's just quite good at PR. And I've defended Stardock in the past too; I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.


EDIT:

Took a closer look at the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter I linked to earlier, which is a game from "the creators of Ultima Underworld" by people who do not own the Ultima trademark. It is interesting for another reason:
Quote
Far more than a dungeon crawl, Underworld Ascendant is a next-generation sequel to the legendary fantasy RPG’s Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2.
Quote
Get drawn into an epic story with ties to the original Ultima Underworld games.
Quote
Is this a “spiritual successor” to Ultima Underworld? Is it Ultima Underworld 3? Or what?

Underworld Ascendant is a genuine part of the Underworld series. We have the rights to use all of the elements of the original Underworld games, except for the Ultima brand itself. The characters, monsters, settings, and stories from the original Underworld games are all available for us.
So actually a pretty similar situation in more ways than one (Ultima Underworld 1 and SC2 even came out the same year). And they not only associated it with the first two Ultima Underworld games but explicitly called it a sequel. EA, owner of the Ultima trademark, did not protest. I don't know how much this would count as a precedent in a court of law, but it's definitely an interesting parallel that makes Stardock's position look worse. Neither of us are experts in TM law but Stardock seems to be making some pretty expansive claims to what their trademark means.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 08:07:57 pm by Mormont » Logged
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