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

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Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 64375 times)
CessnaFighter
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #405 on: April 08, 2018, 09:18:36 pm »

Hi All,

I again want to hand my support to frogboy on this matter. I mean if you look at the case from a far, think on how would you feel on the whole matter.

I mean thinking on how P&F handled the whole starting of a new game,  knowing that Stardock had spent millions on their new game and as far as I have seen, they (Stardock) were very open towards P&F on the progress and development of their game. Stardock gave a lot of good options on how they could have proceeded together, which were declined.

After years of doing that, I personally would be very frustrated and I really have to raise a hat for you on keeping it so calm in here.

And yes l, I might be new to this forum and I don’t have any legal experience. But this is my opinion.

Really hope that you guys win the case and get to develop a kick ass game.
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Krulle
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #406 on: April 08, 2018, 10:25:00 pm »

I value Frogboys input very much, and understand he is simply ignoring some open questions.

But, regarding his argument that any Attorney tells you that this (Elestans and my conclusions) are not how trademark law works, when we discuss the alleged trademark infringement, and the status of the licensing part of the 1988 agreement is not helpful if no further arguments are brought forward.
As most attorneys freely admit, an attorney gives you the opinion you pay him for.

And while I fully understand Frogboy not answering some open questions, he's been most forward with a large part of the discussion.

But others entering the discussion, and not bringing forward an argument while stating the other side is wrong for all of their conclusions, is making me question the motives.
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CessnaFighter
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #407 on: April 08, 2018, 11:11:41 pm »

Indeed Krulle, you have valid points.

I’m new in here. I really got to know that there is a ongoing dispute just few weeks back and I have been trying to visualise who is correct and who is not. I just think that it seemed so obvious that Stardock’s approach was correct so it seemed a bit harsh to see the “other” side so strong in here.

I definitely am with you on Elenstans approach and would really much like to see that level of discussion promoted on this matter, he is not taking a side without really looking into it and even though he might not be a lawyer, he sure is in a position to give an opinion. As I would think I am. And everyone else.

Maybe in the end I was disappointed just overall on returning to such a great game which really changed my thinking of games and seeing that it is under a (sorry to say) childish dispute. I think both sides should have handled the whole matter more adult.

Maybe this community could just focus on bringing back the project on building a sequel as open source ? Smiley

Yeah.. I’ll just quietly sit and wait what happens on this and enjoy some Ur Quan Masters on the way Wink
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Death 999
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #408 on: April 09, 2018, 12:40:48 am »

Quote
There's an abundance of ad hominem here lately.

Lately? Check out the very first page of this thread.

It sometimes comes across that there are two sets of rules here.

Would you like to be more specific? Two users have been warned for being aggressive against you, and two for being aggressive on your side. I have kept an eye on the kinds of criticism aimed at you, and to the best of my ability have applied the same requirements to both sides.

So I would really like to know just what sets of rules you think are being applied.



I just think that it seemed so obvious that Stardock’s approach was correct so it seemed a bit harsh to see the “other” side so strong in here.

I'm curious what seems so correct about attempting to trademark, say, Yehat.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 01:02:26 am by Death 999 » Logged
Lakstoties
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #409 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/
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Soul Reaver
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #410 on: April 09, 2018, 01:40:41 am »

If we didn't want Paul and Fred to continue their story, we would have had the Ur-Quan and Spathi and so on in Star Control: Origins from the start.  

No. Trademarks do not include characters, stories, UI, themes, sounds, impressions.  

Copyright can cover some of these things, like characters, stories, music.  Stardock has no rights to the specific characters in Star Control II or the story or the music.

Brad, this is from some time ago, but the above two comments - both on the same page - show one of the sources of the major problems that prevent an amicable settlement between yourselves and F&P.

In the second statement, you say that Stardock has "no rights to the specific characters in Star Control II or the story or the music".

In your first statement, you talk as if it is only through your generosity/kindness that they aren't included in Star Control: Origins.  You said "If WE didn't want", as if it were an option.

Those two positions are contradictory (unless, of course, you're advocating knowingly infringing on F&Ps copyright?).  It's statements like your first one that F&P fear the most: that you don't respect or acknowledge their 'ownership' of the Star Control/Star Control 2 story/characters, that somehow you think you have a say over their future - in effect, statements like your first one make it sound like you believe you have rights to their IP.  A number of Stardock's actions seem to reflect a view that you do in fact somehow own that IP (ie, the various trademark filings make for those characters/story elements - why would you trademark them if you believe the IP was owned by someone else?).

And regardless of anything else that may be happening and/or they may have done to you, on the copyright ownership of the stories/characters I still believe F&P are legally in the right.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 01:49:10 am by Soul Reaver » Logged

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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #411 on: April 09, 2018, 01:52:58 am »

Those two positions are contradictory

Not necessarily.  A recent discussion here suggested that race names are not subject to copyright.  If this is correct, then I think he could put creatures called Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC:O...as long as he didn't make them similar enough to the Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC2 for a court to say that he was copying creative elements protected by Paul's copyright.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #412 on: April 09, 2018, 02:13:32 am »

Those two positions are contradictory

Not necessarily.  A recent discussion here suggested that race names are not subject to copyright.  If this is correct, then I think he could put creatures called Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC:O...as long as he didn't make them similar enough to the Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC2 for a court to say that he was copying creative elements protected by Paul's copyright.

There's an interesting Forbes article here about the trademark vs copyright:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverherzfeld/2012/11/08/protecting-fictional-characters-could-you-legally-write-a-new-harry-potter-novel/#53eb3e5e2230

I'd say an number of the aliens in Star Control 2 pass the 'distinctive' test pretty well (The Ur-Quan among them).  Some of the other, lesser developed or intentionally more 'generic' aliens (eg, Syreen) perhaps less so.
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Lakstoties
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #413 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
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #414 on: April 09, 2018, 02:39:54 am »

If we didn't want Paul and Fred to continue their story, we would have had the Ur-Quan and Spathi and so on in Star Control: Origins from the start.  

No. Trademarks do not include characters, stories, UI, themes, sounds, impressions.  

Copyright can cover some of these things, like characters, stories, music.  Stardock has no rights to the specific characters in Star Control II or the story or the music.

Brad, this is from some time ago, but the above two comments - both on the same page - show one of the sources of the major problems that prevent an amicable settlement between yourselves and F&P.

In the second statement, you say that Stardock has "no rights to the specific characters in Star Control II or the story or the music".

In your first statement, you talk as if it is only through your generosity/kindness that they aren't included in Star Control: Origins.  You said "If WE didn't want", as if it were an option.

Those two positions are contradictory (unless, of course, you're advocating knowingly infringing on F&Ps copyright?).  It's statements like your first one that F&P fear the most: that you don't respect or acknowledge their 'ownership' of the Star Control/Star Control 2 story/characters, that somehow you think you have a say over their future - in effect, statements like your first one make it sound like you believe you have rights to their IP.  A number of Stardock's actions seem to reflect a view that you do in fact somehow own that IP (ie, the various trademark filings make for those characters/story elements - why would you trademark them if you believe the IP was owned by someone else?).

And regardless of anything else that may be happening and/or they may have done to you, on the copyright ownership of the stories/characters I still believe F&P are legally in the right.

There's no contradiction here.  Trademarks and copyrights are different things.  

It was out of generosity that we didn't include the Spathi, Ur-Quan, etc. in the new games.  They have no special rights to aliens with those names, only copyrights to the parts they can show they created.

For four years, we took lumps for not having Ur-Quan and Spathi and Orz in the Star Control reboot.  People on this very forum have said "Why even call it Star Control if you won't have the Orz or Syreen?".  That's how strongly people associate those names with the Star Control brand. So yes, it was extremely generous that we didn't include aliens with those names.

But as soon as they decided to try to cancel the Star Control trademark (and I've seen some interpretation that their intention is actually to simply claim it for themselves), essentially, an attempt to kill our project, I didn't see any reason to keep doing them any favors.  

Future Star Control games will have the Spathi, Ur-Quan, etc.  They will not contain anything that would violate any copyrights that Paul and Fred may have.  Our Spathi and Orz and such will be expressed very differently due to being in an obviously different universe.  

They are welcome to oppose those trademarks just as they were welcome to try to cancel our Star Control trademark.  We will provide generous licensing terms for the use of our marks to encourage new games in what we refer to as the Ur-Quan universe though those terms will be less generous depending on their level of opposition.

@Soul Reaver:  The distinctive test has nothing to do with the name. It is a test for the character (character names are not protected by copyright).  


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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #415 on: April 09, 2018, 02:56:31 am »

Those two positions are contradictory

Not necessarily.  A recent discussion here suggested that race names are not subject to copyright.  If this is correct, then I think he could put creatures called Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC:O...as long as he didn't make them similar enough to the Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC2 for a court to say that he was copying creative elements protected by Paul's copyright.

Correct.  And only those creatures that Paul (or Fred) created. 

Just as Paul and Fred didn't create the music or any copyright on it, there is no reason to believe they own, for example, anything about the Orz.  Or the Syreen, or any other alien in the game beyond lore and story that is considered distinctive enough to be covered under copyright. 

In Paul's notes, I saw what appears to be a bit of their version of a Spathi.  What's interesting (and Paul and Fred alluded to this in one of their IRC chats) is that Accolade appeared to be trying to make their versions of the the aliens distinctive enough to fall outside the copyrights Paul and Fred might have.  For example, the Spathi in SC2 have what appear to be mechanical arms.  The Spathi in SC3 appear to have organic arms and look very different -- not in a good way.  I don't know if that was Accolade's intent or just...blech, part of the SC3 art direction.  But the IRC chats I read gave me the impression that Paul and Fred believed that Accolade was intentionally trying to move SC away from Paul and Fred's copyrights.  Not legally meaningful here but still interesting that Accolade seemed to go out of their way to make the aliens look so different.

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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #416 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.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #417 on: April 09, 2018, 03:25:01 am »

From the USPTO site,  Basic Facts 02: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cIBcl7dD4w
That was a bit more basic than we need here; fictional names seem to be relatively close to the border between trademark and copyright territory, so we need sources more specific to that topic.


Thank you; that led me to the Wikipedia article that probably has the most information on the topic.  It's seeming like names are generally in trademark territory, but they are close enough to being copyrightable that they can qualify if they pass certain tests that (to me) look pretty subjective.  I'm also not clear on how the tests for particular fictional characters would translate into tests for fictional races.  What this leads me to think is that Paul&Fred might have some grounds to claim copyright on some of the races, but it's not a sure thing one way or the other, and might go different ways for different races.  In other words, it'll be a messy court fight, with the jury having to make a bunch of subjective calls.

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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #418 on: April 09, 2018, 03:43:18 am »

A recent discussion here suggested that race names are not subject to copyright.  If this is correct, then I think he could put creatures called Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC:O...as long as he didn't make them similar enough to the Spathi and Ur-Quan in SC2 for a court to say that he was copying creative elements protected by Paul's copyright.
Correct.

When you give me actionable information, I do update my views, and try to inform people appropriately.  Give me more, and see what happens.  :-)

Quote
And only those creatures that Paul (or Fred) created.

...or that were created by people who have assigned P&F the copyright, either long ago or recently.  I have to believe that they've been talking to all of the people who worked on the original project, and getting copyright assignments from any who are willing to provide them.
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #419 on: April 09, 2018, 03:44:24 am »

I think people associate names very strongly.  That's why trademarks are so valuable.

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.

The Orz, Spathi, Ur-Quan are all very strongly associated with the Star Control brand.  It's not circumventing anyone's copyright.

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.




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