The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
May 20, 2019, 12:48:51 pm
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Paul Reiche and Fred Ford want to continue the story they started when they created Star Control II — The Ur-Quan Masters. «Happy days and jubilation!» «But wait!» «There is something wrong here... something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.» «Please, Captain, we need your help!»

+  The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum
|-+  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release
| |-+  General UQM Discussion (Moderator: Death 999)
| | |-+  My take on Stardock
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 51 52 [53] 54 55 ... 68 Print
Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 52487 times)
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #780 on: May 17, 2018, 03:39:54 am »

Respecting Brad's request not to 'internet lawyer' on his forum, I will respond here instead.

Quote
Can you then agree that regardless of whether the trademark covers it or not that copyright certainly does not?

On individual names by themselves, 100% agree.

Quote
That is, no matter how you slice it, Star Control games will have Star Control aliens in them even if they are visually represented in a new way and fly in ships with a new take on the weapons and ship design.  There's no way to prevent that from happening.

In aggregate, no longer clear and I wouldn't want to call it. If I were a juror, having all the races at once, in a space game, looks like "Obvious ... attempts to give the appearance of dissimilarity".  "Arilou" is fine. An "Arilou" cameo is probably something you can get away with. All of them together looks extremely suspicious.

Quote
So to recap:

1. Stardock owns the registered trademark to Star Control (in countless countries, not just the USA).
2. Star Control has been used continuously in commerce in association with the classic games during the entire time Stardock has owned the IP.
3. A third party, particularly a competitor, cannot use your mark to create a false association (like, literally calling yourself a "direct" sequel).

Agree.

Quote
4. A trademark is designed to prevent confusion between products. You associate your goods and services with your mark to distinguish your goods and services (like aliens and branded features) from a competitor's.

Disagree. You use your trademark to associate your goods and services (which might be identical to someone else's) with yourself. An important distinction.

Quote
5. Trademarks control how copyrights are used in commerce.  A trademark doesn't give you the right to redistribute someone else's copyright but it can be used to prevent the copyright holder from using their copyrights in commerce outside the trademark (see item 4).

Disagree. Trademarks control marks. Trademark wants to know what kind of goods it is (computer game), and then stops caring.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #781 on: May 17, 2018, 03:42:00 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...

If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).
Logged
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #782 on: May 17, 2018, 03:47:50 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...

If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).

As I've responded over at Stardock: They had time to arrange a copyright license to GoG, they could easily have arranged a trademark license.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #783 on: May 17, 2018, 04:37:58 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...
If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).

As I've responded over at Stardock: They had time to arrange a copyright license to GoG, they could easily have arranged a trademark license.

Ah, so use the GoG sales to keep the trademark alive until they had the chance to use it?  Sure, I think that could have worked...if P&F had the money at the time.  That was early days of Skylanders, so they might not have.
Logged
rosepatel
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #784 on: May 17, 2018, 05:02:51 am »

Elestan is right. They probably had their own reasons for not wanting to buy the Trademark -- too expensive, not ready to use it, not really sure it was valid -- but 300k is looking like a bargain right now. They could have paid that and then kept the TM alive on the old games alone. Both parties will spend more than that just on lawyers.

There's a ton of shoulda coulda woulda and it goes both ways. This isn't a criticism, because a good amount of this only makes sense in hindsight.

P&F should have bought the Trademark from Stardock, or at least made an offer. Even a lowball one.
Hell, P&F should have given it a shot at the bankruptcy auction. Stardock might have backed off, just as fans.
Stardock should been up front with fans that P&F declined all collaborations.
P&F should have registered their Trademark in Ur Quan Masters long ago.
Stardock shouldn't have tried to tie P&F's Copyright into their "multiverse".
Stardock should have read the 1988 Agreement before they bought it.
P&F should have been more careful with their GOTP announcement.
If Stardock really thought the GOTP announcement was a problem, they shouldn't have echoed and amplified it.
Stardock shouldn't have sold P&F's games without their permission.
P&F should have sent more evidence about the expiry of the 1988 Agreement.
Stardock should have just agreed with P&F to split the IP down Copyright/Trademark, instead of insisting on selling the games.
P&F should have hired a more tactful PR firm.
Stardock's PR manager should do his job and save the CEO from his approach to public relations.
Stardock shouldn't use the lawsuit as a pretense to now do everything they said they wouldn't do.
Stardock should legitimately go back to the negotiating table in good faith.
And if Stardock really believes they have done this huge investment by building all the interest in Star Control, maybe they should have just done that for their own franchise, and avoided this whole mess.

I don't think the "shoulda woulda coulda" are equivalent for both sides. But yeah, there's plenty of that in hindsight.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 05:07:55 am by rosepatel » Logged
Serosis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1286



View Profile WWW
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #785 on: May 17, 2018, 05:22:16 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...

If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).

They could have sat on it for as long as they wanted since Stardock would have kept the trademark alive with Origins.
They could have said, "Hold onto it for us for the time being and we'll buy it off you when we get our next available window of opportunity".

There were a veritable smorgasbord of options that P&F and Stardock could have pursued so both games got made.
Unfortunately they chose to go down the only path with legal disputes.
Logged

The artist formerly known as Kohr-Ah Death.

Get your MegaMod HERE
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #786 on: May 17, 2018, 05:54:32 am »

Stardock could have (and still can) write off P&Fs use of the words "STAR CONTROL" as nominative fair use, but Brad is unable to let go of the alien races. Neither are Paul and Fred - but why should they? That seems to be the heart of the issue.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #787 on: May 17, 2018, 06:05:57 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...

If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).

They could have sat on it for as long as they wanted since Stardock would have kept the trademark alive with Origins.
They could have said, "Hold onto it for us for the time being and we'll buy it off you when we get our next available window of opportunity".

Sure, those seem like good options as well.  But I think this goes back again to the question of what trademark covers.  If it's just the name, as P&F (and most of us) have believed, then getting it wasn't really necessary, but more of a "nice to have".  But if Stardock's current view of trademark turns out to be correct, then everyone ends up looking really bad:  P&F for turning down the trademark when it was offered, and Brad, for not making it clear that he thought the view of trademark expressed to him here was incorrect.

If Brad had come on these forums (or talked directly to P&F) after buying the trademark, and said "By the way, I've been talking with my lawyers, and they say that this trademark doesn't just control the name, but also governs control of the alien race names and other distinguishing features within the game.  I'd like to sell it to P&F at cost.", I think he might have had more motivated buyers.  At the least, they'd have double-checked with their own lawyer before turning him down.
Logged
WibbleNZ
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 52



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #788 on: May 17, 2018, 06:17:36 am »

Interesting quote from Paul back then. He may have completely overlooked the idea of licensing the mark to GoG himself. If so, mistakes were made.
Logged
Serosis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1286



View Profile WWW
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #789 on: May 17, 2018, 06:42:42 am »

True they should have bought the TM directly from SD back in 2013...

If they had done that, they would have had to quit their jobs at Activision to start work on the game, or the trademark would have lapsed due to lack of intent to use.  And they are the CEO/CTOs of a division with a bunch of employees running a major franchise (Skylanders).

They could have sat on it for as long as they wanted since Stardock would have kept the trademark alive with Origins.
They could have said, "Hold onto it for us for the time being and we'll buy it off you when we get our next available window of opportunity".

Sure, those seem like good options as well.  But I think this goes back again to the question of what trademark covers.  If it's just the name, as P&F (and most of us) have believed, then getting it wasn't really necessary, but more of a "nice to have".  But if Stardock's current view of trademark turns out to be correct, then everyone ends up looking really bad:  P&F for turning down the trademark when it was offered, and Brad, for not making it clear that he thought the view of trademark expressed to him here was incorrect.

If Brad had come on these forums (or talked directly to P&F) after buying the trademark, and said "By the way, I've been talking with my lawyers, and they say that this trademark doesn't just control the name, but also governs control of the alien race names and other distinguishing features within the game.  I'd like to sell it to P&F at cost.", I think he might have had more motivated buyers.  At the least, they'd have double-checked with their own lawyer before turning him down.

I think we got a little confused in translation, Stardock weren't offering the trademark itself back to P&F but the perpetual license to it and the characters that came along with the trademark from Atari.
That perpetual license, if not void from the 1988 Agreement and its addendums, would give Stardock the right to use anything from the previous games.
Brad wanted to sell it to P&F at cost so that P&F wouldn't hit this exact roadblock that they're currently in.

I believe there may have been a severe lack of communication between the two parties in this instant.
Maybe P&F completely believe that the perpetual license is null or maybe they thought Stardock was trying to sell them something else entirely.

My hindsight wish was that both parties communicated more openly and honestly about what was at stake so that neither of them could mistake anything.
Because it did seem like they were at least civil to each other before shit hit the fan.
Logged

The artist formerly known as Kohr-Ah Death.

Get your MegaMod HERE
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #790 on: May 17, 2018, 07:07:20 am »

I think we got a little confused in translation, Stardock weren't offering the trademark itself back to P&F but the perpetual license to it and the characters that came along with the trademark from Atari.

I'm pretty sure he was offering to sell them the trademark in its entirety.  He was probably offering them the publishing rights too, but the language is too vague to know if he's talking about the exclusive 1988 Accolade license, or the 2011 non-exclusive GoG license.  My current theory is that Brad was talking about the former, but P&F thought he was talking about the latter.

Quote
That perpetual license, if not void from the 1988 Agreement and its addendums, would give Stardock the right to use anything from the previous games.

Agreed...but I haven't yet seen a plausible explanation for why it wouldn't have been void.

Quote
I believe there may have been a severe lack of communication between the two parties in this instant.

I completely agree.

Quote
Maybe P&F completely believe that the perpetual license is null or maybe they thought Stardock was trying to sell them something else entirely.

It's pretty clear that they did believe that that license was void...they say so in their reply (and repeat it in their next two replies).  But it was never a "perpetual" license; it had a limited term contingent on them continuing to receive royalties.

Quote
My hindsight wish was that both parties communicated more openly and honestly about what was at stake so that neither of them could mistake anything.

Amen to that.

Quote
Because it did seem like they were at least civil to each other before shit hit the fan.

I'm pretty sure this email is when relations broke down, because Stardock was insisting that the 1988 agreement was still live, without explaining why the termination conditions hadn't triggered.  The exclusivity of that license meant that Brad was effectively telling them that they needed his permission to do anything with the UQM universe.  Moreover, it would mean that the whole UQM project was illegitimate, because the code could never have been open-sourced if that agreement was still live.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 02:19:55 pm by Elestan » Logged
Serosis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1286



View Profile WWW
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #791 on: May 17, 2018, 08:44:28 am »

I'm pretty sure this email is when relations broke down, because Stardock was insisting that the 1988 agreement was still live, without explaining why the termination conditions hadn't triggered.  The exclusivity of that license meant that Brad was effectively telling them that they needed his permission to do anything with the UQM universe.  Moreover, it would mean that the whole UQM project was illegitimate, because the code could never have been open-sourced if that agreement was still live.

I know for a fact that Brad wants to keep UQM right where it is regardless if Stardock comes out on top.
Obviously P&F want that as well since they were the ones who tasked Chris Nelson to start porting it so long ago, then handed it off to Serge and Michael.

It is a great open source project and community. Brad definitely wants to keep it that way.
With even adding the Kessari source code into the mix eventually. (Not soon enough dammit)

I don't know how receptive that will be since SC3 is definitely a hard pill to swallow for some fans, but I for one am excited.
Kessari Quadrant MegaMod anybody?

I digress.

That email does heavily imply that P&F would have to go through Stardock to do anything. (By the way that link is messed up a bit)
But it also shows that Brad was still willing to work with them to provide the best outcome. Albeit with a bit of hesitation.
Looks like there are a lot of conversations between Brad and Fred unaccounted for when I read that.

Quote from: Brad Wardell
...but I can't help but feel the effort at coexistence has been a one way street.

Sounds like he may have been hitting a brick wall somewhere.
Logged

The artist formerly known as Kohr-Ah Death.

Get your MegaMod HERE
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #792 on: May 17, 2018, 03:34:25 pm »

I know for a fact that Brad wants to keep UQM right where it is regardless if Stardock comes out on top.

Well, not quite.  UQM's current license, from what I can tell (not a lawyer) essentially only requires that the software be open-source and distributed for free.  Stardock claims the right (and the obligation) to make UQM-derived projects adhere to any additional restrictions it feels are necessary to avoid them "engaging in commerce" as defined by trademark law.

This troubles me, because there are examples of free software distributors qualifying as engaging in commerce, and Brad's position seemed to be that we would just have to trust Stardock's discretion not to interpret its trademark rights in a way that would impact the project.  One example of potentially risky behavior might be if UQM (or a derived project) decided to set up a separate legal entity to own its website and domain name, so that they wouldn't be vulnerable to the loss of a single person.  That entity could decide to take donations to cover the hosting fees.  In fact, I'd like to see the UQM project take these steps, because right now, if Serge were to get hit by a bus, I think we'd be in trouble.  However, Stardock could decide that creating such an entity made us look too commercial, and disallow it.  Personally, I don't like the idea of having UQM policed in this way; a benevolent overlord can always decide to stop being benevolent.

Quote
That email does heavily imply that P&F would have to go through Stardock to do anything. (By the way that link is messed up a bit)

Link fixed, thanks.

Quote
But it also shows that Brad was still willing to work with them to provide the best outcome. Albeit with a bit of hesitation.
Looks like there are a lot of conversations between Brad and Fred unaccounted for when I read that.

I think the stumbling point was Brad's insistence that they couldn't do their work completely independently of him; that contradicted their long-held belief that they could.  This is, IMHO, the most important question to be resolved by the court case.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 04:40:06 pm by Elestan » Logged
Mormont
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


I love YaBB 1G - SP1!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #793 on: May 17, 2018, 04:56:17 pm »

Personally, I don't like the idea of having UQM policed in this way; a benevolent overlord can always decide to stop being benevolent.
This. Brad has already shown he is willing to change his mind on Star Control legal matters if he thinks it's in his best interest or feels he's been treated unjustly. But let's assume he doesn't - what if someone less deferential becomes CEO or buys out Stardock (or just buys the UQM mark, like with Atari and Star Control)? The project has never needed anyone having that power over it, no matter how lightly and benevolently he plans to use it. Stardock doesn't need the trademark to release the SC3 source.

As for Brad's early 11-point offer...point 11 was probably the dealbreaker (and possibly the FAQ, depending on what was in it). If you say "don't dare to question our legal rights" when they fundamentally disagree with your legal reading, they're not going to take your deal. In fact, consent to it could probably be used to leverage said legal rights in the future. The rest is basically reasonable (except it does appear to leave the question of the ships ambiguous) - still asking them to make a good number of accommodations but any other concerns could have been negotiated. Fred and Paul showed a willingness to coordinate messaging and manage the TM/copyright split at first before this fell apart.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 06:54:33 pm by Mormont » Logged
Tas
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 28



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #794 on: May 17, 2018, 09:31:53 pm »

There is a saying that goes something like ignorance is bliss...
Would you rather know something and have that burden, or not know something and be surprised by it?

It strikes me that very very little changed as far as UQM is concerned when SD bought the Trademark from Atari...  with the exception of knowledge and awareness.  Atari may not have even been aware that this page existed whereas Brad has posted quite a bit in the past few years.


Even if the Trademark only covers the name of the end product or not, the open source project that UQM is modifying is Star Control and falls under the Trademark now owned by Stardock. 

Atari could have/should have made the same oversight claims that Brad is now making.    If you engage in commerce you are not protected as a fan project and could be shut down by the owner of the Trademark.        This has never changed and has been true since the beginning.   For all of Elestan's fear mongering  I suspect it is more likely that the code to SC III is released and SD helps in it's conversion than they do something to shut you down.

Logged
Pages: 1 ... 51 52 [53] 54 55 ... 68 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!