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

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Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 61422 times)
Serosis
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #90 on: March 19, 2018, 11:27:47 pm »

I also fear that the result will be, that in the end even a fan-created Origins-universe of UQM will not be permissible.
So a loss all around for all parties.

That won't happen, UQM is under GPL2 and the assets are under Creative Commons.
So as long as those licenses aren't broken people can do what they want.

Let them try to stop me from doing it.
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #91 on: March 20, 2018, 12:19:50 am »

UQM is under GPL2 and the assets are under Creative Commons.
So as long as those licenses aren't broken people can do what they want.

Let them try to stop me from doing it.

There is still some danger.  If Stardock were to win the trademarks it has applied for (All the alien names, plus "SUPER-MELEE"), UQM would have to remove all references to those names; the GPL/CC only applies to copyright claims, not trademarks.  Additionally, some of the arguments in Stardock's original brief, if upheld, would mean that Paul&Fred never had the right to release the code to form the UQM project in the first place, which could force the entire project to shut down.

But while non-zero, I think the odds of this are very low.  The copyright arguments appear to have been made in ignorance of the Accolade contract, and I don't think they can get the trademarks given that UQM has been using them for so long uncontested.

But litigation is unpredictable; it depends a lot of whether the judge and jury have a clue, and on whose lawyer happens to be more convincing to them.

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Serosis
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #92 on: March 20, 2018, 12:46:08 am »

UQM is under GPL2 and the assets are under Creative Commons.
So as long as those licenses aren't broken people can do what they want.

Let them try to stop me from doing it.

There is still some danger.  If Stardock were to win the trademarks it has applied for (All the alien names, plus "SUPER-MELEE"), UQM would have to remove all references to those names; the GPL/CC only applies to copyright claims, not trademarks.  Additionally, some of the arguments in Stardock's original brief, if upheld, would mean that Paul&Fred never had the right to release the code to form the UQM project in the first place, which could force the entire project to shut down.

But while non-zero, I think the odds of this are very low.  The copyright arguments appear to have been made in ignorance of the Accolade contract, and I don't think they can get the trademarks given that UQM has been using them for so long uncontested.

But litigation is unpredictable; it depends a lot of whether the judge and jury have a clue, and on whose lawyer happens to be more convincing to them.

Brad wouldn't allow any of that to happen. If Stardock got hold of the rights to UQM he would keep it GPL'd and open source as it is.
He has the power of veto here and he could have stopped the lawyers before any of this went down.

But P&F personally & publicly attacked him with a hired PR firm. So as it stands P&F are going to be buried in this for many years to come and
no amount of bitchy blog posts will help them win anything. They essentially committed suicide by lawyer.

Personally I would take anything that Paul & Fred say with a grain of salt.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #93 on: March 20, 2018, 01:52:04 am »

Brad wouldn't allow any of that to happen. If Stardock got hold of the rights to UQM he would keep it GPL'd and open source as it is.
He has the power of veto here and he could have stopped the lawyers before any of this went down.

While I don't necessarily agree with Serosis on everything, I think he's right here.

If Stardock (or anyone else) wants the rights to these IPs for the purposes of commercializing them it would likely be to a significant degree to benefit from the nostalgia of old fans (otherwise why not just make a completely new IP?).  Demolishing the hard work of the UQM community would just piss off the market that they would be most likely to target, all for very little benefit (the ability to sell a more than 20 year old game)?

It doesn't seem a likely move even if you make them out to be an evil faceless corporation.

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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #94 on: March 20, 2018, 03:00:59 am »

Brad wouldn't allow any of that to happen. If Stardock got hold of the rights to UQM he would keep it GPL'd and open source as it is.
He has the power of veto here and he could have stopped the lawyers before any of this went down.

While I don't necessarily agree with Serosis on everything, I think he's right here.

If Stardock (or anyone else) wants the rights to these IPs for the purposes of commercializing them it would likely be to a significant degree to benefit from the nostalgia of old fans (otherwise why not just make a completely new IP?).  Demolishing the hard work of the UQM community would just piss off the market that they would be most likely to target, all for very little benefit (the ability to sell a more than 20 year old game)?

It doesn't seem a likely move even if you make them out to be an evil faceless corporation.

I think you're right wrt Brad, but sometimes you need to make pessimistic assumptions.  Look at all of the open-source projects that Sun was supporting, and what Oracle did to them after buying Sun.  Who is to say what would happen if EA were to buy Stardock?

A GPL release from Stardock could settle the copyright issues, but I'm not sure that's possible with trademarks.  At a minimum, Stardock would have to demand trademark acknowledgement anywhere those names are used.  Any UQM maintainers would just have to decide if they were willing to invest their time in the project, given their evaluation of the legal risk.
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #95 on: March 20, 2018, 04:25:52 am »

I will add, for any that were following my posts on the Stardock forums, that Brad has revoked my posting access there, so any further analysis/commentary I do will be either here or on Reddit.

Just on the off-chance that anyone cares. :-P
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #96 on: March 20, 2018, 05:15:38 am »

I care, you're a voice of reason there, and that they'd shut you down is not a good sign.

I'll note in passing that Kavik Kang's rant about Star Fleet Battles is totally off base.  SC's supermelee is a ripoff of Spacewar, which predates SFB by decades - Spacewar was in fact the first video game ever made, for the first iteration they used an oscilloscope as a display because monitors didn't exist yet. 

I've read through Brad's replies in that thread including #87 and
1) my question to him about "are they not even allowed to mention that they worked on the title" has never been answered; the only way to meet the standard he seems to be insisting on would be exactly that - that they can never, ever use the words "Star Control" in any context.  I very seriously doubt a court is going to uphold that; the references to the product would definitely seem (to me) to fall in the territory of fair use.  There IS the question of proximity to Origins' release and the court might rap their knuckles for that, but not much more
2) the trademark filing for all the alien names is a fairly obvious "go for the throat" legal maneuver, but it's also one I think is very unlikely to be supported in a court.  Stardock has never had any claim to those and has admitted it doesn't on multiple occasions; those statements are going to be brought up
3) I find his claims in those posts - that people aren't noting the order of events - to be unpersuasive.

Based on what I have seen so far, the picture I am seeing is:
- P&F have clear rights to the IP in all the original games.  Those games cannot be distributed without their agreement; Stardock's attempt to do so was a clear transgression. The IP cannot be used without their agreement.  No rights to the IP or anything in it were sold in the Atari auction.  Any trademark claims by Stardock to anything in the IP are without merit.
- Stardock has rights to the words "Star Control".  P&F should not have used those words in advertising a product.

I could be wrong.  Courts interpret laws in ways that make no sense to ordinary people on a regular basis.  But we'll see.
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tingkagol
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #97 on: March 20, 2018, 05:35:25 am »

I will add, for any that were following my posts on the Stardock forums, that Brad has revoked my posting access there, so any further analysis/commentary I do will be either here or on Reddit.

Just on the off-chance that anyone cares. :-P

That is so sad to hear that Brad actually silenced you considering you made the most reasonable argument in that entire thread.

I wouldn't be surprised if I get banned as well considering Stardock has completely lost me with their absurd settlement demands.
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #98 on: March 20, 2018, 05:39:58 am »

The court ordered settlement conference is confidential. Iím not sure which is worse, that theyíve illsted it or misrepresented it. But itís not something I can discuss.

I will say that once they filed to try to cancel our Star Control mark, which is the legal equivalent of going for the throat, all bets were off.

If Paul and Fred had actually stuck to the first paragraph they mentioned in their rant, we wouldnít be here today. But they obviously didnít.

The legal case will likely cost, as they say, millions of dollars and go over years. Iíve been through these before. Never quite anything this strange but we are confident of the outcome.  Weíll know presumably by 2020.

Iíd rather it had been worked out prior to lawyers. Lawsuits are ugly things, they are best avoided.

Paul hangs out here, he is welcome to post his rationale for immediately violating their proposal and flagrant violations of confidentiality. He could even post the entire email chain here if heíd like rather tha the cherry picked snippets, like the multiple times I offered to talk by phone and how they, not us, brought in lawyers first.  

Itís easy to send out one-sided smears and not be around to respond on them. The problem, imo, is that they keep escalating things and seem shocked that there are consequences for doing so.

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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #99 on: March 20, 2018, 05:50:23 am »

I will add, for any that were following my posts on the Stardock forums, that Brad has revoked my posting access there, so any further analysis/commentary I do will be either here or on Reddit.

Just on the off-chance that anyone cares. :-P

That is so sad to hear that Brad actually silenced you considering you made the most reasonable argument in that entire thread.

I wouldn't be surprised if I get banned as well considering Stardock has completely lost me with their absurd settlement demands.

You wouldnít be banned. Neither was E. But as I said to Elestan, if he wants to play Internet lawyer, he can do so here or on Reddit.  Only a very small percentage of the facts are publicly available. And what is available is mostly been tortured of context.

Frankly, from a sanity point of view, I need one forum I can talk about THE game that is actually being made without my blood boiling due to moral equivalence arguments. 

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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #100 on: March 20, 2018, 05:52:21 am »

I care, you're a voice of reason there, and that they'd shut you down is not a good sign.

Apparently Brad felt my analysis was off-base.  He could be right; we need to keep in mind that there's a lot we're not seeing, and as I've said a number of times, I'm Not A Lawyer.  But, I'm doing the best I can, based on the publicly-available information that has been revealed so far.

Quote
1) my question to him about "are they not even allowed to mention that they worked on the title" has never been answered; the only way to meet the standard he seems to be insisting on would be exactly that - that they can never, ever use the words "Star Control" in any context.  I very seriously doubt a court is going to uphold that; the references to the product would definitely seem (to me) to fall in the territory of fair use.  There IS the question of proximity to Origins' release and the court might rap their knuckles for that, but not much more

I would be careful with the term 'fair use'.  That's a specifically-defined legal term that only applies as a defense against copyright infringement, not trademark infringement.  While I suspect that there are ways to use a trademarked phrase without legal risk (like if you're not trying to use it in commerce), that wiggle-room gets much less available when you're a direct competitor talking about a competing product.  If I were Paul or Fred, I wouldn't say the phrase "Star Control" in public without my lawyer's approval.

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2) the trademark filing for all the alien names is a fairly obvious "go for the throat" legal maneuver, but it's also one I think is very unlikely to be supported in a court.  Stardock has never had any claim to those and has admitted it doesn't on multiple occasions; those statements are going to be brought up

I agree there.  Since P&F are using personal resources for this, not Toys4Bob resources, it could be part of an attrition strategy; it does make extra work and legal fees for them.

Quote
3) I find his claims in those posts - that people aren't noting the order of events - to be unpersuasive.

Yeah, I'm not sure what he meant there.  I was specifically asking about the order of events - whether P&F had made a move against Stardock's trademark before Stardock's suit was filed.  I'm also not sure what he means by "They had no copyright to cancel".  It sounds like he's saying that he doesn't think that P&F's copyright on the setting is valid.  Which would be a powerful claim, if there's a basis to make it.  But I haven't seen a reason to doubt Paul's copyright so far in the publicly available documents.

Quote
Based on what I have seen so far, the picture I am seeing is:
- P&F have clear rights to the IP in all the original games.  Those games cannot be distributed without their agreement; Stardock's attempt to do so was a clear transgression. The IP cannot be used without their agreement.  No rights to the IP or anything in it were sold in the Atari auction.  Any trademark claims by Stardock to anything in the IP are without merit.

I'll poke two things there:

First, SC3 was a hybrid beast.  The best I can tell, Paul owns the copyright to the SC2 elements that were used in it, while Stardock owns the copyright on all the new elements that were added.  

Second, I'm not sure how trademark and copyright law interact here.  I wouldn't think that you could trademark something that someone else has copyright on, but this is one of those places where I wouldn't bet on my own knowledge.

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- Stardock has rights to the words "Star Control".  P&F should not have used those words in advertising a product.

Yep.

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I could be wrong.  Courts interpret laws in ways that make no sense to ordinary people on a regular basis.  But we'll see.

Very true.
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #101 on: March 20, 2018, 06:16:46 am »

Part of your problem is that you keep stating g things that have no basis in fact.

What, specifically, does Paul own?

Does he own the music?

Does he own the art? The alien artistic design?

The alien dialog?

Please feel free to find the copyright filing by Paul and these things.

What I do know is Stardock has no ownership rights in the licensed content in SC2 but that doesnít magically confer rights to Paul.

Is Paul going to claim Rikuís somgs? Or Erolís art?


The order of events:

PF propose that each game differentiate based on respective rights. Fair enough.

They violate that a week later knowing exactly what they were doing. Did they associate Ghosts with Star Control II? If
 Yes, they lose. Did they do it on purposes? If yes, there are statutory damages.

Then you have months of them attacking us from their blog.

Then they file the DMCA notices to Steam and GOG.

Then Stardock files a complaint about their trademark infringement which they respond by, amongst other things, demanding our trademark be canceled.

After that, yes, Stardock is going to be very aggressive.  

Iíve gone from being a super fan to just incredibly disappointed with Paul and Fred.




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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #102 on: March 20, 2018, 06:20:48 am »

You wouldnít be banned. Neither was E. But as I said to Elestan, if he wants to play Internet lawyer, he can do so here or on Reddit.

Just to be clear, I no longer have an option to post on any Stardock forums.  I presume Brad means that you won't be banned for disagreement, but only for "internet lawyering".

Quote
Only a very small percentage of the facts are publicly available. And what is available is mostly been tortured of context.

I just do my best with what's available, knowing that I don't have the whole picture.  You've said that you don't think I understand the law very well, and that may be true - I invite you to correct me on any point of fact or law that you're allowed to speak on.

Quote
Frankly, from a sanity point of view, I need one forum I can talk about THE game that is actually being made without my blood boiling due to moral equivalence arguments.

Please understand that I'm still assuming mostly good faith on both sides, because based on the publicly-available information, neither side has yet reached the point where I would stop doing so.  It could be that if we knew all the information you have that we don't, we'd see things differently, but that's not the case.  Currently, I have some concerns that Paul may have kept his IP claims hidden without a good reason to do so.  But I also have concerns about Stardock filing for trademarks that could be used against this project.  Those seem like offensive legal weapons, not defensive ones, and this project is within their blast radius.
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #103 on: March 20, 2018, 06:38:17 am »

That assumption of good faith is where I believe we part ways. People of good faith donít simultaneously violate confidentiality and misrepresent the facts. You can expect Stardock to be very aggressive going forward.

Also, I did restore your posting. I just donít want to read internet lawyering on my own forum nor a I going to litigate a case on a public forum or devulge on going legal strategy.
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Serosis
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #104 on: March 20, 2018, 07:57:21 am »

People also have to remember that, aside from the Stardock lawyers, that there is a man behind this game (SC:Origins) who has been pouring his heart and soul into it.
Brad may be the CEO but that doesn't make him any less human.

It's evidence enough that he gets close to a breaking point every now and then but I don't see Paul or Fred coming onto any forum trying to talk some sense into the litigation.
Somebody who claimed to be Paul left a cryptic "We're watching from the shadows" type post using a brand new account, which I find highly suspect since Fred himself has
a profile and has used it as recent as 2015. And I know Death 999 would help him get his profile back if he lost his password as he has done for me in the past.

People give P&F too much credit when all they've done thus far is take pot-shots from the sidelines.
Hiring PR firms to personally attack Brad and even falsifying then releasing confidential court documents.

I guess my point is, P&F may have helped create The Ur-Quan Masters, but that doesn't give them allowance to be infallible.
If you cast doubt on Stardock then you must also cast doubt on P&F because they sure haven't been the hapless victims in all of this.
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