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

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Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 66480 times)
Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #135 on: March 21, 2018, 03:58:16 am »

You can read up on the topic here:

https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1911&context=facpubs

I don't know if they'll actually be sanctioned by the court or not for it.  But no, you're not supposed to.  What's even worse is that they were very dishonest in how they represented them.

However, it does mean there won't be any settlement discussions going forward since it is obvious they will attempt to misrepresent any sort of negotiation in public.   It should quiet things down for the next couple years I presume.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #136 on: March 21, 2018, 04:44:39 am »

^ It's cute how you ignored the rest of Brad's points.

Its cute how you defend Brad everywhere.

Why shouldn't I? He paid money to get SC (tm), FaP didn't. He spent million of dollars and 4 years of daily work to continue SC legacy. What FaP have to show for Ghosts?... Wait, I'm preparing the list. Ok, I'm back. - NOTHING.
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Soul Reaver
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #137 on: March 21, 2018, 05:04:34 am »

I just feel everyone is doing this wrong.

Brad, F&P should all sit together at a table and agree that the most important thing to do right now is to figure out who actually owns what - not in an adversarial court case, but by getting lawyers in mutually to unravel this crapfest.  The answers will come faster and easier that way.

Once everyone knows what everyone is legally allowed to do and not do, then there can be constructive talks and actions by everyone involved.

Except everyone is now so bitter at everyone else that it's turned into a fight rather than a team effort.  And it'll cost more money and time because of it.

Brad: have you considered the possibility that F&P might be right in their claim that you legally cannot sell Star Control 1 + 2 without their permission?
That you cannot use any of their IP in SC:O?
That other than the name (and SC3) you don't own any parts of what they created?
And that they're particulary upset because they've had to defend this before in the past, only to have history repeat itself?

I'd pose a similar question to F&P if I saw them: have you guys considered that you might have got your understanding of the rights to the SC name wrong?
That it does allow the rights holder to distribute and profit from Star Control 1 + 2 as they see fit?
That there is no need for them to seek your permission over everything?
And that using the Star Control name to market your game - which some people might see as a competing product - could upset and worry Stardock, especially after they spent money specifically in order to have the rights to do so - unlike you, who didn't?

It's not only possible but almost certain that both sides have valid points and concerns.

Come to New Zealand and I'll mediate for you, and unlike your lawyers I'll do it for free!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 05:20:51 am by Soul Reaver » Logged

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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #138 on: March 21, 2018, 05:47:20 am »

Just look above at my earlier response. It covers exactly what you theorized.
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Elestan
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #139 on: March 21, 2018, 06:03:33 am »

I've seen repeated claims that posting the terms of the settlement offer was a breach of confidentiality.  There's someone on the Stardock forums claiming it is illegal to discuss settlement offers in public.

That extreme seems quite clearly farcically wrong, [...]

It would be *really* unusual for a court to try to bind a non-party to silence.  I think I recall an attempt to do so years back, that was quickly thrown out on appeal.  The U.S. First Amendment makes it very hard to bar people from speaking freely, so the rest of us can all talk as much as we want (fortunately for me).

Quote
but is there any specific information anywhere that the court ordered that the specifics of the settlement offer not be divulged?

There might be some information in the court documents, but you need a PACER account with the court system to access them, and it costs $0.10/page.

It also might be possible for Brad to post the settlement order itself.  Just because they can't disclose the settlement terms doesn't mean they can't disclose why they can't disclose the settlement terms. (*)

Quote
I am very curious why and under what circumstances settlement offers would be accompanied by a court order not to make them public.  The only cases of which I am aware are settlements that are accepted in which case non-disclosure of the details is a standard component.  But that is not the case here.

It's actually pretty routine in cases where the parties have public relations concerns.  The court is trying to make them negotiate seriously with each other, and having the negotiations in public tends to lead to grandstanding instead of serious talks.  Such gag orders usually don't extend beyond the end of the case, though, so when it's over people should be able to talk freely.

The situation you were referring to is when the parties agree to a long-term gag clause as part of the settlement.  That's a different animal; it's voluntarily accepted by both sides, and can last indefinitely.

Quote
So I would like to know why this "breach of confidentiality" stuff is getting waved around, if anyone can fill that in.

The link Brad posted should get you the information, though it's rather dry.

(*) As an aside, I actually ran into just such a recursive cloaking clause recently.  I was offered a job interview, and the NDA to get into the job interview prohibited revealing its own existence and terms.  You can infer my reaction from the fact that I wrote the preceding sentence.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 06:21:10 am by Elestan » Logged
Soul Reaver
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #140 on: March 21, 2018, 06:22:37 am »

Just look above at my earlier response. It covers exactly what you theorized.

Right, but you're not sitting over a table working out where your understandings differ and working those out together, instead you're both throwing laywers in a legal offensive.  Note I'm not going so far as to say who is at fault for that being the case, but it's definitely what's happening.

You say you'd take down Star Control 1 and 2 if F&P proved that they should come down.  But you didn't give them the benefit of the doubt and kept them up, showing you're more inclined to distrust them on this than trust them until that misunderstanding can be cleared up - they did present some evidence to back up their claim, so if it were me I'd have give them the benefit of the doubt.

You say that you don't care about the old IP stuff because you're not using it, but you're making an official and legal attempt to control those old IPs.  So either you're lying when you say you don't want to use them, or you're trying to get them purely to get revenge, which would be neither mature not constructive (and as a writer myself, would make me hate you with every fiber of my being if you tried it on me).

The last point I feel you're completely correct on, in the sense that the name 'Star Control' shouldn't be used prominently in the marketing of F&P's new game, and doing so is likely illegal on their part.  Then again, it's starting to sound ridiculous if you're trying to forbid F&P from ever mentioning they worked on Star Control games in the past, and what their role in it was.  I'd say their evidence that they contributed considerably to the design and style of Star Control 1 + 2 will be hard to deny.  And I don't see it as wrong for them to point out the fact that GotP would be set in the same universe as the old Star Control games which they helped to develop and shape... assuming, of course, they do indeed own the rights to the IP of the aliens etc that they think they do.

Which brings me back to the main point: there are facts here that are in dispute, and they are important to one group or the other.  Both groups are fighting each other over this disagreement, rather than both sides working together to find out the objective truth together (and then maybe finding that fighting is not needed after all)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 09:03:18 am by Soul Reaver » Logged

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Zanthius
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #141 on: March 21, 2018, 08:04:17 am »

Come to New Zealand and I'll mediate for you, and unlike your lawyers I'll do it for free!

That sounds really nice. The plane tickets are also probably much cheaper than the lawyers. Maybe you could tempt them with a nice picture from where you live?  Wink
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 10:49:38 am by Zanthius » Logged
Krulle
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #142 on: March 21, 2018, 09:34:19 am »

I've seen repeated claims that posting the terms of the settlement offer was a breach of confidentiality.  There's someone on the Stardock forums claiming it is illegal to discuss settlement offers in public.

That extreme seems quite clearly farcically wrong, [...]

It would be *really* unusual for a court to try to bind a non-party to silence.  I think I recall an attempt to do so years back, that was quickly thrown out on appeal.  The U.S. First Amendment makes it very hard to bar people from speaking freely, so the rest of us can all talk as much as we want (fortunately for me).
On top of that, I'd love to see a U.S. court extend its jurisdiction over to Europe, where I am following and participating in this discussion.
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Mormont
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #143 on: March 21, 2018, 01:00:54 pm »

As always, I am not a lawyer but let me outline this bit by bit:

Second: The license to use the old IP in sequels.

This one is very murky.  It's not relevant since we aren't using any of the IP.   But let's presume that the license agreement has expired.  Ok. We aren't using those characters, setting or lore.  So it's has no effect either way.  
But...you recently posted this on your site (edit: direct link to the post doesn't seem to work, just scroll down a bit):
Quote
Our position on what species we will include has changed for obvious reasons.

Because of the differing histories of each universe, the Ur-Quan, Spathi, etc. of the Origins universe will have have a very different set of experiences.

The initial release of Origins takes place in 2088 so you are not going to be running into those particular aliens.  But by 2110s as the player's map expands beyond the initial 40x40 parsec area, you can expect to run aliens associated with the earlier Star Control games.

 
So yes, you are flagrantly using their characters without permission, or at least plan to in the future. Stardock has played a part (at the very least) in escalating the conflict.

Note the date of that post: March 18. Reiche's blog post about the settlement was March 19, probably in response to this recent escalation.

My guess is that the response will be that it doesn't count because these are different Ur-quan and Spathi in an alternate universe, not Fred and Paul's Ur-quan? If so, I don't think most people will find that convincing.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 02:14:50 pm by Mormont » Logged
vok3
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #144 on: March 21, 2018, 01:28:51 pm »

So yes, you are fragrantly [...]

fragrant: Affecting the olfactory nerves agreeably; sweet of smell;
     odorous; having or emitting an agreeable perfume.
     [1913 Webster]
flagrant: Actually in preparation, execution, or performance;
        carried on hotly; raging.
        [1913 Webster]
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vok3
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #145 on: March 21, 2018, 01:36:05 pm »

Once everyone knows what everyone is legally allowed to do and not do, then there can be constructive talks and actions by everyone involved.

I think the whole point here is that Stardock's view of what each party owns, and Fred&Paul's view of what each party owns, is substantially different, and each party has been acting based on the self-evident truth that their view is correct and the other party is behaving like a dastardly pirate.
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Krulle
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #146 on: March 21, 2018, 01:41:34 pm »

Thank you for pointing us to that post, Mormont.

So, indeed, yes. Stardock is pushing the boundaries.

I wonder what the "obvious reasons" are?
Commercial interest?
To attract more of the original fans?
The goodwill Stardock attaches to the trademark is actually indeed with the original characters, and therefore now needs the original characters to be present in SC:O?
Another shove stacked against the push?


One is entitled to change his opinion.
But after several announcements and "guarantees" to not use ANY character of the original classic series, this post by Frogboy  from 18 March 2018 is more than just a "change of opinion", especially this late into the development of the new game.

We live in a world where words have lost their meaning.
They are always chosen to sound nice.
But nowadays, they are chosen to make belief the opposite of what seemingly is being done.


@vok: it all seems to depend on whether the licensing contract between Atari and FF/PR for the development of new games has expired (as indicated by FF/PR), or whether this licensing cannot terminate (as repeatedly stated by Stardock).
When I scrolled over the contract, I found the wordings to be clear. But I may have missed a detail the attorneys found, which may contradict the clear wordings which convinced me of one opinion.
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Mormont
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #147 on: March 21, 2018, 01:59:49 pm »

So yes, you are fragrantly [...]

fragrant: Affecting the olfactory nerves agreeably; sweet of smell;
     odorous; having or emitting an agreeable perfume.
     [1913 Webster]
flagrant: Actually in preparation, execution, or performance;
        carried on hotly; raging.
        [1913 Webster]
Ha, I do know the difference but made a typo. FIxed it.
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tingkagol
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #148 on: March 21, 2018, 02:47:52 pm »

I would just like to pop in and say I really appreciate the in-depth analyses being posted in this thread, most recently from Narsham and Elestan. You guys have so eloquently materialized my thoughts (and perhaps many others') into words. I suspect there are many others lurking around here who want to but are unable to effectively contribute to the discussion, so please do keep it up guys.

I also would like to thank Frogboy for continuing to listen to the SC fandom despite the backlash. It really says a lot about your dedication to heed the community's feedback when most CEOs would rather just sit in their towers and count their money. I really hope P&F would join in this discussion as well (less angrily perhaps) and with our powers combined... (lol) eke out that what really matters is both parties should be able to make their games and entertain the world with them.
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Frogboy
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #149 on: March 21, 2018, 03:14:48 pm »

Thanks for the kind words.

I started Stardock on my own from my dorm room 25 years ago.  I had nothing.  I literally had a job cleaning "stuff" off of excavation equipment to help pay for school.  I learned to program by buying Teach Yourself C in 21 days.

Over the years, I've worked on many games.  I've designed many. Programmed many.  Did art and story for many.  I've got to work with some amazing people.

I'm not some rich guy who just decided to fund a new Star Control game.  I designed, programmed and did nearly all the art in the original Galactic Civilizations for OS/2.  And I paid for it through the aforementioned awful jobs. 

So I have a pretty healthy respect for both intellectual property rights and the emotional attachments people can have form with their creations.

The dispute with Paul and Fred could be distilled down to their official legal position that they gave to us.  And I quote:

"Whether Brad likes it or not, Ghosts of the Precursors is going to be made as a direct sequel to the Star Control: The Ur-Quan Masters adventure originally created by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III in 1992. As you stated below, we anticipate resistance. "

So on the one hand, we absolutely would have been willing to take down the DOS games if they really felt strongly.  But they not only refused to find some way to undo the harm they had done by creating market confusion with their announcement, they made it clear that they would continue to promote Ghosts as a direct sequel to Star Control and fully anticipated that we would have to take legal action.

The Internet lawyers here can go back and forth all day about this.  But the fact is, no, they can't do that because it will create market confusion.  All goodwill and reputation associated with Star Control is tied to the trademark.   This is well established IP law.  You can't borrow from someone else's goodwill and reputation to promote your product.

All this could have been avoided.   







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