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

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Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 61631 times)
chapel
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #255 on: March 30, 2018, 08:58:58 pm »

Brad thinks he is telling Paul about the Accolade agreement, but Paul thinks Brad is talking about the GoG agreement, and the message could be read either way.

Holy crap.  That would explain A LOT to how everyone acted initially, especially the years of relative amicability between them.  And drastic shift towards the defensive both sides took, recently.  The contract schedule from Exhibit 8 in the counter-claim, coincides with that.  Given the GOG.com agreement had been terminated 02/23/2016 in that schedule (which means it was received by Fred and Paul after that point), but the Accolade 1988 agreement was indicated as live...  That means for almost 3 years, Stardock had the GOG.com agreement... So any discussion about distribution rights may have been assumed to have been the GOG.com agreement by Paul for AT LEAST that period of time, until receipt of that contract schedule.  Meanwhile, Stardock assumes the Accolade 1988 agreement was still live based on it being a contract sold to them by Atari without rebuttal by Paul.

That is VERY INTERESTING find.  It explains so much.

Wow, that does sound highly likely. Excellent sleuthing, Elestan!

Curious how this one plays out. thank god I remembered my password.
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rosepatel
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #256 on: March 30, 2018, 09:50:20 pm »

Brad thinks he is telling Paul about the Accolade agreement, but Paul thinks Brad is talking about the GoG agreement, and the message could be read either way.

Holy crap.  That would explain A LOT to how everyone acted initially, especially the years of relative amicability between them.  And drastic shift towards the defensive both sides took, recently.  The contract schedule from Exhibit 8 in the counter-claim, coincides with that.  Given the GOG.com agreement had been terminated 02/23/2016 in that schedule (which means it was received by Fred and Paul after that point), but the Accolade 1988 agreement was indicated as live...  That means for almost 3 years, Stardock had the GOG.com agreement... So any discussion about distribution rights may have been assumed to have been the GOG.com agreement by Paul for AT LEAST that period of time, until receipt of that contract schedule.  Meanwhile, Stardock assumes the Accolade 1988 agreement was still live based on it being a contract sold to them by Atari without rebuttal by Paul.

That is VERY INTERESTING find.  It explains so much.



Even if that's true, it's a misunderstanding that has been long since cleared up. Pardon me if any of this seems obvious to people who have been following these discussions...

Let's just say Stardock managed to keep Atari's deal with GOG alive for a few years. At best, it would have been a deal where Atari/Stardock sells the permission to use the Star Control Trademark in exchange for 25% of royalties on the games.

GOG still can't sell the games without the Copyright in the underlying product. So GOG's deal with Stardock is, at best, halfway there. That's why GOG also has a deal wiht P&F, where P&F allow them to sell the game in exchange for royalties. It's also why Atari couldn't sell the games through GOG without P&F -- as soon as GOG and Atari realized what had happened, Atari sent a removal notice.

Now, everyone agrees that P&F are the copyright holders, which includes a massive bundle of rights, including the right to publish. (That's how UQM is legal.)

The issue is whether Stardock purchased a license to those publishing rights from Atari.

Be clear: a license doesn't mean that you own any rights. It effectively means that you're renting a subset of those copyrights, with the permission of the copyright holder. In this case, the right to publish / sell / distribute / market the underlying product,

Stardock bought the 1988 license that would have expired. At best, it expired on Atari's bankruptcy. At worst, other termination clauses kicked in even sooner. Those were the terms of the license. At bankruptcy, Atari would be selling an expired agreement. In other words, nothing.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 09:57:14 pm by rosepatel » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #257 on: March 30, 2018, 10:06:28 pm »

What I can say is that this community matters a great deal to me personally.

I lurked on here for years before creating an account 5 or so years ago.  But I have great admiration for it.

I think the people here are very fair minded and if anyone here should feel bad it's me.  If I knew that our revival of Star Control would create this kind of drama, we wouldn't have done it.  Do I think Ghosts would have happened? No.  But at least there would still be the undiluted good cheer. 

I know for myself how terribly I've felt about this whole thing. For almost my entire adult life, Paul and Fred were my heroes.  Fred the god coder and Paul who was not a one-hit wonder but imagined hit after hit.  Mail Order Monsters.  Archon. and of course Star Control.

The most embarrassing thing, in hindsight,is that I major part of my motivation was for them to be pleased with what we had created.  I really thought that if we showed them how good Star Control: Origins was, that they might leave Activision and I would build a studio around them to create games around their imaginations.  That is the, apparently, delusion I operated on for 5 years.

When Derek and I met Paul and Fred (contrary to their statement, we have met in person, they came to our booth and we were supposed to have dinner but our schedules got tight) I was just speechless. I must have looked like just a total fool in hindsight just looking on while Derek did most of the talking. 

I've made a lot of games over the years and developed many technologies that are on your PC right now.  My "fortune" has come from the tech and software, not the games.  But with Star Control, I thought we had the opportunity to give something back.  That the community I cared about, UQM in particular, had waited for years for a new Star Control game.  And if Paul and Fred couldn't do it (and as you know, I offered it to them at our cost) then we would.

I know I have the communication skills of drift wood.  But I hope you guys do understand how important this all is to us.  We could have just as easily called it Stellar Frontier and made a somewhat different game.  But I really believe in what Star Control represents.  This became doubly true after I saw "No Man's Sky" that mistook, IMO, exploration for exploration's sake as a reason unto itself.    Star Control is special because it combines deep lore with lots of subtlety with exploration.

Anyway, it's been a tough couple of weeks as you can imagine.  If you want to know how I feel, imagine having Paul and Fred represent you as they have represented me recently.  It's absolutely crushing.

There's a blurring between your personal reaction (big fans/hero worship of people who are now doing THIS to you) and your professional duties that makes me worry that no sort of negotiated settlement that grants both parties something can happen, not because such an agreement would be unwise, but because the situation is being treated personally. (I'm worried about Paul & Fred too, in this regard, but less so given that their settlement offer is more conciliatory.) Instructing your lawyers to take everything you can out of this lawsuit because you're hurt by what Paul and Fred have said may be your right, but it may not be the most responsible decision as a CEO. In theory, the other point of lawyers is so that two parties that never want to talk to each other again and hate each other don't have to negotiate, but can have interested but theoretically dispassionate representatives sort matters out. But obviously, it's your company.

In any event, if you believe you're making the right or necessary decision, you should reconcile yourself to being seen as the villain by some of the hardcore fans, because that will absolutely happen.

A few other thoughts for the thread:
1. It's odd to keep harping on Paul & Fred hiring a PR firm as if that were not cricket. Stardock has a PR department.
2. The Stardock FAQ page is useful, but I find it strange that items 14-18 are just summaries, especially as the souring of relations would appear to happen over this period. Why be selective here? It feeds into a potential narrative that Paul and Fred are posting complete documents while Stardock is releasing information selectively. That'd be less of a problem if Stardock hadn't said that Paul and Fred posted misleading information themselves.
3. The settlement documents have a few interesting differences worthy of mention: Stardock's makes Paul, Fred, and Stardock the parties to the agreement and requires confidentiality. Paul and Fred's adds Brad as a party and does not require confidentiality. The confidentiality part is clearly another volley in the PR war; Stardock wants everything and wants to make the settlement secret, while Paul and Fred just want their own stuff and they want the agreement in the open. I don't know enough about law to know whether Brad being or not being a direct party to the agreement is a shot across the bow.

In any event, it was an astute counteroffer and it's also clearly playing up the old-school contrast between the fan-gamer-programmers and the "suits." Whatever Brad may actually be as a person, I don't see a way for him to avoid being the "suit" in this scenario. At best, he makes a gesture of conciliation, either now or subsequent to the case, in order to reclaim some good will. Otherwise, he's the guy who stole the "real" sequel to SC2 from the fans (assuming Paul and Fred don't win or partially win the case).

Trying to have it both ways just helps reinforce the narrative Paul & Fred can construct (and spending much less of their own time to do so), which is that they are old-school programmers who would just as soon not care about business matters at all if they could manage it, and Brad is a predatory CEO trying to steal their legacy for his corporation. All the "but I'm one of you: a programmer, and fan, not a suit" postings from Brad, even if true, won't change the equations involved in the actual court case, trademark filings, etc.

I still think the best solution all-round would allow both the Stardock SC franchise and the P & F sequel to go forward with a minimum amount of additional fuss and no additional litigation, but every indication seems to be that neither party trusts the other at all any more and the solution will have to be court-imposed. Some degree of reconciliation later in the process might at least curtail the threat of future lawsuits, assuming that whatever final judgment is reached isn't so definitive as to strip either the rights to SC from Stardock or to strip the IP rights from Paul and Fred. I don't expect Paul & Fred to be magnanimous if they win; if Stardock is, Brad might win back some goodwill in the hopes of getting a future game I suspect he'd want to play himself, but I have doubts that will happen and if it does I doubt Paul & Fred will publish a game based on their own intellectual work on sufferance. From a fan perspective, the best hope is a legally-imposed compromise. That, or an agreement between the two parties that each will travel the galaxy in an opposite direction and then fight it all out when they meet again coming the other way.

Not a comparable example, but back when Microprose was going to release Civilization, the CEO of Avalon Hill (which published the boardgame Civilization) met with Microprose's CEO after threats of a lawsuit, and they reached a handshake agreement that each company would put an advertising flyer in the box of their game advertising the other company's game. In effect, Microprose breached a trademark and settled by exchanging advertising with Avalon Hill. Of course, most boardgamers willing to play a six player, six hour game would be interested in the computer game, and not so much the other direction, so this worked out great for only one of the two parties. But as a gamer, I can't help but be nostalgic for the naive but simple resolution.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #258 on: March 30, 2018, 10:55:42 pm »

Not a comparable example, but back when Microprose was going to release Civilization, the CEO of Avalon Hill (which published the boardgame Civilization) met with Microprose's CEO after threats of a lawsuit, and they reached a handshake agreement that each company would put an advertising flyer in the box of their game advertising the other company's game. In effect, Microprose breached a trademark and settled by exchanging advertising with Avalon Hill. Of course, most boardgamers willing to play a six player, six hour game would be interested in the computer game, and not so much the other direction, so this worked out great for only one of the two parties. But as a gamer, I can't help but be nostalgic for the naive but simple resolution.

It may seem like a simple resolution, but for Stardock I think this is actually the whole point. It's the one thing that's remained the same, Stardock's repeated need for Paul and Fred to validate their game (if not them personally).

From the moment Stardock got involved in Star Control, they reached out over and over to Paul and Fred.

Stardock wanted to collaborate on a game with Paul and Fred. (P&F declined.)
Stardock wanted to license P&F's characters for their own game. (P&F declined.)
Stardock wanted to publish P&F's new game. (P&F declined.)
Stardock wanted to interview P&F as part of a promotion on their website. (P&F declined.)

And as things broke down...

Stardock made announcements to downplay P&F's role in the old games.
Stardock bundled a pre-order for their new game with P&F's old games.
All of Stardock's settlement offers still make them the publisher of P&F's old games.
All of Stardock's settlement offers include a statement where P&F promote SC:O.
Stardock was furious that fans found out about their request that P&F transfer all IP to Stardock, and not make any kind of space game for 5 years.

I guess it sounds more creepy when I type it out like that. But I think it's actually just shrewd business. Any settlement that has P&F directing their fans towards Stardock would give Stardock something that Atari couldn't sell.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 11:04:41 pm by rosepatel » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #259 on: March 30, 2018, 11:32:38 pm »

No one forced Paul and Fred to announce their new game as a sequel to Star Control.  No one forced them to double down and actively promote it as the "true" sequel to Star Control. No one forced them to go out and begin attacking us publicly.

These are all things that occurred before any public response from Stardock.

Star Control was owned by Accolade.  It was Accolade's game that contained licensed IP from Paul and Fred.  These are indisputable facts.  They are facts that don't diminish the genius that came from Paul and Fred.

Many of you have no idea how many of the products you use on a regular basis are licensed from one party and simply branded by another.  That doesn't make the product owned by the party that is licensing IP (or cereal or cough medicine or detergent or voice recognition, etc.).  

It was our hope that Paul and Fred would return and make a new game in their universe.  I was the one who posted first about it here on this very forum.  It was a win-win for this to happen.  It is not, however, a win-win when one party begins to represent their game as the "true" sequel while also trying to force us to change our game that we had been working on for years with their full knowledge and then publicly attacking attacking us.  Most reasonable people will look at the timing, the public actions and the private demands combined and draw what we think is a pretty obvious conclusion as to what their intent was.


Edit: Some people are far far over estimating my personal involvement in the suit or how "personal" it is.  I suspect most of you have never been involved in litigation.  Without getting into this case, as there is an order to avoid discussing it, there are settlements designed for public consumption and there are settlements designed to communicate to the other party the relative merits of the case.  Both are designed to allow the parties negotiate back and forth.  When a party violates confidentiality, that is not "conciliatory".  That is short-circuiting the process and increases the damage that that party will ultimately have to address.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 11:48:45 pm by Frogboy » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #260 on: March 31, 2018, 12:11:32 am »

Most reasonable people will look at the timing, the public actions and the private demands combined and draw what we think is a pretty obvious conclusion as to what their intent was.

So, as a person who aspires to be reasonable, I think that their announcement post was ill-advised.  I also suspect that Paul&Fred probably honestly thought they were allowed to do this, either because it would be a nominative fair use, or because they believed that the trademark had lapsed, and could no longer be enforced.  I'm skeptical on that, but if this case goes forward, we'll see what the court says.

However, their announcement needs to be viewed in light of their email exchange with you a few days earlier, in which you insisted that the 1988 agreement was still valid (#19 in your Q&A).  That assertion would essentially mean that they could only make their game at your sufferance - that they would have to bargain with you for rights that they were certain that they already possessed.  As soon as you took that position, and did not immediately recant when they pointed out the termination clauses (#20 in your Q&A),  I suspect that they viewed your stance as a declaration of IP war, and determined that litigation would be inevitable.  Had you not sued them for trademark infringement first, I suspect they would probably have sued you anyway in order to get a declaratory judgement about the 1988 agreement.

My opinion here is that both sides had initial misconceptions about the IP situation - Stardock due to a misreading of the 1988 agreement, and P&F due to not understanding the precise limits of trademark protection.  I note that both sides seem to have backed off:  They no longer call GotP a "Sequel to Star Control", and you don't make the same claims about having the rights from the 1988 agreement that you did a few months ago.  I think both sides have learned better where the lines are, and I hope that you can come to an agreement that settles your future directions, without getting mired in recriminations over the events of November 2017.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 12:44:57 am by Elestan » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #261 on: March 31, 2018, 12:52:37 am »

Quote
The Stardock FAQ page is useful, but I find it strange that items 14-18 are just summaries, especially as the souring of relations would appear to happen over this period. Why be selective here? It feeds into a potential narrative that Paul and Fred are posting complete documents while Stardock is releasing information selectively. That'd be less of a problem if Stardock hadn't said that Paul and Fred posted misleading information themselves.

The QA has been updated.

https://www.starcontrol.com/article/487690/qa-regarding-star-control-and-paul-and-fred

As previously mentioned, both parties are barred from settlement discussions so we cannot comment on that.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #262 on: March 31, 2018, 01:27:39 am »

Most reasonable people will look at the timing, the public actions and the private demands combined and draw what we think is a pretty obvious conclusion as to what their intent was.

So, as a person who aspires to be reasonable, I think that their announcement post was ill-advised.  I also suspect that Paul&Fred probably honestly thought they were allowed to do this, either because it would be a nominative fair use, or because they believed that the trademark had lapsed, and could no longer be enforced.  I'm skeptical on that, but if this case goes forward, we'll see what the court says.

However, their announcement needs to be viewed in light of their email exchange with you a few days earlier, in which you insisted that the 1988 agreement was still valid (#19 in your Q&A).  That assertion would essentially mean that they could only make their game at your sufferance - that they would have to bargain with you for rights that they were certain that they already possessed.  As soon as you took that position, and did not immediately recant when they pointed out the termination clauses (#20 in your Q&A),  I suspect that they viewed your stance as a declaration of IP war, and determined that litigation would be inevitable.  Had you not sued them for trademark infringement first, I suspect they would probably have sued you anyway in order to get a declaratory judgement about the 1988 agreement.

My opinion here is that both sides had initial misconceptions about the IP situation - Stardock due to a misreading of the 1988 agreement, and P&F due to not understanding the precise limits of trademark protection.  I note that both sides seem to have backed off:  They no longer call GotP a "Sequel to Star Control", and you don't make the same claims about having the rights from the 1988 agreement that you did a few months ago.  I think both sides have learned better where the lines are, and I hope that you can come to an agreement that settles your future directions, without getting mired in recriminations over the events of November 2017.

Again: No one forced them to do what they did.   You also keep insisting that the 1988 agreement has expired.  Without going into the legal background on that, you are mistaken in assuming that that is a fact.

However, again, Stardock has not exploited that licensing agreement.

Remember: It's not like Stardock responded to their flagrant violation of our trademark by including the SC2 aliens and ships in our game.  

Instead, Stardock responded by changing the name Super-Melee everywhere in the game to Fleet Battles even though we were having a private dispute in order to placate them.

To suggest that there is a "fair use" to call your new game a sequel to someone else's product -- one that is actively in development, 5 days before it goes live with its big beta day that had been planned for a year is not reasonable.  Do you have any idea how many products you use every that that are purely licensed with a brand (trademark) slapped on it?  Do you really believe, for a second, that the company licensing the detergent, technology, food, display could announce a new product and represent it as a direct sequel or successor to the other company's product?

The only thing that Stardock did that you could argue offended them was make the game available on Steam http://steamspy.com/app/358920 which they receive royalties for.  There's no damage there.  If the stars align and they were to win that case they'd get some percent of the $10,000 in sales from that. Maybe.  That's assuming the jury wasn't so angry at being hauled in from work to go through a trial over something so trivial because Paul and Fred were "very very" angry on principle that they came up with a fitting "award" for them.

Stardock and Paul and Fred obviously disagree on whether the license is in effect.  But right now, it's a trivial disagreement.

By contrast, they did something that did tangible harm to us in the form of confused consumers, marketing dilution, etc.  They completely took the wind out of our Star Control: Fleet battles announcement because suddenly the press believed there was a second new Star Control game coming. How much in sales will they have cost us due to the lost marketing time, the confusion by fans, having to compete with a vaporous product that uses our own brand to compete with us?  Pick a percent.  We'll have spend just over $9 million on this game by the time it's released.  We expect it to make multiples on that.  Go ahead and pick your own best-guess (we will have both our own analysis and expert witnesses that will do that as well).  And that is all before their public attacks on us designed to maximize damage to our reputation and good will.

And now, because Paul and Fred violated rule 408, the judge has ordered the parties not to publicly discuss settlement which takes away our ability to even brainstorm with the fan community on different ideas that might work to solve these disputes impossible (remember how on Reddit their fans insulted me for not understanding rule 408?)

Like I've tried to tell you, Elestan, I've been in a lot of IP litigation over the years -- patents, trademarks, copyrights.  We were once sued for violating an obscure fax machine UI patent in one of our products that any Internet lawyer would tell you was absurd.  That's not how it works.  Litigation and IP law are complex things that are best avoided.   Disagreements should be handled with people talking to each other, preferably over beer.

One final note: Incidentally, in order to make it crystal clear that protecting our IP is our concern not the right to sell 25 year old DOS games, Stardock will be asking its distributors to remove the DOS games by April 4.  
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 02:05:16 am by Frogboy » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #263 on: March 31, 2018, 02:30:16 am »

You also keep insisting that the 1988 agreement has expired.  Without going into the legal background on that, you are mistaken in assuming that that is a fact.

Well, none of what you've posted so far; either here, in your FAQ, or in your complaint, provides any explanation for why the termination clauses wouldn't apply.  In your email exchange with Paul in early Nov 2017, both of you cite section 2.2, which reads:

Quote from: 1988 Agreement
This License Agreement shall continue in effect with respect to the sale, licensing and sublicensing of each Work, Derivative Work and Derivative Product, for as long as such Work, Derivative Work, and Derivative Product are generating royalties to the Developer at least of $1000 per annum.

I think that it's an uncontested fact that there have been years during which Paul did not receive $1000 in royalties from the SC franchise.  So I just don't see how this clause didn't end the agreement.  I might assume my own legal ignorance, except that Accolade/Atari's lawyers, and Paul/Fred's lawyers all seemed to believe the same thing, and they were the ones who wrote it.

And if you had a solid legal basis for why 2.2 didn't mean what F&P thought, you sure didn't explain it to them, at least not in anything revealed so far.  Given the new settlement Order, I suppose your lawyers will have to be explaining this to the magistrate soon.

Quote
Stardock and Paul and Fred obviously disagree on whether the license is in effect.  But right now, it's a trivial disagreement.

So, you spent a couple paragraphs emphasizing how the license issue was trivial, and the trademark issue was the main focus.  I rather strongly suspect that if I were to ask Fred and Paul, I would get the exact opposite emphasis.

I think from their perspective, it's the other way around:  The trademark dispute is a distraction, and the publishing license is their primary concern.  The trademark is just about damages; if they infringed it, they pay you some money, end of story.  The license is what determines if they have the right (without asking your permission) to do what they've been wanting to do for decades:  Make a new game in the UQM universe.  I think that means more to them than whatever trademark damages you could realistically claim from their post.

And of course, even from your perspective, the license should matter, because if it's expired, Paul can take a magnifying glass to SC:O looking for trivial copyright infringements...and maybe even injunct you against releasing, if the court decides your game is too like SC2. I think that would be pretty hostile and unfriendly of Paul, but if you've just taken him for a bunch of money enforcing your trademark to the limit, I couldn't fault him for doing the same with his copyright.   (yes, this is another plea to settle the whole thing)

Quote
And now, because Paul and Fred violated rule 408, the judge has ordered the parties not to publicly discuss settlement which takes away our ability to even brainstorm with the fan community on different ideas that might work to solve these disputes impossible (remember how on Reddit their fans insulted me for not understanding rule 408?)

So, I've read the magistrate's Order, but it doesn't mention Rule 408, and this article seems to say that Rule 408 just means that settlement discussions can't be introduced as evidence, not that it actually enforces confidentiality on the parties.  In fact, the thrust of the article is that Rule 408 does not provide such protections, and that litigants need to get a separate order if they want to keep the discussions private.  So I still don't see how Rule 408 has anything to do with this.  Could you explain?

Quote
One final note: Incidentally, in order to make it crystal clear that protecting our IP is our concern not the right to sell 25 year old DOS games, Stardock will be asking its distributors to remove the DOS games by April 4.

I don't think anyone is thinking that it's the publishing rights for the old games that you care about.  But the 1988 agreement also (as you point out in your Q&A #30) governs the ability to make new games using Paul's IP.  That's the IP right that matters.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 03:00:04 am by Elestan » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #264 on: March 31, 2018, 03:36:15 am »

You have persuaded me that you are either intellectually dishonest or just so obtuse that talking to you is just a waste of time, Elestan.  I've spent enough years on Usenet to recognize the latter, which is what I suspect is the category you fit in to know that no matter how obvious a point is, you will argue it just for the sake of arguing while conveniently forgetting everything that has been previously been explained to you (like nearly every argument you just made).

I can only refer you to re-read what was written and consider it. 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 03:41:11 am by Frogboy » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #265 on: March 31, 2018, 03:50:59 am »

Paul can take a magnifying glass to SC:O looking for trivial copyright infringements...and maybe even injunct you against releasing, if the court decides your game is too like SC2.

No, he can't.

Well he could have if Stardock accepted that publicized settlement proposal.

There are games that thrive on being copies of former greats, Cities Skylines comes to recent mind.
Blatant ripoff of Sim City even down to the people who live in the city called, "Cims".

Where's the lawsuit?
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #266 on: March 31, 2018, 03:52:32 am »

You have persuaded me that you are either intellectually dishonest or just so obtuse that talking to you is just a waste of time, Elestan.  I've spent enough years on Usenet to recognize the latter, which is what I suspect is the category you fit in to know that no matter how obvious a point is, you will argue it just for the sake of arguing while conveniently forgetting everything that has been previously been explained to you (like nearly every argument you just made).

I can only refer you to re-read what was written and consider it.

I apologize for being so slow on the uptake.  Clearly, I've missed something that must be patently(sorry, this is about trademark and copyright) obvious to the many non-obtuse people who are also reading this.  Perhaps one of them could help me out, and tell me how the license agreement would still be active?  Or how the settlement order relates to Rule 408?

If nobody steps forward, then I suppose everyone here must be obtuse.  Or...I might humbly suggest that you consider...just consider...another possibility:

I know I have the communication skills of drift wood.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 06:11:52 am by Elestan » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #267 on: March 31, 2018, 04:11:19 am »

Paul can take a magnifying glass to SC:O looking for trivial copyright infringements...and maybe even injunct you against releasing, if the court decides your game is too like SC2.

No, he can't.

Well he could have if Stardock accepted that publicized settlement proposal.

There are games that thrive on being copies of former greats, Cities Skylines comes to recent mind.
Blatant ripoff of Sim City even down to the people who live in the city called, "Cims".

Where's the lawsuit?

The danger is that there are parts of copyright law that can get pretty subjective.  Personally, I wouldn't want them applied to any game, but Brad himself has indicated that he's worried about P&F coming after him if someone makes a ship that looks too like the Ur-Quan.  I myself wouldn't support P&F doing that unless the infringement is pretty blatant - I think Brad should even be able to have "Super-Melee", as long as he avoids the old ships.  But there's a risk of getting dragged down a rathole, and I think the best way to avoid it is to settle on terms that negate the more subjective areas of copyright.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 04:50:55 am by Elestan » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #268 on: March 31, 2018, 04:46:48 am »

But there's a risk of getting dragged down a rathole, and i think the best way to avoid it is to settle on terms that negate the more subjective areas of copyright.

That's what is going to happen or it goes to trial. Any previous settlements we have seen were simply litmus tests.
They'll be tightened up for sure so that both sides can at least leave the court with their sanity intact. Maybe not even that.

But there's no way this doesn't end in a settlement. Especially now that both sides have to stop talking about the settlements publicly.
https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/#entry-36

Meaning no more court of opinion.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #269 on: March 31, 2018, 04:54:34 am »

Paul can take a magnifying glass to SC:O looking for trivial copyright infringements...and maybe even injunct you against releasing, if the court decides your game is too like SC2.

No, he can't.

When it comes to the mechanical design, concepts, and function...  You are correct.  That falls well under patent law territory.  The only game company I think ever had a patent that protected a type of game, at least in the tabletop games industry, is Wizards of the Coast with Magic: The Gathering - https://patents.google.com/patent/USRE37957E1     This is one of the reasons why no tabletop game of recent era uses the term "tapping".  No one wants Daddy WoTC knocking on their door, because Grand Daddy Hasbro ain't that far behind.

BUT...  When it comes to the tangible assets/works used to represent the designs, concepts, and function, that falls under copyright territory and a product can be examined to find derivative assets within the product itself.  So no Spathi icon on the emergency hyperspace button, code straight from the original games (which shouldn't be too hard to avoid), and, arguably, unique terms that are used in a very similar context.  This is why Paizo's Pathfinder spell list has a lot of functionally similar spells, but unique names and rules descriptions are different from Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons.

There's debate about whether such could be extended to the ship builder, but I believe that's NOT enforceable (the ship builder is a mechanism to make works) and any online service regarding the ship builder would probably fall under the Safe Harbors in the DMCA.  So Stardock is perfectly fine on that front, and will just need policy to purge any designs that get a DMCA notice that provides a legitimate copyright violation concern.  Similar to what ISPs have to do and Youtube... but less with the trigger happy AI.


The trademark is just about damages; if they infringed it, they pay you some money, end of story.

Thinking about the point of Trrademark infringment and what damages could be collected...  I don't think there's much to collect.  Reading up on the Lanham Act when it comes to recovering for violation of rights  ( https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1117 ), apart from costs of the taking action (legal fees, lawyer fees, and anything spent to take action against the infringement), damage seems to revolve around profits that were misdirected to the defendant from the plaintiff.  Unless there's another clause that handles other aspects that could be considered damages, the defendants infringement has to be related to the "sale, offering for sale, or distribution of goods or services".  An announcement of a possible product in the future that may or not may come into existence does not seem to fall into that category.

That's a tricky one to argue.
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