The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
May 24, 2019, 05:16:24 am
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 ... 18 19 [20] 21 22 ... 68 Print
Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 52811 times)
Frogboy
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 231



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #285 on: April 01, 2018, 06:54:08 am »

With regards to who was being honest and who was not, go towards the bottom of the FAQ.

Note all the allegations of dishonesty they’ve leveled at me personally such as saying we’ve having never met, claiming that I lied when I said they said their jobs at Activision prevented them from working with us, and so on. You can read the paragraph and compare it to their actual words.  That’s pretty serious stuff to charge in a court document, especially when it can be proven to be completely false.

I’m going to bow out of this discussion for the time being. Apparently Paul and Fred’s lawyer is complaining about it.  I’m not looking to antagonize opposing counsel but I do want him to understand the harm their false allegations have done to Stardock and myself in particular and that false allegations that they chose to make public will not go unanswered.  I’d rather all of this had been handled professionally and privately in the first place.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #286 on: April 01, 2018, 09:13:17 am »

Note all the allegations of dishonesty they’ve leveled at me personally such as saying we’ve having never met, claiming that I lied when I said they said their jobs at Activision prevented them from working with us, and so on. You can read the paragraph and compare it to their actual words.

Okay, let's take a look at the two specific items you mentioned.  I won't ask any questions of you, since you've been asked to back away from this.

Quote from: Frogboy
...saying we’ve having never met...

So, in their countercomplaint, they do acknowledge meeting you (once):

Quote from: P&F Countercomplaint #70
On or about March 4, 2015, Reiche and Ford briefly met Wardell and Derek Paxton from Stardock for the first and only time at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California

I think you may be referring to them saying that you've never spoken, in their #68 (which I analyze further below).

Quote from: Frogboy
...claiming that I lied when I said they said their jobs at Activision prevented them from working with us...

I think this is referring to their #68:

Quote from: P&F Countercomplaint #68
on January 3, 2014 Wardell gave an interview[link added] in which he made a series of false or misleading statements about connections between Stardock and Reiche and Ford.

Presuming this is the part you were talking about, I need to first note that they did not actually accuse you of lying, but rather of making false or misleading statements.  Some might call that splitting hairs, but there's a real difference: Accusing you of lying would be more serious; a lie is a knowing falsehood that is also a deliberate attempt to mislead, so it would impugn your motivations in addition to your actions.

What P&F say is:

Quote from: P&F Countercomplaint #68
Wardell falsely stated that he had “talked to [Reiche and Ford] quite a bit” and would “be talking to Paul and Fred as we go forward” about Stardock’s new game, when in fact they had never spoken and Reiche and Ford had wholly declined to work with Stardock on the game.
Quote from: P&F Countercomplaint #68
Wardell misleadingly suggested that Reiche and Ford simply could not be “officially” involved because of their existing jobs, when in fact they actually declined any involvement because they did not want Stardock or anyone else to further develop their world, and they had always planned to work on it themselves in the future.

So, let's look at what you actually said in the interview, and how true it seems to be:

Quote from: Ars Interview
Whatever answers [to SC2 mysteries] are revealed, Wardell assured Ars that they will be true to the creators' intentions. "We'll be talking to Paul and Fred as we go forward," he noted.

I'm going to call this one "true but misleading" on both sides:

  • You're expressing your intent to keep in communication with them, which is fine.  But, you're implying that purchasers of SC:O might get to see P&F-blessed resolutions of some of SC2's mysteries, and Paul hasn't given you any indication that he's willing to let you do this.
  • However, P&F are also being misleading in their denial; when they say "they had never spoken", they're being excessively literal; your conversations were over email, not "spoken" in person or over the phone, but that's an immaterial difference here.

Quote from: Brad(Ars Interview)
"I talked to them quite a bit about what level of involvement they would like to have in the new game," he said

I'm going to call this one "Too subjective to call" on your part, because you had exchanged a few emails, but "quite a bit" isn't well-defined.  On P&F's part, I'm again going to say they're being unreasonably literal on "talked".

Quote from: Brad(Ars Interview)
"The main issue is that Toys for Bob is owned by Activision now, and as a result they cannot be officially involved at present."

Based on Paul's Sep 16, 2013 email, I have to agree with P&F that this was misleading.  While the first half of Paul's email does indicate that Activision wouldn't allow it, the second half states unequivocally that "Fred and I are just not comfortable handing over our world to be developed by others."  Full stop.  So it was misleading to tell the interviewer that the "main issue" was Activision, when Paul had already made it clear that he and Fred would not be giving permission in any case.

Obviously, I'm not on the jury.  But for whatever it's worth, this is how I would find on these points if I was.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 06:24:30 pm by Elestan » Logged
Mormont
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


I love YaBB 1G - SP1!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #287 on: April 01, 2018, 04:12:38 pm »

They say in the complaint that they had never spoken with Stardock as of January 2014, then later say they met for the "first and only time" in 2015. Unless you met before then, I don't see the dishonesty there.

Stardock's big mistake was to hold the license over them. Maybe their lawyers have a creative reading or some special document that changes everything, but right now it looks like a pretty questionable interpretation of the contract. Brad is putting Fred and Paul into a subordinate relationship regarding the whole franchise in the e-mails, however benevolently he may plan to use that power (Point 11 of the offer list in particular would really stick in my craw). No matter how it's phrased, it's easy to see why they would feel threatened. The biggest issue in Stardock's complaint is the trademark, but when things started going downhill in the e-mails the trademark appears to have been mostly in the background. If Stardock had stuck with negotiating over the TM/copyright split, things would probably never have escalated - F&P seem pretty open to working with Stardock on that point and coordinating consistent messaging.

Also whatever Stardock's intentions, it looks ambiguous to me in the e-mails if they were still planning to use the original ships (not aliens) in Melee whether Fred and Paul liked it or not. Maybe they didn't intend to, but it's not entirely clear from the e-mails alone. The timing of the Ghosts announcement may have been because they were afraid of Stardock getting their ships into Melee first without permission and wanted to preempt it. Maybe that was the wrong way to handle it though.

Quote
Stardock and Paul and Fred obviously disagree on whether the license is in effect.  But right now, it's a trivial disagreement.
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.  
Kudos for removing the games; it shows an attempt at good faith and I hope this helps move toward a settlement. But I think Fred and Paul feel the opposite about what the primary concern in this case is - whether the license still applies is obviously very important to them and not trivial at all. Both sides clearly see this case as being fundamentally "about" different things, so hopefully they can find a compromise that gives them both what they want, or at least most of it. Stardock's claim to the TM seems stronger than the license for sure.

Since the parties and lawyers are reading this even if they can't comment on it...one reasonable settlement provision to address Stardock's concerns with competition might be that Paul and Fred can't talk publicly about Ghosts (or at least have strong limitations on how much they can talk about it) until a period of time after Origins releases , but they can still work on it in private.Then if they do a Kickstarter it can't be too close to a Stardock SC expansion, and Ghosts can't ultimately release too close to an expansion either. Maybe there's a problem with this or maybe it's already being considered, but just an idea I had.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 12:39:43 am by Mormont » Logged
Deus Siddis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1375



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #288 on: April 01, 2018, 08:16:58 pm »

Based on Paul's Sep 16, 2013 email, I have to agree with P&F that this was misleading.  While the first half of Paul's email does indicate that Activision wouldn't allow it, the second half states unequivocally that "Fred and I are just not comfortable handing over our world to be developed by others."  Full stop.  So it was misleading to tell the interviewer that the "main issue" was Activision, when Paul had already made it clear that he and Fred would not be giving permission in any case.

I do not think that one in particular is all that unclear. It is basically implying that if Activision would allow them to work with Stardock on a separate project, they might very well do so. But Activision won't allow them to work outside of Toys for Bob at that point in time. That is the situation the first half is speaking to. The second half is saying that they would not want anyone else to work with their material in their absence. So you have to hold on and wait for them to maybe get the Skylanders franchise to a certain point and arm wrestle Activision into an employment contract that allows greater independence... or you can avoid using their IP altogether.

Since the parties and lawyers are reading this even if they can't comment on it...one reasonable settlement provision to address Stardock's concerns with competition might be that Paul and Fred can't talk publicly about Ghosts (or at least have strong limitations on how much they can talk about it) until a period of time after Origins releases , though they can still work on it in private.Then if they do a Kickstarter it can't be too close to a Stardock SC expansion, and Ghosts can't ultimately release too close to an expansion either. Maybe there's a problem with this or maybe it's already being considered, but just an idea I had.

The problem might be on the practical side rather than the legal. Development tends to slide and miss deadlines. So the more you try to interlace the timing of releases and announcements for all these separate products, and legally codify that interlacing, the more trouble you will have when the nature of software development strikes.
Logged
Krulle
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 986


*Hurghi*! Krulle is *spitting* again!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #289 on: April 01, 2018, 09:54:31 pm »

Again thanks Frogboy for your continued interaction with us, here.

Thanks to Elestan, I share your curiosity regarding reasoning of non-termination of the 1988 agreement, and the rule 403 question....
I also find the e-mails not convincing regardin "lying"....
Neither side handled the interactions well, and the GotP announcement was, if FF and PR3 knew of your intended "live fleet battle" publication, unfair.
Up to that point, my impression is of Stardock being polite, but pushy towards getting the IP and/or something they can use to attach Origins to the original stories. And FF and PR3 being polite, but blocking.

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.

[...]

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.  
Question, as you keep hammering on the sales damage the GotP announcement may have done to you:
How many copies have you sold of Origins by bundling with the old games? For which you may (or not) have had a license?
Through which bundling you have associated your game with the story, lore, copyright and goodwill of the old games?

And why stop the sales only after the weekend? - Likely some time-limit requirements.... But still...

edit:
sorry, do not answer that, you've been asked to stop sharing mformation with us.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 10:00:37 pm by Krulle » Logged
Mormont
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


I love YaBB 1G - SP1!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #290 on: April 01, 2018, 11:39:55 pm »

The problem might be on the practical side rather than the legal. Development tends to slide and miss deadlines. So the more you try to interlace the timing of releases and announcements for all these separate products, and legally codify that interlacing, the more trouble you will have when the nature of software development strikes.
This came to mind, but it shouldn't be that hard to work around. Like maybe there's a hard expiration on the limitations if Origins is delayed beyond X date, for example. Of course I'm not a lawyer or an expert on settlement negotiations, so my idea should probably be taken with a grain of salt. But I thought little or no public talk about Ghosts for awhile could maybe make Stardock happy while not being an excessive burden on Fred and Paul, since it is early in development anyway.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 01:55:33 am by Mormont » Logged
rosepatel
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #291 on: April 02, 2018, 01:45:00 am »

Also, if the distribution deal expired on bankruptcy, it wouldn't make sense for Atari to send an email. Atari would have been no more.
Uh. What? Bankruptcy isn't the end of a company. Or am I misinterpreting what you said here?

You're right that this is an oversimplification. All I mean to say is that the re-organization is so dramatic that all of the employees (or most) are gone, and any liabilities from before the bankruptcy no longer matter. So even if the feeling is that Atari "swindled" or was negligent in selling assets to Stardock, they are pretty much off the hook.
Logged
chapel
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 4



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #292 on: April 02, 2018, 06:21:17 pm »

Quote from: Brad Wardell
Over the past 4 years, we have communicated regarding the progress of Star Control: Origins. He asked us not to try to make a sequel to Star Control 2 and said that he hoped one day to be able to return to the universe he and Fred Ford created.

Recently, Paul told me the good news: Activision was going to let him do a true sequel to Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (i.e. Star Control III is not canon for that universe).

Likewise, no one forced Stardock to match P&F's announcement about their own Star Control sequel by also calling it a Star Control sequel, let alone a "true" sequel.

It doesn't make sense if the primary concern is to supposedly protect IP. It would be incredibly boneheaded to basically cede your Trademark to someone else's product if your primary goal was to protect your Trademark. Even if you only made that mistake for a few weeks.

But this makes way more sense if Stardock's primary concern is to associate SC:O with Paul and Fred.

At the end of the day, the law is what it is, and lawyers can only argue what people are legally entitled to do. But Stardock seems far more concerned with P&F's refusal to validate SC:O, and, if anything, treating it with less approval than even Star Control 3.

I knew he once called it a true sequel... perhaps F&P were simply following set precedent by the Trademark owner...
Logged
Krulle
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 986


*Hurghi*! Krulle is *spitting* again!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #293 on: April 02, 2018, 07:01:15 pm »

Good point.
Gonna add something:
Greetings!

I have good news!

Our (you guys and us) have had our wishes granted:  Paul and Fred are returning to create a true sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters called Ghosts of the Precursors.

You can read their announcement here: https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/

This will be an independent effort outside of Activision (or Stardock) and ignores Star Control 3.


(bolding by me)

Frogboy called it true sequel to Ur-Quan Masters, what GotP will be....
No mention of the trademark Star Control....
Logged
tingkagol
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 46



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #294 on: April 03, 2018, 05:44:21 am »

Good point.
Gonna add something:
Greetings!

I have good news!

Our (you guys and us) have had our wishes granted:  Paul and Fred are returning to create a true sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters called Ghosts of the Precursors.

You can read their announcement here: https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/

This will be an independent effort outside of Activision (or Stardock) and ignores Star Control 3.


(bolding by me)

Frogboy called it true sequel to Ur-Quan Masters, what GotP will be....
No mention of the trademark Star Control....
He edited out "Star Control 2" from his post once lawyers got involved. I have no screenshots, but several sites still have the original quote in question to this day (from the top of my head - Kotaku).

Later, he edited out " The Ur-Quan Masters" and replaced it with "the Ur-Quan story" when Stardock filed trademarks for "The Ur-Quan Masters".

I wouldn't be surprised if he edited out "Ur-Quan" now that Stardock has filed for trademarks for all the SC1-2 aliens. So yeah, bummer.
Logged
Krulle
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 986


*Hurghi*! Krulle is *spitting* again!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #295 on: April 03, 2018, 06:47:24 am »

The original post has no "last edit" mark....
Logged
tingkagol
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 46



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #296 on: April 03, 2018, 09:53:22 am »

The original post has no "last edit" mark....

Oops. I was talking about Brad's GotP thread in the Stardock forums. My bad.

Also:
https://www.reddit.com/r/starcontrol/comments/89ai8i/interesting_tweet_from_our_scaley_friend_about/?utm_source=reddit-android
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 09:59:59 am by tingkagol » Logged
Krulle
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 986


*Hurghi*! Krulle is *spitting* again!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #297 on: April 03, 2018, 12:46:43 pm »

Interesting find. Thank you for linking.
But that still happened AFTER the original GotP announcement by FF and PR3...
So he was uncarefully following their example, and may have not yet recognised the issue at hand when he tweeted.

And in tweets everyone takes shortcuts.... As shown by the highest boss of the judges of the judiciary system where this will be judged.


BTW, the Venturebeat article linked in the reddit post.... It talks about "resurrecting the series" by FF and PR3, and later also refers to "the rights for the Star Control series have passed from one company to another until [...] Stardock acquired them in 2013."
Not a single word about Stardock being in development of a new game and actively resurrecting the series....
This article is another prime example how this whole PR blew past Stardock.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 02:09:45 pm by Krulle » Logged
rosepatel
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #298 on: April 04, 2018, 12:41:12 am »

You can try to minimize the Star Control trademark as a game that hasn't been around for 25 years. It probably sold between 100k and 200k copies.

Just for comparison, the Battlestar Gallactica remake was 25 years after the fact. It was before my time, cancelled after two seasons, and zero relevance to me. But when you have a write-in campaign to create a third season, those fans are out there, and lead to a deeply passionate wave of excitement around the remake. Much of that excitement is among people who went on to work on film and television set in space, including stuff that was relevant to me.

Star Control consistently shows up "best of all time" lists, even to this day. It remains a favorite of game journalists and devs.

The community is still pretty active. And it came long at a pivotal time in game history, where many of those kids went on to become today's devs, artists, journalists, publishers...

Star Control is your favorite game's designer's favorite game.

Resurrecting the franchise is worth more than a few fans. You're talking about super fans who will donate anything -- time, efforts, ideas, word of mouth, over paying -- to make the game a reality.

Stardock really did get their money's worth by buying the Trademark. But they couldn't get all of that with the name alone, especially considering the disappointment that was Star Control 3.

They scoured every Star Control community and invoked Paul and Fred's names with nearly every announcement. When Paul and Fred announced their game, even Stardock called it a true sequel.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. Any game developer would be lucky to be associated with something so influential and beloved.

Where it backfires is when you sue them. That's even before you talk about the whole "creators" fiasco or trying to sell the old games. When you try to pull in fans from their legacy, it's a huge backfire to start attacking their legacy.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 12:44:42 am by rosepatel » Logged
Frogboy
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 231



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #299 on: April 04, 2018, 01:52:10 am »

For someone who has been apart of the community ifor a month you seem pretty invested in this controversy, Rose.

It is unfortunate that Paul and Fred rejected a path of coexistence. There is only one Star Control sequel and that is Star Control:Origins. Any other game that wants to be associated with Star Control requires our permission. Permission we were willing to grant at one time. 
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 18 19 [20] 21 22 ... 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!