The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
April 25, 2019, 08:23:44 pm
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Paul Reiche and Fred Ford want to continue the story they started when they created Star Control II — The Ur-Quan Masters. «Happy days and jubilation!» «But wait!» «There is something wrong here... something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.» «Please, Captain, we need your help!»

+  The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum
|-+  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release
| |-+  General UQM Discussion (Moderator: Death 999)
| | |-+  My take on Stardock
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 39 40 [41] 42 43 ... 68 Print
Author Topic: My take on Stardock  (Read 50819 times)
Ariloulawleelay
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #600 on: April 20, 2018, 02:36:52 pm »


As an aside, I'd be curious to know why courts tolerate litigants filing such terse documents.  It seems like the normal strategy is to reveal as little of your legal argument as possible, for as long as possible...which makes sense if you can do it, but if I were mediating a dispute, I would try to force both sides to be as forthcoming as possible at all stages, rather than hiding their cards.


I have often wondered this myself. It may help to think about these initial pleadings more in terms of preserving flexibility at this stage of the proceeding, while still meeting various technical requirements.

I do not mean to single out any one party here (as none is innocent), but take a look at Stardock's FAC. The authors use so many stacked "and/or" conjunctions that every cause of action save Count V could relate to the announcement of GOTP, the distribution of the Classic SC games, or both. Count IV is especially opaque ... I have no idea what specific conduct it is premised upon. But you can bet your bank - to borrow a phrase - that the necessary elements of each cause of action are set forth in full.

Why do it this way? Frogboy has asserted "that that one [pleading] was designed to be released by a PR firm and one was not." Obviously I cannot speak to that, but consider that almost every lawsuit begins with a certain, expected amount of information asymmetry. The higher we set the bar for specificity in initial pleadings, the more legitimate plaintiffs we inadvertently lock out of the courtroom simply because they do not know what exactly the putative defendants are doing to injure them.

Portions of Stardock's FAC may be an unpleasant read as a result, but this construction could save everyone time (and attorney fees) later on should Stardock's position on GOG (for example) evolve. Rest assured, Judge Spero's Settlement Conference Order requires the parties to formulate significantly more meaningful summaries in advance of next month's big sit-down. And federal courts are counting on most litigants settling.

Speaking of information asymmetry - though I would generally be careful not to divine too much from something as formulaic as an Answer & Affirmative Defenses - I was struck by how differently Stardock treats the 1988 License Agreement and the three addenda thereto. I cannot help but wonder if the existence of such addenda was a revelation. If so, this would explain for me timing of the trademark filings on race names, as a defensive reaction to the previously unknown second sentence of Addendum No. 3, section 1.5.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #601 on: April 20, 2018, 03:36:40 pm »

Is a timetable known, or is the court waiting for the back and forth of letters to end?
The settlement conference is on May 14, 2018. Odds aren't high, but things could end right there. The actual court case is set to take place during June 2019. So this unpleasant dispute is probably going to be up in the air for a while.

Also, the deadline for amended pleadings is July 16, 2018.  So by that time, both sides should have solidified their arguments.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #602 on: April 20, 2018, 04:31:19 pm »

...consider the recent discussion of assignments in gross. I was initially quite skeptical of the relevance of the whole idea. Financial condition aside, Stardock was in as good a position to create a new "Star Control" game the day after the assignment as Atari was the day before the assignment. But the more I let this bounce around in my head, the more I wonder: maybe if P&F's conversion claim gains traction, and maybe if there is some sort of lingering § 365(c) issue in Atari's bankruptcy, could there be something there?

Thank you for the very thoughtful post.  If you feel qualified to answer, I have a question about bankruptcy law that might hinge on the clause you cited, or one like it:

I know that bankruptcy judges have the power to break certain rules that are normally in force.  Can they override a clause such as the 1988 agreement's 7.1, which triggers rights reversion to Paul upon bankruptcy, and/or clause 12.1, which requires Paul's permission before assignment?  Feel free to answer generally if you don't want to opine on the particular contract language here.
Logged
Death 999
Global Moderator
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3812


We did. You did. Yes we can. No.


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #603 on: April 21, 2018, 12:17:29 am »

\Yet twice I have been drawn back, both times to prepare rejoinders to a fake lawyer1 who promoted untenable theories about civics and who should be permitted to say what in this forum. Twice I gave myself a cooling-off period before posting, only to find that a moderator had *jumped in front*. Nnnnggaaahhhhh indeed!

Given that phrasing, I'm not sure whether to say 'sorry' or 'you're welcome'.
Logged
Telecart
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 29


No. I don't think so.


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #604 on: April 22, 2018, 04:28:37 am »

Hey folks I read most of the past 40 pages but am still trying to grasp at something and maybe you could help me:

1. What is the "win" scenario for Stardock?
2. What is the "win" scenario for P&F?
3. Are there any in-between scenarios where neither "win" condition is granted or somehow both "win" or a gradient therein?


Specifically, I would like to understand if any "win" condition could prevent either games from being released, and if any scenario could bring the closure of this project.

Logged

Nihilistic mystics, apostolic alcoholics, messianic maniacs, cataclysmic and prolific.
Serosis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1283



View Profile WWW
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #605 on: April 22, 2018, 05:25:08 am »

Hey folks I read most of the past 40 pages but am still trying to grasp at something and maybe you could help me:

1. What is the "win" scenario for Stardock?
2. What is the "win" scenario for P&F?
3. Are there any in-between scenarios where neither "win" condition is granted or somehow both "win" or a gradient therein?


Specifically, I would like to understand if any "win" condition could prevent either games from being released, and if any scenario could bring the closure of this project.



1. Origins gets released without interference from P&F

2. P&F get free reign to call Ghosts of the Precursors a true sequel to Star Control II

3. There has been an intent from P&F that they wanted anything resembling SCII ripped out of Origins,
up to and including ripping out the ship designer or policing the Steam Workshop so nobody could upload any designs that resemble SCII ships.

It wouldn't stop the game from being released, but it's basically P&F poo-pooing on the idea of a UQM "port" to the Origins engine.
Which is already being planned regardless of Ship Designer. And I have ideas on a Kessari Total Conversion as well (Not exact, mind you).

Regardless of what the past publicized settlements are, those were the extreme end of things. All flash, no substance. It will eventually be boiled down to what the two parties actually want or what they are willing to compromise on.

I don't see a scenario where either one of them will be forced to stop development.
It's possible, but the case would actually have to go all the way to trial by jury to get that result.
Logged

The artist formerly known as Kohr-Ah Death.

Get your MegaMod HERE
Lakstoties
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 64



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #606 on: April 22, 2018, 06:43:45 am »

Hey folks I read most of the past 40 pages but am still trying to grasp at something and maybe you could help me:

1. What is the "win" scenario for Stardock?
2. What is the "win" scenario for P&F?
3. Are there any in-between scenarios where neither "win" condition is granted or somehow both "win" or a gradient therein?


Specifically, I would like to understand if any "win" condition could prevent either games from being released, and if any scenario could bring the closure of this project.

1.  Stardock "win" scenario - (Based on previous settlement offer and intent via legal documents submitted to the court) Full acquisition of Star Control rights, P&F discredit as creators, and Ghost of the Precursors killed forever unless P&F capitulate and submit themselves as vassals to Stardock if they ever want to create it.  Likely only Star Control: Origins gets made.

2.  P&F "win" scenario - Trademark invalidated so they don't have to worry about that thing anymore.  Star Control 1 and 2 copyrights fully recognized and protected.  Ghost of the Precursors cleared to be made without interference from Stardock.  Stardock can't touch Star Control 1 or 2 works or derivatives for their Star Control: Origins... This includes all aliens from Star Control 1 and 2, and Stardock's trademark filing abuse is called out and benchslapped by the courts for what it is.  Both games can get made.

3.  Stardock keeps the Star Control trademark and Star Control 3 specific rights, all other trademarks filed by Stardock ruled invalid due to many, many reasons.  P&F allowed to make Ghost of the Pecursors and their previous use of the trademark declared properly nominative... Since they did make Star Control 1 and 2.  Both games can get made.
Logged
Krulle
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 981


*Hurghi*! Krulle is *spitting* again!


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #607 on: April 22, 2018, 09:17:44 am »

Regardless of what the past publicized settlements offers are, those were the extreme end of things. All flash, no substance. It will eventually be boiled down to what the two parties actually want or what they are willing to compromise on.
Small difference, but important difference...
Logged
Serosis
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1283



View Profile WWW
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #608 on: April 22, 2018, 10:49:04 am »

Even Brad has said that those early offers are extreme in the beginning just to test the waters on who will compromise on what.
They're expected to be rejected, hopefully with clues revealing where the weak points are.

Even Elestan should realize that.

Kind of like a movie hostage negotiation. Demand ridiculous things in the beginning so you'll have something to compromise on later.

It's all still ridiculous in my eyes but there's nothing I can do about it.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 10:52:34 am by Serosis » Logged

The artist formerly known as Kohr-Ah Death.

Get your MegaMod HERE
tingkagol
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 46



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #609 on: April 22, 2018, 01:56:06 pm »

Implying the settlement offers from both parties were "ridiculous" is a gross misrepresentation when clearly only one party had a ridiculous settlement offer.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #610 on: April 22, 2018, 06:34:45 pm »

Even Brad has said that those early offers are extreme in the beginning just to test the waters on who will compromise on what.
They're expected to be rejected, hopefully with clues revealing where the weak points are.

Even Elestan should realize that.

Kind of like a movie hostage negotiation. Demand ridiculous things in the beginning so you'll have something to compromise on later.

That's not actually how to negotiate*.  If you're serious about negotiating something, yes, your initial offer should ask for more, and offer less, than the final deal you want.  But you never want to cross the line into 'ridiculous', because that's when the other party walks away from the table.  The problem with Stardock's offer was that it was so far from anything P&F might have accepted, that there was no place to go from it.  P&F's offer, in contrast, looks like it did ask for more than they could get (like the music, if they didn't have the copyright on it), but I could see ways to change it to get to something that could have been palatable to both sides.

Did Brad actually say that early offers are expected to be 'extreme'?  I don't recall him doing so, and it's worth noting that the magistrate in charge of the negotiations said (emphasis added):

Quote from: The Magistrate
The parties are urged to carefully evaluate their case before taking a settlement position since extreme positions hinder the settlement process.

EDIT: * I'll add a caveat here.  You can negotiate this way if you want to play hardball.  But the magistrate clearly does not believe that this is constructive, and my own opinion on such tactics is that they're disrespectful, and I'll do my best to avoid doing business with those who use them.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 10:05:59 pm by Elestan » Logged
Telecart
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 29


No. I don't think so.


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #611 on: April 22, 2018, 08:03:33 pm »

Help me understand folks:
Does UQM project remains intact in all scenarios? Nobody has said anything about it, and that's one of my main concerns...

So far it sounds like a Stardock "win" scenario may indeed prevent GotP from happening, while a P&F win can at-most require some modifications of SC:O, primarily around marketing. Is this understanding correct? Or does a P&F also block SC:O from being released?

If it's not clear, I am looking forward to both games being released, as well as the continued development of UQM.

Logged

Nihilistic mystics, apostolic alcoholics, messianic maniacs, cataclysmic and prolific.
Telecart
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 29


No. I don't think so.


View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #612 on: April 22, 2018, 08:11:11 pm »


2. P&F get free reign to call Ghosts of the Precursors a true sequel to Star Control II


Ha, you know, I think I finally understood something about why this would even bother Stardock. In my head, when we talk about a "true sequel" to Star Control II, as we have done for years, we have always meant retconning the terrible Star Control 3 out of existence and getting a proper continuation of the story. I can see how from Stardock's perspective though that statement may be construed as referring to Star Control: Origins, which would be pretty vexing from their end I imagine.
 
 
Logged

Nihilistic mystics, apostolic alcoholics, messianic maniacs, cataclysmic and prolific.
Lakstoties
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 64



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #613 on: April 22, 2018, 08:30:42 pm »

Help me understand folks:
Does UQM project remains intact in all scenarios? Nobody has said anything about it, and that's one of my main concerns...

If Stardock wins, UQM project is under immediate threat.  Period.  If they are able to snag the "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark and claim copyrights to the original Star Control properties, the UQM project will basically be forced under the rule of Stardock to whatever whim they desire.  Stardock may claim otherwise, but there would be NOTHING to stop them from shutting down the project the second it no longer serves their end goals.  Stardock is a business run by people that are very business orientated.  The bottom line is the only thing that's ultimately important.  In fact, I would not be surprised if Stardock files litigation to seize the material of the UQM project and derivatives.  The Pages of Now and Forever will also be under threat for their domain name, too.

If P&F win, it will be business as usual and possibly more material they are uncovering for their legal defense will find its way to the project.

Stardock and P&F equal scenario, business as usual since Stardock will only ever be able to touch Star Control: Origins.  Which is fine... They can have that.  Just leave the originals and new works (Ghost of the Precursors) alone.
Logged
Elestan
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 406



View Profile
Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #614 on: April 22, 2018, 08:44:04 pm »

Help me understand folks:
Does UQM project remains intact in all scenarios? Nobody has said anything about it, and that's one of my main concerns...

So far it sounds like a Stardock "win" scenario may indeed prevent GotP from happening, while a P&F win can at-most require some modifications of SC:O, primarily around marketing. Is this understanding correct? Or does a P&F also block SC:O from being released?

If it's not clear, I am looking forward to both games being released, as well as the continued development of UQM.

The authoritative way to look at the "what happens" scenario is to look at both legal complaints (here, and here), look at the "Prayer for Relief" section, and imagine either side being given everything it asked for.  First off, both parties want money for the perceived infringement on their IP by the other.  But that's not really the interesting part.

To get to the interesting part, you also have to dive into what each side is claiming their IP rights cover:

Stardock claims that its IP rights include the trademarks to "Star Control", "The Ur-Quan Masters", "Super Melee", and all of the alien names from all of the Star Control games.  If it wins completely, Paul & Fred will not be able to use any of those words or phrases in their games.  The open source project might be able to keep using them, because it is not commercial; Brad has also said that he has no intent to interfere with the UQM project.  However, even open-source projects have generally tried to avoid using trademarked phrases, because of the legal risk involved.  That's why this project was renamed from "Star Control" in the first place.  Ultimately, it would be up to the maintainers of each branch or fork of the project to decide for themselves whether they were comfortable enough with the legal risks to continue working on and/or offering their builds.  It would also be up to P&F whether they still wanted to make their new game when they'd have to rename all the alien races (or license them from Brad).

Paul & Fred claim that their IP rights include the copyrights to all creative material from "Star Control", and that their contract specifically included the alien names, images, stories, music, and ships as part of their IP.  If they win completely, Stardock will have to avoid using any of these things from the previous games.  It might have to rename "Super-Melee" to something else, and take some kind of measures to avoid the creation of the original SC2 ships in their ship designer.  Stardock would have to decide whether it still wanted to release the game with such restrictions.  P&F also claim that the original "Star Control" trademark was abandoned in the early 2000s, so Stardock would lose it - which, as far as I can tell, wouldn't actually hurt it all that much, since it has already filed a fresh trademark application on "Star Control".  I think that that just means that they would lose any particular claim on "Star Control" as it relates to the earlier games, but (presuming the new application was granted) they would still be able to release a game called "Star Control", and prevent others from doing so.  

In my (non-lawyer) opinion, however, a total win by either side seems unlikely; the final result is likely to be somewhere in between.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 04:52:02 am by Elestan » Logged
Pages: 1 ... 39 40 [41] 42 43 ... 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!