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

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Author Topic: Stardock Litigation Discussion  (Read 52660 times)
orzophile
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #150 on: August 14, 2018, 05:51:13 pm »

If you really want to insinuate threats of potential legal action based on forum posts (and by extension forum moderators) relating to a court case of EXACTLY that subject matter of which your company is a party -- I'll give you some free advice (worth what you paid for it): Don't.

As a PR suggestion, here's what you post: "We're sorry you feel that way, but Stardock is confident we are not using derived works of anyone without appropriate license, and hope that once the legal matter is resolved you'll understand the facts of the case."

Also please review, or have your attorneys review for you, the relevant sections of US Code and the Communications Decency Act related to defamation and libel on the internet, because it doesn't work how you apparently think it does. If this site is hosted in the Netherlands and under European law, that's even less friendly to your insinuation.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 05:55:46 pm by orzophile » Logged
Frogboy
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #151 on: August 14, 2018, 06:35:35 pm »

Calm yourself. No one is threatening anyone.
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Lakstoties
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #152 on: August 14, 2018, 06:43:38 pm »

Nice Internet lawyering, Lak. 
About all I can do, really.  I'm not any kind of official lawyer, so I can't walk into a court room as one.  But, the information is still out there.  And I have yet to find anything that aligns with Stardock's position that has ended favorably for that position.

Quote
What attracted my attention to this thread was the argument that Stardock was "stealing" or "copying" something from Star Control II. 

We are still waiting for evidence to back up that claim.  It's a very serious allegation.

I just find it strange that credence and effort is placed upon random opinions from random people on the Internet all places, in a niche subject forum.  It might be due to being from a generation that used card catalogs significantly, but there's only so much merit I'll give anything on the internet.  I watched the internet grow up, despite how it might put on a business suit and act official these days...  I remember when it was the class clown with pencils up its nose trying to get everyone's attention. 

So, simply stated:  You are a CEO of a multi-million dollar game company, a feat most people will never accomplish.  Why even justify what you believe to be false statement with a response that takes up your time and effort?  Especially to some random folks on a small internet forum?  Come on, sir.  I'm sure you'd have more fun drumming up press for your big release in a month and endearing yourself to the gaming media with promos and SC:O swag.  They love that stuff from what I hear.

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At least CmdrShp posted his opinion.  I noticed you didn't correct him, Lak or perhaps didn't read it.   Why not state, publicly, whether you think copyright now covers consumer confusion and relationships. 

I am quite certain that all parties would appreciate seeing any examples of actual copyright infringement. We would never want to copy someone else's work, even unintentionally and have taken effort to make sure our expressions of the Star Control aliens are our own.

Okay.  From what I've read up on copyright and have seen demonstrated...  Copyright doesn't immediately concern itself with consumer confusion and relations, but it can be an indirect factor in some decisions.  Copyright mainly concerns itself with is the control and management of the expression of a work:  Reproduction, distribution, derivation, and presentation.  When it comes to the specifics of derivation and whether or not something is derivative, that is usually put up to a court decision.  Individually the attributes that comprise a work by themselves in another work typically does not indicate derivation.  But the collection of attributes together in a work when compared to another collection of attributes together in a work, that's when determining derivation becomes important and works can be seen as derivative or not.

The situation surrounding the decision is similar to the Ship of Theseus thought experiment ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus ).  Individually, the individual planks of the ship don't mean much of anything.  But, let's say you are building a new ship and pull individually planks from an existing ship to use with planks you have newly crafted.  (Save time, like the style, or maybe that plank is just cool looking, etc...)  The question in this situation is "How many planks can you use from the existing ship with your new ship before the new ship is considered directly derived from the existing ship?"  If it's just a few planks that are not very visible, most people would conclude: No.  But, as more and more planks from the existing ship are used in very visible areas, people start to lean closer and closer to "Yes."  This especially starts to shift when unique aspects upon the planks are visible or the planks are arranged in similar positions upon the new ship.

Two court cases Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichols_v._Universal_Pictures_Corp. and  Anderson v. Stallone: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anderson_v._Stallone show cases that were won or loss over how substantial the differences or similarities were or were not.

The overall non-specific concepts are not subject to copyright protection.  The trouble happens when the attributes get more and more specific, and difference between the collection of attributes gets less and less.  Ultimately, it's up to a court decision to determine if the how substantial the elements are different or similar.  But Stardock has not put themselves in the best position when it comes to those determinations.  Given history, intent, use of unique terms, visual similarities, back story elements, etc...  Even a few of these by themselves would not be a problem, but together it doesn't make it an easy case to rule that it is all "Not Derivative."

From my perspective, Stardock is toeing the foul line really close on its approach to throwing bowling balls down the lane.  The buzzer may have not gone off yet, but people are paying very close attention now.  There's plenty of bigger more litigious companies that wouldn't dare to get that close.
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rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #153 on: August 14, 2018, 06:57:29 pm »

Okay. So, Rose, it'd be REALLY nice to have an example of what you meant in that stealing comment, or a retraction. Like, I banned SVS for keeping on going without doing that.



I didn't say he was stealing. People often compare copyright infringement with all kinds of other bad behaviors, including theft, trespass, counterfeiting, plagiarism, and fraud. Those are useful comparisons to help ordinary people understand Copyright Infringement, but ultimately, Copyright Infringement is its own thing. Despite what IP lawyers would want a jury to believe, Intellectual property isn't the same as tangible property. It's a fiction created by statute. So no. Re-read what I said. I didn't accuse him of stealing.

The lawsuit does involve copyright infringement. That's the language I used, and that's the claim in the lawsuit. If the CEO of Stardock thinks it's such an outlandish allegation, he should file for summary judgment and have it dismissed. If it's so clear cut, a judge will see it that way. I suspect that won't work, because most judges, let alone lawyers and even ordinary folks, would look and say that there are significant issues with copyright infringement.

Most people here are looking at the SC:O Arilou and and the SC2 Arilou and saying "yeah, that looks like the same Arilou". And Stardock doesn't want the fans to think of them as new aliens. Stardock wants the fans to believe they're the same aliens.  If you get up in front of a jury and say they're the same aliens, you're handing them a massive piece of evidence against you. Because one of the first questions they're going to ask in a Copyright Infringement case is "did you intend to copy?" You can mince words, but the intent seems pretty clear here.

I don't know how much more clear I can be about what I said. And none of it should be controversial. Unless we're now going to get in trouble for stating controversies that are meant to be settled in the lawsuit, short of saying "allegedly" a dozen times. In which case, I'd like to see a lot more disclaimers before the Stardock CEO posts their understanding of things that haven't yet been proven (and frankly, seem pretty dubious). I don't want the moderators to pick one narrative in the lawsuit over the other simply because one person wants the moderator to play judge. The moderators should keep the personal attacks to a minimum, and I think they've done a good job, even as Stardock keeps pushing innuendo against fans.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 07:12:05 pm by rosepatel » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #154 on: August 14, 2018, 07:10:31 pm »

Quote
So, simply stated:  You are a CEO of a multi-million dollar game company, a feat most people will never accomplish.  Why even justify what you believe to be false statement with a response that takes up your time and effort?  Especially to some random folks on a small internet forum?  Come on, sir.  I'm sure you'd have more fun drumming up press for your big release in a month and endearing yourself to the gaming media with promos and SC:O swag.  They love that stuff from what I hear.

When I get annoyed with you Lak, you then post something like this that reminds me why I enjoy reading what you write because you really do have a keen mind whose writing I enjoy.  There are some people here, even people on "the other side" I can tell I'd get along with in real life.

So to answer your question:  I am a forum person first. A game developer second.  

I don't go to forums to promote the games.  I make the games to have something else to talk about on forums.  

I started out on Usenet and was one of the people who wanted a space version of Civilization.  So I bought Teach Yourself C in 21 days and learned to program and made Galactic Civilizations for OS/2.  That was 25 years ago.  I had nothing.  No one gave me money to make the game.  I worked multiple jobs to pay for school and pay for what I needed to make that game.  The driving motivation, however, was to make something for my online friends.

I make games because I love the gaming communities.  Most of our profits come from software.  You could make the argument that making games is foolish in the first place.

For me, the communities are the whole point.  Where other people watch TV for 3 or so hours a day, I'm online talking to people.  Hours a day, every day, years on end.  It's what I enjoy.

If someone disagrees with me, that's fine.   I'm part of this community and have been for years.  If someone on Reddit wants to personally attack me or Stardock, I could care less.  But there are some communities that I consider myself apart of and that includes this one.  And you start attacking me where I live, I'll respond.  

The problem I see with UQM's forum these days is the lack of self-policing. Death shouldn't have to moderate everyone.  It's a little hard to take Elestan seriously when he just looks the other way when someone posts something flagrantly incorrect (look at Krulle and CmdShepard) simply because they're on "his side".  He doesn't have to do anything, but I don't have to respect him either.   So there are some people here who I just don't care what they say either way.  But if someone, on a forum I care about, starts to suggest criminal activity, then either the moderator will intervene, the community will intervene (ideally) or I'll jump in (non ideal).  

So the tl;dr version is that communities are why I make games.  If this dispute wasn't happening I'd simply be posting here or somewhere else on some other topic.




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Frogboy
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #155 on: August 14, 2018, 07:13:45 pm »


Most people here are looking at the SC:O Arilou and and the SC2 Arilou and saying "yeah, that looks like the same Arilou".

Really?  You think the SCO Arilou looks like the same Arilou as the SC2 Arilou? 

I want to make sure I'm not putting words in your mouth.  Do you believe that the SCO Arilou looks the same to you as the SC2 Arilou? 
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Death 999
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #156 on: August 14, 2018, 07:14:43 pm »

Okay. So, Rose, it'd be REALLY nice to have an example of what you meant in that stealing comment, or a retraction. Like, I banned SVS for keeping on going without doing that.



I didn't say he was stealing.

You are correct - you said that he said on this forum that he was copying. That's what I was referring to, right here: http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=7182.msg78815#msg78815

Second sentence of last paragraph: "Especially when there's multiple forum posts from the CEO saying they're trying to copy without triggering Copyright law"


Frogboy - If you put one next to the other, you'd say they're different, but they're about as similar to each other as the SC2 Syreen were to the SC3 Syreen. There is a definite relationship, and you are intentionally playing off of it.

Rose - I think you think that right there is copying. Frogboy appears to think it is not copying.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 07:16:53 pm by Death 999 » Logged
rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #157 on: August 14, 2018, 07:25:18 pm »

Second sentence of last paragraph: "Especially when there's multiple forum posts from the CEO saying they're trying to copy without triggering Copyright law"


Frogboy - If you put one next to the other, you'd say they're different, but they're about as similar to each other as the SC2 Syreen were to the SC3 Syreen. There is a definite relationship, and you are intentionally playing off of it.

Rose - I think you think that right there is copying. Frogboy appears to think it is not copying.

Like I said, I wasn't trying to say anything controversial. But lawsuits are themselves controversies. This is one of the controversies in the lawsuit.


Most people here are looking at the SC:O Arilou and and the SC2 Arilou and saying "yeah, that looks like the same Arilou".

Really?  You think the SCO Arilou looks like the same Arilou as the SC2 Arilou?  

I want to make sure I'm not putting words in your mouth.  Do you believe that the SCO Arilou looks the same to you as the SC2 Arilou?  

My words don't matter as much as what a jury thinks. And to the extent that intent matters, your words matter the most.

And copyright infringement is about more than just the visual appearance. The Arilou are a character in both literature and art. So they're not going to just ask a jury if they look the same. The test is most sophisticated than that. But one important question is whether you intended for them to be the same Arilou from the classic series.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 07:26:52 pm by rosepatel » Logged
Frogboy
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #158 on: August 14, 2018, 07:50:46 pm »

0And copyright infringement is about more than just the visual appearance. The Arilou are a character in both literature and art. So they're not going to just ask a jury if they look the same. The test is most sophisticated than that. But one important question is whether you intended for them to be the same Arilou from the classic series.

I'm aware of the elements that would be compared. But so far, the only thing relevant to that comparison is you claiming that you think the Arilou in SC2 looks the same as the Ariou is SCO which would not hold up.  This is a very, very well tested area of law. As a reminder to Elestan and co, the onus is not on me to prove it wouldn't hold up.  You are welcome to show an example in all of history where two things so obviously different were considered to be copies.

That leaves you with what you call "character".  The Arilou is the name of a species in the Star Control universe.  The Arilou expressed in SC2 is not the same Arilou as the Arilou in SCO.   SCO is in a different universe with a different history.  They cannot, by definition, be the same Arilou as depicted in SC2.

And in fact, for almost 5 years now, Stardock has been very up front that SC3 isn't in the same universe as SC2 either.  We don't consider the Arilou in SC3 to be the same Arilou in SC2 and there are no shortage of fans who also agree with this.

It is desirable that fans do not think the SCO Arilou are the same Arilou as the SC2 Arilou because then we are trapped having to worry about SC2 canon anyway.  Moreover, having the SCO Arilou be the same would present another problem -- it would interfere with our desire that Paul and Fred use the Arilou from SC2 for future stories. 

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Death 999
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #159 on: August 14, 2018, 08:00:13 pm »

Second sentence of last paragraph: "Especially when there's multiple forum posts from the CEO saying they're trying to copy without triggering Copyright law"


Frogboy - If you put one next to the other, you'd say they're different, but they're about as similar to each other as the SC2 Syreen were to the SC3 Syreen. There is a definite relationship, and you are intentionally playing off of it.

Rose - I think you think that right there is copying. Frogboy appears to think it is not copying.

Like I said, I wasn't trying to say anything controversial. But lawsuits are themselves controversies. This is one of the controversies in the lawsuit.

The existence of multiple forum posts as you describe is not the controversy of the suit, and is much more easily decided, and as you have presented it is claiming he said something - a claim that he objects to. If you can find anywhere he actually said that, great, show it. Otherwise, retract the claim of what he said when he did not say that.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 08:38:55 pm by Death 999 » Logged
bum783
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #160 on: August 14, 2018, 08:05:49 pm »

I have a question (its to anyone but really its to Frogboy)
Does the fact that its more than 1 race play any factor in the copyright laws? For example if someone handed me an image of Stardocks Arilou I probably would not recognize it as being Arilou alone, BUT I wonder if it was an image of Stardocks re-imagining of an Arilou, Chenjesu, and a Druuge standing next to eachother would the 3 of them together (even if all 3 are as different as the Arilou image is) be enough to trigger the realization of who they are?  Does that even matter? Sort of like an image of a superhero in a red cape by himself may not lead me to see him as Superman, but stand him next to a woman with gold bracelets, and a guy with scales and suddenly you realize that its Superman.

I also have a 2nd question for the forum. Am in the ONLY one who thinks the litigation may lead to something positive? Before the announcement of Ghosts we were getting a Stardock game based loosely on Star Control. The history and lore were barely going to be mentioned if it was alluded to at all. Meanwhile Paul and Fred weren't doing anything. This litigation has pissed off Stardock to the point not only do they want to reference the lore but they want to use the actual alien names. Because of the lawsuit, Origins and any future developments will be more attached to Star Control now than they were intended to be. IF Fred and Paul ALSO get to make thier game, than we will have 2 actual Star Control Games when a year ago I wasn't sure Origins was even going to count as one.
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rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #161 on: August 14, 2018, 08:38:08 pm »

The Arilou expressed in SC2 is not the same Arilou as the Arilou in SCO.

"Expression" is your word, and an important one in a legal context. I see you frequently saying that you're choosing a different expression. But Copyright is meant to protect far more than just a singular pixel-for-pixel, word-for-word expression of a work. If it protection were confined to only literal copies, it would be a mockery of Copyright law.

So that's a strawman. The test isn't whether the Arilou expressed in SC2 is exactly the same as the Arilou expressed in SCO. Or SC3. The test is whether there was copying in some wider, admittedly more vague sense. In this wider sense, Stardock's intent to make them the same has been pretty clear.

We don't consider the Arilou in SC3 to be the same Arilou in SC2

Case in point. Yes, the Arilou in SC2 and SC3 were different expressions, they still needed a license and attribution from Paul Reiche and Fred Ford. Copyright doesn't just protect you from literal copying. It also protects you from copying in the sense of people taking your work and then modifying it. You can bet that Accolade would have really screwed the pooch if they tried to put those SC2 aliens in SC3 without a license. It wouldn't have mattered that they switched from pixels to puppets.

Quote
It is desirable that fans do not think the SCO Arilou are the same Arilou as the SC2 Arilou

That would be a very different story from the one you've been telling, where you say "the Star Control aliens" will be in the game, while being almost deliberately vague on what that means. I'm not trying to be deliberately combative when I read Stardock's announcements. My honest to God reading of Stardock's announcements is that y'all want fans to believe that the same aliens from SC2 are appearing in SC:O.

You can say that the SC3 expression was different from the SC2 expression, but Accolade wanted fans to believe they were the same aliens. I don't think it's radical to assume your design goals are the same. It's fanservice. Stardock isn't just trying to use a few words as Trademarks on the box. Stardock want fans to know that the some of the same classic aliens from SC2 are appearing in SCO.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #162 on: August 14, 2018, 08:42:07 pm »

Well. That's progress on clarifying what source you have in mind, I suppose.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #163 on: August 14, 2018, 09:23:39 pm »

Quote
hat would be a very different story from the one you've been telling, where you say "the Star Control aliens" will be in the game, while being almost deliberately vague on what that means. I'm not trying to be deliberately combative when I read Stardock's announcements. My honest to God reading of Stardock's announcements is that y'all want fans to believe that the same aliens from SC2 are appearing in SC:O.

They ARE the Arilou.  They're just not the same Arilou as the ones in SC2 (or SC3).    

For our vantage point, we've been saying for 5 years that SCO will be in a different universe.  So how can someone suggest that the specific Arilou expressed in SC2 could be the same in the SCO universe?  

Do you think the Enterprise in the Kelvin timeline is the same Enterprise as the one in TOS?  They're completely different ships.  They weren't even built the same year or are even the same size.

edit: Do you think the Cylons in the BSG reboot are the same Cylons as the original series?
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rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #164 on: August 14, 2018, 09:44:07 pm »

The different universe thing is a pretty weak conceit, considering it's the "same multiverse". The courts aren't going to care about nerd speak. A multiverse necessarily keeps some of the same elements between universes. Or else, why have a multiverse? That's why the BSG and Star Trek reboots needed authorizations from the original copyright holders. They couldn't just hand wave away and say "these are not the same specific Cylons as expressed in the original".

Again, "specific Arilou expressed in SC2" are your words. It's a strawman. Not only is it not anything that the fans have said. It's also not the legal standard by which copyright is protected, or by which an infringing copy will be found. Again, you don't have to copy the specific expression to infringe copyright. SC3 switched from pixels to puppets, and they still used them under a license from Paul and Fred.

"They ARE the Arilou" are also your words. Ultimately, how much the expression of the Arilou has changed will be one of the dimensions of the Copyright test. But the bigger point still stands. Stardock wants fans to believe that the SC:O Arilou are in some sense the same Arilou as in the classic series. Not just different aliens with the same name.
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