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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!»

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Author Topic: Stardock Litigation Discussion  (Read 32291 times)
kaminiwa
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #330 on: September 19, 2018, 02:56:39 am »

My own, much less legally savvy summary of the whole situation: http://crimsoncorporation.org/reasons/

I'm not trying to speak for the community, but the Stardock Q+A has an obvious bias, and the UQM wiki has tried to remain neutral. I wanted a resource I could point people at to give a solid summary of why I've found Stardock's behavior so shameful, and why I won't be buying Star Control: Origins.
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WibbleNZ
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #331 on: September 19, 2018, 02:58:46 am »

This might be a sort of end-run around the substantial similarity test. "Substantial similarity" isn't a synonym for copying. It's merely how you might prove that someone copied when you have no clue how they actually made something.

It's also a test for whether the extent of the copying is actionable, and in that sense forms the basis of one of Stardock's defenses (and Brad's online arguments). I'm not really sure 'Substantial Similarity' is going to be necessary to prove that at least some amount of copying occurred in this case. It was obvious as soon as the alien names were used.

...care must be taken to recognize that the concept of "substantial similarity" itself has unfortunately been used to mean two different things. On the one hand, it has been used as the threshold to determine the degree of similarity that suffices, once access has been shown, as indirect proof of copying; on the other hand, "substantial similarity" is more properly used, after the fact of copying has been established, as the threshold for determining that the degree of similarity suffices to demonstrate actionable infringement.

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Krulle
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #332 on: September 21, 2018, 01:15:51 pm »

They have the same name (while it's not outright stated, it's very strongly implied that the Mael-Num and the Melnorme are the same race). And no, I'm sure a missing hyphen won't make a difference.

Finally had the time to hunt down the words of god:
   <Deep-Reep> who are the mael num, realy?
    <Fwiffo> The mael num are ancestors of the Melnorme

(it bothered me, so I searched your post and posted the required reference.)
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Serosis
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #333 on: September 21, 2018, 05:23:01 pm »

To be fair, it is from the "mouth" of Paul Reiche, but the fact is the lore was brought to light outside of the copyrighted portion of the game.
Inside the game it was vaguely alluded to but never outright stated.

To us fans it means the Mael-Num are for sure the ancestors of the Melnorme, but to a court of law it's an IRC chat log that has no bearing on the original copyright.
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Krulle
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #334 on: September 21, 2018, 06:52:21 pm »

All the tidbits of information about Potterverse from Mrs. Rowling, which were never published in books or shortstories, are still part of her copyright.
Agreed, this info is very short, and thus a court may decide to ignore it.....
But it may still bolster the circumstantial evidence....
Someone linked a video on the PoNaF forum to youtube, someone playing SC:O, and the story there reminded me extremely of the Androsynth.... Not as fleshed out, but recognizable...
All this hinting at may makes Origins very similar to SC2/UQM. You even get one ship for "free" at the start of the game, if you help someone in the solar system.... A badly equiped Vindicator, plus one alien ship... Hmmm...
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #335 on: September 21, 2018, 08:41:31 pm »

I expect a lot of similarities are going to start filtering out as people play the game.  I noticed from one of the game magazine reviews that SCO has rainbow worlds where you can get access to lots of purple high value resources.

https://static.gamespot.com/uploads/scale_super/172/1720905/3440803-star+control++origins+screenshot+2018.09.16+-+17.22.54.49.jpg

My IANAL is this in a vacuum isn't an infringement, but an example of riding UQM's coattails.  If the location of these worlds is valuable to the Melnorme Maelnum Maelnir and they form some pattern on the starmap, then things get progressively hinkier.
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Serosis
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #336 on: September 21, 2018, 09:58:03 pm »

Someone linked a video on the PoNaF forum to youtube, someone playing SC:O, and the story there reminded me extremely of the Androsynth.... Not as fleshed out, but recognizable...
All this hinting at may makes Origins very similar to SC2/UQM. You even get one ship for "free" at the start of the game, if you help someone in the solar system.... A badly equiped Vindicator, plus one alien ship... Hmmm...

If you're not going to actually look at the story then don't make assumptions about its supposed similarity.

The Tywom ship is a fact, there is no avoiding it. He comes aboard whether you want him to or not.
And then he becomes your on-board navigational adviser. Giving you tidbits of info on select star systems or happenings in certain parts of the Spur.

The Lexites are a true A.I. singularity, twice over, that broke their bonds and melded with a group of humans by the same name.
They do not hate humanity nor do they fear it, in fact they want to help humanity. Which is why they set out on their pilgrimage.

And yes, a badly equipped Vindicator-class vessel. As it's humanity's first attempt at an interstellar craft what are you expecting, hellbore cannons and shiva furnaces?
It's definitely not Ion Bolt guns, storage pods, crew pods, and a fuel tank type similarity.

I expect a lot of similarities are going to start filtering out as people play the game.  I noticed from one of the game magazine reviews that SCO has rainbow worlds where you can get access to lots of purple high value resources.

https://static.gamespot.com/uploads/scale_super/172/1720905/3440803-star+control++origins+screenshot+2018.09.16+-+17.22.54.49.jpg

My IANAL is this in a vacuum isn't an infringement, but an example of riding UQM's coattails.  If the location of these worlds is valuable to the Melnorme Maelnum Maelnir and they form some pattern on the starmap, then things get progressively hinkier.

Rainbow Worlds in SC2/UQM never had purple resources on them. Only radioactives or "orange" resources, and never in extravagantly large quantities like in SCO.
I have the files right in front of me, there's a reference to something called "Rainbow Monoliths", some sort of riddle system not related to the Maelnir.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 10:44:51 pm by Serosis » Logged

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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #337 on: September 22, 2018, 05:18:07 am »

I've just started playing SCO.

The Arilou are in it, though they haven't identified themselves as "Arilou". They're the same "we've been watching you for a long time" mysterious race of SC2. The BG music is a remixed version of the Arilou music in SC2.
The Arilou also mentioned the Precursors, that they've vanished, that they left technology for us etc....

---I'll get back to playing now...

« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 09:14:36 am by tingkagol » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #338 on: September 22, 2018, 06:24:57 pm »

Meanwhile, Brad's recent declaration claims that the 1988 agreement was meaningless from the very beginning, since Paul never owned anything in SC1 or SC2 to begin with, as all rights to SC1 and SC2 apparently belonged to Accolade.

A decades-old conspiracy is finally unraveled!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 06:27:56 pm by PRH » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #339 on: September 22, 2018, 06:50:22 pm »

@Serosis: I just watched one episode, adn of course that did not go deep into the storyline yet...
I expected that things will differ more later, but the similarities are simply there.
Since I know there's discussion about it I take a closer look, otherwise I would take such things as a hommage to the original storyline.

On top of that, you normally have the Tobermoon with your Vindicator.
Fwiffo comes extra.
(and the ship is pre-named Vindicator in SC:O, so it's not just a Vindicator class, it is THE vindicator.)

And the Arilou?  Well, observing little grey men are not a new thing, so.... But it seems to be another thing that adds up to similarity, even if the copyright for that element would be hard to be defendable by FF/PR...
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #340 on: September 22, 2018, 08:41:48 pm »

On top of that, you normally have the Tobermoon with your Vindicator.
Fwiffo comes extra.
(and the ship is pre-named Vindicator in SC:O, so it's not just a Vindicator class, it is THE vindicator.)

There is a ship you can activate within the Solar System, but it's part of a sub-quest and it doesn't unlock right in the beginning.

And the Vindicator thing is being pedantic. The first vessel of its kind is always named after its class.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #341 on: September 23, 2018, 02:49:22 am »

Meanwhile, Brad's recent declaration claims that the 1988 agreement was meaningless from the very beginning, since Paul never owned anything in SC1 or SC2 to begin with, as all rights to SC1 and SC2 apparently belonged to Accolade.

A decades-old conspiracy is finally unraveled!

I've been finding it fascinating that his legal defense seems to boil down to "Paul & Fred never actually had the copyrights", and how much emphasis he places on "there wasn't a written agreement", while completely ignoring the existence of verbal agreements, and the more recent written copyright assignment.

Like, even if all of this is true? Stardock still doesn't own any of that material.

Also amused that they said "oh woe, the defendants refused our offer to preview the game", but it turns out their offer was to let the lawyers review the game for 2 days, on the condition that they then produce a COMPLETE list of all infringements, and promise not to take any legal action against the game until Stardock has had time to decide on and implement any fixes they felt were necessary to resolve this.

So, P&F still aren't allowed to review the game; the lawyers would be attesting that there's no other infringement they missed in those two day (since it's a complete list); Stardock can take it's sweet time dealing with all of this; and Stardock isn't even obliged to do anything beyond "decide" that the issues are spurious and don't need fixing.

Also some hilarious bits about how they couldn't give P&F a pre-release copy because apparently none of the software involved can run without GOG or Steam? Are we really supposed to believe that Stardock's internal development process requires the programmers, QA, etc. to use steam to launch the game while working on it?

Some very beautiful colorful language, though!

To quote Stardock's lawyers: "We hope your clients understand that they are playing with fire here and that the weight of the entire video game industry is about to be dropped on them. There have of course been previous epic copyright disputes between video game producers (the most recent involving Fortnite) and no one has ever pulled a DMCA stunt like the one your clients have engaged in already and have made clear they intend to continue to engage in."
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #342 on: September 23, 2018, 06:27:50 am »

Once this is all over I'd shoulder a hefty bar tab to get some off the record conversation with the people from Nixon-Peabody. That is not some bush-league law firm and I can only imagine the [screams internally] inner-monologue going on over there. That response doesn't even address some of the arguments from the last filing.

For fans of the surreal, we can now smile with Steam going into record as the Walmart of digital game distribution, which is going to be great when it's quoted in some unrelated case in a few years.

This has gone so far into the bizarre that I don't even know how you walk back to sanity from here.

Quote
14. At Paragraph 40 of Mr. Reiche’s Declaration, he alleges that the 1988 License
Agreement could not have been assigned without his consent and that Atari, Inc. and Stardock
never asked for nor received such consent from Mr. Reiche. As alleged in our Second Amended
Complaint, Stardock believes that Reiche never owned the rights to Star Control I and Star
Control II that he purported to license in the 1988 License Agreement, and thus, there was
nothing owned by Reiche to be assigned. So, his consent was not needed even if it was required
(which Stardock disputes).


I'm sure somewhere in human history there have been completely incompetent people who signed contracts to transfer things they didn't own and somehow everyone involved was so oblivious they went right back to the same people and DID IT AGAIN, although what I'm hearing in the back of my mind here is "ocean front property, in Arizona. From my front porch you can see the sea!"

This reads like a copyright version of the knee-capping plot from "I, Tonya" (which differed from the real events in that they made the people seem less stupid)
---

On a side note I'm happy to see that the FDF has jumped over 2000 USD in the last day or two. High five to everybody who helped, or whatever the appropriate number of digits for your species.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 06:38:32 am by orzophile » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #343 on: September 23, 2018, 11:25:25 am »

I'm sure somewhere in human history there have been completely incompetent people who signed contracts to transfer things they didn't own and somehow everyone involved was so oblivious they went right back to the same people and DID IT AGAIN, although what I'm hearing in the back of my mind here is "ocean front property, in Arizona. From my front porch you can see the sea!"

Exactly. Stardock seems to take both Accolade and Atari for complete morons. Well, maybe they didn't care that much about Star Control, given their treatment of the trademark, but am I really supposed to believe that both companies were so utterly clueless that they'd sign a license agreement without bothering to actually check what was being licensed? That they already owned what was being licensed to them, and they had no idea at all?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 11:27:13 am by PRH » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #344 on: September 23, 2018, 05:12:38 pm »

i have played the game from what i have gotten into they nicked the entire sc2 script and cut it up and rearranged it, replaced the aliens, and set it back in time. PR & FF are going to a legal Christmas with this
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