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

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Author Topic: Stardock Litigation Discussion  (Read 50877 times)
Krulle
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #390 on: October 16, 2018, 07:11:28 pm »

Hence I want to know what exhibit G shows...
A screenshot at that time was not marketing...
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WibbleNZ
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #391 on: October 16, 2018, 09:55:38 pm »

Hence I want to know what exhibit G shows...
A screenshot at that time was not marketing...

Almost certainly the same exhibit G as in the July second amended complaint - screenshot of the title & subtitle screen, the probably copyright infringing steam store page for SC:II, and P&F's introduction to the Role Playing Resource Guide.


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WibbleNZ
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #392 on: October 16, 2018, 10:42:45 pm »

Paul and Fred are going to have to prove every scrap of copyrighted material is under their control to prove the open source license is valid either now or when possibly when released as open source.  -- Yes ugly stuff, and no matter how much we scream on walls it'll come down to the court to determine everything.

If SC2 is a joint work, which seems most likely, P&F need only prove they contributed something copyrightable. That gives them (and every other author) copyright in the whole work, and the open source licenses (being non-exclusive) are valid.

Stardock needs SC2 to be a collective work, in which P&F own only what they created themselves, or nothing at all, otherwise most of the case falls apart. On the trademark side, they need in game use to count as use in commerce, which seems highly improbable.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 11:21:43 pm by WibbleNZ » Logged
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #393 on: October 17, 2018, 01:17:25 am »

This is not exactly a surprising move by Stardock but it is equal parts depressing and despicable all the same.

I sincerely and deeply regret every single word I ever wrote or spoke in defense of Brad Wardell. I utterly misjudged the man. He's a criminal and a thief, nothing more.
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rosepatel
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #394 on: October 17, 2018, 02:33:41 am »

It looks like the entire team is going on the record that P&F are the Copyright holders. At least, that's my read of this, and assuming P&F aren't doing something stupid and fraudulent.

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.cand.320268/gov.uscourts.cand.320268.71.7.pdf
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Death 999
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #395 on: October 17, 2018, 03:50:58 am »

Paul and Fred are going to have to prove every scrap of copyrighted material is under their control to prove the open source license is valid either now or when possibly when released as open source.  -- Yes ugly stuff, and no matter how much we scream on walls it'll come down to the court to determine everything.

If SC2 is a joint work, which seems most likely, P&F need only prove they contributed something copyrightable. That gives them (and every other author) copyright in the whole work, and the open source licenses (being non-exclusive) are valid.

Wouldn't Stardock love that? Then they'd only need one author to grant them a license to use the whole thing. Assuming they could find one who was willing to.
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Elestan
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #396 on: October 17, 2018, 03:57:08 am »

If SC2 is a joint work, which seems most likely, P&F need only prove they contributed something copyrightable. That gives them (and every other author) copyright in the whole work, and the open source licenses (being non-exclusive) are valid.

Wouldn't Stardock love that? Then they'd only need one author to grant them a license to use the whole thing. Assuming they could find one who was willing to.

I would be shocked if Stardock didn't attempt long ago to induce the other members of the SC2 team to assign or license their copyrights to Stardock, instead of to P&F.
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futonrevolution
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #397 on: October 17, 2018, 04:03:51 am »

I would be shocked if Stardock didn't attempt long ago to induce the other members of the SC2 team to assign or license their copyrights to Stardock, instead of to P&F.
I would love to have seen their attempts to contact Erol Otus. I think that he only accepts letters from carrier pigeons or c/o Paul Reiche III.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #398 on: October 17, 2018, 06:07:42 am »

It looks like the entire team is going on the record that P&F are the Copyright holders. At least, that's my read of this, and assuming P&F aren't doing something stupid and fraudulent.

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.cand.320268/gov.uscourts.cand.320268.71.7.pdf

That's exactly the same copyright catalog entry that I was trying to link to (apparently you can't have permanent links to the catalog's entries). Note that it lists most of SC2's team as "authors", and just Fred and Paul as "copyright claimants". As I said, it would be great if the written agreements that presumably transferred the copyright to Fred and Paul were also presented as an exhibit. If that wouldn't put the copyright dispute to rest, I don't know what would.

By the way, I've just noticed that F&P are now suing GOG and Valve along with Stardock, for continuing to sell SCO. That (to my non-lawyer perspective) may leave F&P in a more vulnerable position, as GOG and Valve, too, may sue them in return, and it's certain to antagonize SCO players.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 08:00:23 am by PRH » Logged
Krulle
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #399 on: October 17, 2018, 09:26:55 am »

They had to counter-sue valve/steam and GOG in combination with the DMCA takedown notice.
Especially GOG knew through previous arrangements the split copyright/trademark situation, even if it was long ago that Accolade told GOG to take down the games again, and then GOG entered into separate licenses for the game content and the trademark....

Anyway, this seemed like a necessary step, even if Stardock remains the main target, and GOG and Valve/steam are fringe copyright infringers....
Their case will be decided in the Stardck case anyway....
If Stardock wins, they consequently win too. If Stardock looses, they'll get their damages back from Stardock, as Stardock told them the DMCA takedown notice was faulty and/or fraudulent, on which they put the games back up, and transfers any damages or costs happening to them to Stardock.
I'm sure they know these cases, and rather lean back and have Stardock's attorneys do the work, and theirs just observe the case.

Neither Valve/steam nor GOG will loose much money in this case. Only future sales if the games have to be taken down and stay down.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 09:41:47 am by Krulle » Logged
futonrevolution
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #400 on: October 17, 2018, 01:30:07 pm »

By the way, I've just noticed that F&P are now suing GOG and Valve along with Stardock, for continuing to sell SCO. That (to my non-lawyer perspective) may leave F&P in a more vulnerable position, as GOG and Valve, too, may sue them in return, and it's certain to antagonize SCO players.

If GOG and Valve decide, ahead of the trial, that it's not worth the hassle, remove SC:O, and stop waffling about whether to keep selling the trilogy... then, well, Stardock has argued in earlier court documents that it would be impossible to continue, if that happens. They could emulate Digital Homicide even further, by suing Valve, I suppose.
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Death 999
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #401 on: October 17, 2018, 04:36:54 pm »

Wait, on what basis are P&F trying to stop sale of SCO? I thought the infringing stuff was gone.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #402 on: October 17, 2018, 04:50:36 pm »

Well this really has worked out in just about the most dire way possible for essentially everyone involved. I'm not sure I can get behind the legal and other reasoning behind trying to DMCA takedown SC:O versus petitioning for damages based on the use of characterizations and such from SC/SC2, but Stardock may have committed multiple acts of fraud at this point in their trademark applications ... historically the USPTO has not been aggressive on that but it's not a good look for them.

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Elestan
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #403 on: October 17, 2018, 04:54:06 pm »

Wait, on what basis are P&F trying to stop sale of SCO? I thought the infringing stuff was gone.

There may still be some parts that could be argued over (apparently the ZFP have a cameo, and the "Watchers" are the Arilou by another name).  But I think the issue now is that Brad has repeatedly said that he intends to use the SC2 aliens in future DLC, and has actually put some of them in at various points, so even if SC:O isn't currently infringing, it's not unreasonable to conclude that he'll continue to push that boundary unless a court ruling makes him back off.
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #404 on: October 17, 2018, 05:43:39 pm »

When Stardock started re-selling the classic games, they bundled it as "Star Control: The Ur Quan Masters".

Stardock also went to GOG to actively rename the bundle. GOG complied.

You have to imagine, with the Ur Quan Masters trademark at stake, GOG might be doing immeasurable damage to this project, let alone Paul and Fred. After all, if Stardock is able to use those illegal sales to justify their UQM Trademark, then GOG would be complicit in Trademark infringement.

GOG had already negotiated permissions to sell the classic games from Paul and Fred, back in 2011. Changing the name of the sale, without consulting them, is at least bad form, if not an outright breach of the agreement.

This drives right into the purpose of the DMCA. Way back in the day, people wanted to be able to sue Google, or Steam, or (throwback alert) Napster, if people use their platform to distribute Copyright infringing material. The DMCA basically says -- if you're Steam, you just need to create a process to ask for a takedown of infringing material, and a process to contest that takedown, and then you can wash your hands of it. You just say "hey, I'm not getting in the middle of this, it's between Stardock and P&F now." This is often called the "safe harbor" of the DMCA, to protect digital service providers such as stores.

The stores have potentially voided the "safe harbor" defense. For one, GOG's legal department fully talked to P&F in 2011 about the exact same issue. And for two, the DMCA protects Steam and GOG from Copyright infringement, but not Trademark infringement, which is what a game called "The Ur Quan Masters" would infringe.
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