Sequels strife

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Re: Sequels strife

by krulle » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:43 pm

The proposal for GalCiv: Adventures was on the table (GalCiv being a series by Stardock).
But no, that=s only part of the problem...

HyperSpace, the specific implementation, seems to be a copy of the artistic impression of a FTL travel copied by Origins.
Just enough differences according to the CEO to not infringe (has he read the pacman case?1).
The background settings of some aliens ("Observers"/Arilou, the Precursors, ZFP/Frungy, ...), although most of th, could just be considere to be a nod towards UQM... And the Little Green Man are not copyrightable any more, being a trope and all for longer than the UQM storyline exists. But the whole look and feel of Origin's HyperSpace is obviously the one of UQM, despite having had other options for FTL... (e.g. the SC1, or the SC3 versions.)So, IMHO, Origin's HyperSpace is infringing, but that's my opinion, which is not a binding opinion for anyone...

Heck, you don't need to put a person in a batman suit into the batmobile to infringe the movie copyrights, making a batmobile alone suffices... The first instances not finding copyright infringement so often, when the few cases that went to appeal clearly tell a different story, seems to indicate a rather free interpretation of first instances for computer games. In films and music they are a lot stricter. 2

1: "The courts decided that the changes in appearance emphasised the plagiarism of the concept", see quote above...
2 I am not a lawyer, and have no special experince with copyright. I've read a lot the last few months, and this is the impression I got...

Re: Sequels strife

by Matthias » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:26 pm

My interpretation was that the problem was the gameplay mechanics coupled with the Star Control mark. Because they copied the SC2 mechanics AND called it a Star Control game, it was a problem.

So for example, if a company made an FPS game set on Mars and are the sued by the company who made Doom, they could argue that the only similarities are the first person interface and gunplay, and you can’t copyright those.

In this case however, Stardock made a game in the same franchise using the mechanics of a game they didn’t own the IP to instead of the one that they did own the IP to. While it may not show a breach of copyrightable material per se, it was clearly cashing in on the nostalgia and “good will” as the legal documents say of a game that they didn’t own the rights to.

I would imagine that had SCO been exactly the game it was minus the SC2 alien races but was instead called “Adventures in Space” or something like that, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

Re: Sequels strife

by krulle » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:46 pm

Nope, pong's not like (table) tennis., I agree.
Most obvious difference is a "reflecting" side wall...
Most cases I find right now are trademark issues (clones carrying the name pong or variants thereof)...
The only copyright case I found right now, is the "who invented it", listed at the end of this post, which sttled out of court.

I finally have time to add some sources...
Street Fighter II case:
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/02/game-makers-face-uphill-battle-proving-copyright-infringement-in-court/ wrote:Take Fighter's History, a 1993 fighting game that shamelessly mirrored elements of Capcom's Street Fighter II such as character designs, move sets and even the controller motions needed to perform common moves. Capcom sued Data East for copyright infringement in 1994, and while the court found that some of Data East's characters and moves were "substantially similar" to those in Street Fighter II, they weren't quite identical enough to be infringing. Moreover, the court said that Capcom's iconic Street Fighter characters were themselves based on stereotypical characters and fighting techniques that Capcom couldn't lay a copyright claim to.
So actually Capcom could not get a copyriht to the copied characters, so ther could not be a copyright infringement....

The pacman case, first instance Atari lost, in appeal they won:
https://mygaming.co.za/news/features/5742-the-history-of-video-game-lawsuits.html wrote:Atari, who owned the rights to produce home versions of ‘Pac-Man’ games, wasn’t too pleased and decided to sue Phillips, and they actually won a case for once. The courts decided that the changes in appearance emphasised the plagiarism of the concept, and set a precedent for how the look and feel of software would be evaluated in future copyright lawsuits.

Sidenote, apparently Pong was not invented by Atari, but Atari used its weight to get a license...
https://mentalfloss.com/article/55078/11-times-video-games-led-lawsuits wrote:In 1972, Atari’s electronic table tennis game Pong became a bonafide craze—and Ralph Baer, inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey gaming console, sought legal action against Atari. Baer claimed that Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell had copied Magnavox’s version of electronic Ping-Pong after Bushnell played the game at a Magnavox dealership demo a few months before Pong was released.

Bushnell settled the lawsuit out of court in 1976, despite his lawyer’s advice to take it to trial. Atari’s legal costs would’ve exceeded their entire funds, which is why Bushnell settled. As part of the settlement, Atari continued to sell Pong to arcades and on home consoles while paying licensing and royalty fees to Magnavox.

Edit: @stickman: the court case was no final decision (preliminary injunction), just that Stardock was not allowed to prevent F&P from filing DMCA notices...

Re: Sequels strife

by Stickman_king_28 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:28 pm

Wait, didn't the judge refuse to answer or something? Didn't something happen in court? what?

Re: Sequels strife

by Niffiwan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:25 pm

krulle wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:10 pm
There were many Pong suits, and they lost, because tennis is a known game, and Pong is a direct transfer of that into 2D computer screens...
Come on now. ;) Pong is nothing at all like tennis. Ok, it's maybe 1% like tennis. In tennis, you can move around the court, not just stand at the back. The ball coming at you doesn't bounce off the side of the tennis court. There is a net in the middle. There can be up to 4 players. You use a racquet which can put all kinds of spin on the ball. The ball can go at different heights and speeds.

Even if that was the inspiration, transferring it to a 2D screen makes Pong so different from the original that it might as well be its own original creation.

Incidentally, under the old Soviet Union laws, a work was only eligible for copyright protection in its original medium. So, a book would be protected from unauthorized re-publication, but it would not be protected from being adapted into a film or a song, as it was held that the change in format made it into a different entity. It led to some very interesting and original film adaptations. In the 1990s, that all changed and it became like the West, and some projects (like a Hobbit animated film) had to be abandoned.
edit! also welcome back!
Thanks. :)

Re: Sequels strife

by krulle » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:10 pm

There were many Pong suits, and they lost, because tennis is a known game, and Pong is a direct transfer of that into 2D computer screens.... The setting itself was not copyrightable, because known.

HyperSpace in this form is not known.
When science finds oit that it does indeed look like that, then any copyright for it will be undefendable, but Ithink it unlikely Stardock will be able to proof this defense, and if they can, they'll make more momey than with games after that....

edit! also welcome back!

Re: Sequels strife

by Niffiwan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:04 pm

krulle wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:40 pm
Common misconception, you can copyright a gameplay mechanic.
Is this article wrong about it that:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_clone
In present-day law, it is nonetheless held that game mechanics of a video game are part of its software, and are generally ineligible for copyright.
Although it does mention that precedent may have changed after a 2012 case which the company owning Tetris won. I guess maybe I'm 7 years out of date. Gameplay didn't used to be copyrightable. If it now is, I think that's very unfortunate. Imagine if the owners of Pong had sued all of the Pong clones... ::)-smf

Maybe SC2 would never have gotten made at all.

Looking more carefully at the legal cases cited, it seems like the only ones in which a video game clone loses are ones in which it is extremely similar to the game it cloned, with few or no gameplay differences.

Re: Sequels strife

by krulle » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:40 pm

Niffiwan wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:19 pm
PRH wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:06 pm
And here is Stardock's response:

https://forums.starcontrol.com/492870/a ... k-they-own
Honestly, I think Stardock are in the right here. You can't copyright gameplay mechanics, which is what Fred & Paul seem to be accusing them of. The history of videogames is full of games that have cloned the mechanics of anything successful (anyone remember all the Sonic and Mario Kart clones of the early 1990s?).
Common misconception, you can copyright a gameplay mechanic.
But that's not actually defended here. The example F&P published a comparison between theSC2 and Origins HyperSpace compared to the lack of HyperSpace in SC3.
Those elements are protectable.
Also, a gameplay itself can be protectable by copyright, see Pacman and it's lawcase.
It's just first instaces that often "let it go", from what I saw....
And many scenes-a-faire (setting) are not protectable either.
And then there's the public statement of Stardock that they want to have origins feel like SC2, a gameplay experience as close to the "original" as possible....

But the court and judges will decide on that...


Note: risk lost its cases, because the world and nations /territories being at war with each other is simply known from our Human history and as such a secene-a-faire.
The example Stardock beats dead (Street fighter II) lost, because the characters are caricatures of certain stereotypes, and the moves are known martial arts moves, and the button sequence generally follows the movement....

Re: Sequels strife

by Niffiwan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:19 pm

PRH wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:06 pm
And here is Stardock's response:

https://forums.starcontrol.com/492870/a ... k-they-own
Honestly, I think Stardock are in the right here. You can't copyright gameplay mechanics, which is what Fred & Paul seem to be accusing them of. The history of videogames is full of games that have cloned the mechanics of anything successful (anyone remember all the Sonic and Mario Kart clones of the early 1990s?).

Here's an example from outside of videogames: anyone is free to make a copy of the "Risk" boardgame (even using the original geographical layout) without needing permission from Hasbro as long as the name "Risk" is nowhere actually used. That's why conquerclub.com exists, and countless mobile "Risk" clones (though because they can't actually use the name "Risk", it can be hard to find them).

I suspect that Fred & Paul know this, but they needed some ridiculous pretext to halt the sales in order to make it more difficult for their opponents to fund this ridiculous legal conflict.

Because Fred & Paul's counteroffer that they made last year seems eminently reasonable to me:
https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/b ... e-and-nope

Why was it rejected, exactly?

This is all new to me -- I haven't logged on here in a few years. Now I log on to find:
a) the extremely disappointing news that the really promising Project 6014 has been abandoned.
b) the disappointing (but expected) finding that there have been no new chapters added to "Peeru's fanfic"
c) the promising news that Fred & Paul are working on their own SC2 sequel.
d) the unsure-what-to-make-of-it news that some other company is making a Star Control game without any of the SC2 IP. Still, that could be promising, too. SC3 did have some interesting races and story elements in it. A "spinoff" story of something in SC3, while keeping the gameplay mechanics we love, could be quite good.
e) the disappointing realization that I probably won't be able to play either of them for years (if ever) because of a stupid legal fight that's eating into both sides' budgets and enthusiasm.

My ideal wish: Stardock agrees to Fred&Paul's counteroffer, allowing both sides to focus on making games, and also Fred&Paul legally allow Project 6014 to be commercially-released as a "alternate-universe UQM sequel", perhaps with Fred & Paul getting a share of the profits (thus hopefully providing enough incentive for its creators to get back to working on it and actually finishing it). Much as I'm hopeful about Fred&Paul's project, sometimes the fans making fan games do a better job than the original creators (see: Sonic Mania. Wherein Sega made the wise decision to allow someone from the fan-modding scene to make an official game, and the result was the best Sonic game in decades).

Re: Sequels strife

by krulle » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:50 am

F&P already submitted them into the procedure....

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