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All About Star Control
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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:46 am 
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Arilou wiseguy

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:01 pm
Posts: 241
Yeah, If ound out you could y'day.
Weird. not helpful in preventing spam.....

Anyway, an interesting post from the UQM-forum, I'm crosslinking due to the content from the manuals.
For what it is worth, I pulled out my old SC manuals from the original releases of the games and on the back cover is all the legalese. I quote:

(Star Control): The software and the user manual are copyrighted 1990 by Accolade, Inc.

Star Control II is a trademark of Accolade, Inc. Game (C)1992 Paul Reiche III & Fred Ford. All other materials are copyrighted 1992 by Accolade, Inc.

Star Control 3 and ACCOLADE are trademarks of Accolade, Inc. (C) 1996 Accolade Inc. All rights reserved. Star Control 3 is based upon characters created and used under license from Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford.

This may help in further discussions.

It is still unclear regarding SCII: Game (C) by FF and PR. But what constitutes part of the game copyright?
Only the characters? Only the code? The music (which if I remember correctly, was "bought" from some freelancers on the usenet/BBS/... systems of that time)? The story?
This formulation is very short, and in this case ambiguous. But it looks like they meant "the game, everything in the software is (c) PR and FF; all other stuff, like manual, box, cover art,... is (c) Accolade".
I received a "players handbook/hintbook" (ressource guide [1]) with one of the packages, which explicitly states that this handbook was written by FF and PR3. And then the name Atari appears.

It appears to me, that Atari only had transferred the copyrights on physical stuff to them, but left all other stuff, the intagible stuff like code, story, characters, software, to the developers.
Printed books? Manual? Box? Art on disc, CD, box, cover, manual, ressource guide? All copyrights transferred to Atari (and now Stardock).

[EDIT]
Anyway: googled a bit and found this on the net too:
LICENSE AGREEMENT

This computer software product (the Software) and user manual are
provided to the Customer under license from Accolade, Inc. and are
subject to the following terms and conditions, to which the Customer
agrees by opening the package of the Software, or using the Software:
Granting of this license does not transfer any right, title or
interest in the Software, or user manual to the Customer except as
expressly set forth in this License Agreement. The Software and user
manual may not be duplicated or copied for any reason. The Customer
may not transfer or resell the Software or user manual.


Star Control II is a trademark of Accolace, Inc. Portions (c)1992
PaulReiche III & Fred Ford. Game (c)1992 by Accolade, Inc. All
rights are reserved.
Neither the Software nor the user manual may
be duplicated or copied for any reason. The customer may not
transfer or resell the Software or user manual.

[...]

All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the properties
of their respective owners.
(bolding highlights by me)
[edit 3]downloadable PDF of PC version manual (without front of back pages): http://replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.1119
Again, only portions are copyrights by FF and PRIII. (see page 102 of the PDF)[/edit 3]

Forget that in Europe you can always sell again, and that you cannot agree to a license agreement by opening a package if the license agreement is only provided inside the package.
Also you have to duplicate the software to use it (onto harddrive for installation; into memory for execution).

But the text here says PORTIONS only are copyrighted by FF and PR... The game is copyrighted by Accolade.
(very unlucky line breaks...)
This is different from the passage quote on the UQM forum....

This sounds much like Accolade as publisher has all rights to make as many copies as necessary for the distribution of the game. And no-one else.

This would support Stardock's view.

[EDIT2]
Let us make this worse:
Crystal Dynamics, GEX and Off-World Interceptor are trademarks of Crystal Dynamics. Star Control II is a trademark of Accolade, Inc. (c) 1994 Fred Ford and Paul
Raiche III, 3DO, the 3DO logo and the Interactive Multiplayer are trademarks of The 3DO Company. This game is licensed for home play on the 3DO Interactive
Multiplayer system. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, [???], public performance, or broadcast of this game is a
violation of applicable laws. (c) 1994 Crystal Dynamics Inc., [?]7 Encina Ave., Palo Alto, CA94[?]01. All Rights Reserved. Developed and manufactured in the U.S.
With the 3DO clearly, Accolade only has the brandname StarControl, the copyright is stated to be with FF and PRIII.
This would support FF and PR's view.



With the different versions 3DO (1994) and PC (1992), I do not know what to make of it. Seems like either Accolade made an error when making the PC manuals, and corrected it for the 3DO version; OR the copyright to the content changed in the meantime.
And 1994 is a long while past. It may be very difficult to refind the documentation to prove either way.

I need to shut up, this is interesting to me personally, but there is no clear documentation publicly available allowing me to draw a sound conclusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:44 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 36
So someone dug up the original Atari court proceedings. I'm not a lawyer but at first glance it does seem to support F&P's argument:
https://www.resetera.com/posts/1739129/

Quote:
Buyer agrees to purchase...all of such Seller’s right, title and interest in, to and under the following (the “Purchased Assets”):

(a) the Intellectual Property;
(b) those contracts listed or described on Schedule 2.01(b)
(c) all Causes of Action for past or present infringement or misappropriation of Intellectual Property as of the Closing, including Sellers’ rights of indemnity, warranty rights, rights of contribution, rights to refunds, rights of reimbursement and other rights of recovery, but excluding insurance proceeds (regardless of whether such rights are currently exercisable).

SECTION 2.02
Excluded Assets.
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary set forth in this Agreement, Buyer expressly understands and agrees that any assets and properties of the Sellers not set forth in Section 2.01 (the “Excluded Assets”) shall be excluded from the Purchased Assets.


Quote:
Schedule B.22 - Patents, copyrights and other intellecual property

Star Control Trademark - Registered
Star Control 3 Copyrights PA 799-000
Star Control Game Title

Executory Contracts and Expired Leases
Schedule G

Gog Limited (Good Old Games) Digital Distribution
3 Griva Digeni Street
Patsalos House 2nd Floor, Office 202
6030 Larnaca, Cyprus


So the document excludes anything not listed in B22 and G, which has a very limited list. Prima facie, this certainly seems to support Fred and Paul.

I'm guessing Stardock's argument in response would be that since the original Accolade license said it would never terminate, it still carries over under either "(a) the Intellectual Property" or "(c) all Causes of Action for past or present infringement or misappropriation", and one of these items would be considered a "provision to the contrary" mentioned in 2.02. Whether this would hold up, I can't say because I'm not a lawyer.

My guess is that Stardock's argument is based on the hardline perpetual exclusivity of Accolade's original license that said it would go even past termination, while TFB is based more on the Atari auction. It would likely be possible for a lawyer to make a plausible argument either way depending on which text they chose to emphasize as the primary one.

Perhaps there are other documents I'm not aware of that would push things one way or another. I'm trying to be charitable because I want to believe both sides are acting in good faith here with their best understanding of the legal technicalities.


Last edited by Mormont on Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:25 pm 
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ZFP Peacekeeper
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:07 pm
Posts: 1599
Shiver wrote:
But who am I kidding, I think I know what I'm pleading with.


Please don't go there without much firmer evidence than you have.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:47 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:58 pm
Posts: 21
One can just go to the online copyright search and look over the copyrights that were in place for the game. Some people here will clearly not like what they find.

Stardock has never made any claim own the aliens, characters, setting or lore of the classic series. We aren't using them. We have no intent to use them.

We simply think the two parties should put together an agreement that puts to rest any and all disagreements (both immediate and potential).

As this thread makes clear, the IP surrounding the classic series is a little messy. The best way, as I've made clear to Paul and Fred numerous times, is for us to just get on the phone and come up with a win-win solution for both each other and the fans.

And yes, I realize that sounds like PR speak but that's almost exactly the words I've used in my discussions. Better to deal with a fanboy like me than a lawyer.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:35 pm 
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Hunam adventurer
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Quote:
I realize that sounds like PR speak

I actually think it sounds like a series of threats, or at the very least a FUD campaign. It's all vague and ominous. Like these statements:

Quote:
Some people here will clearly not like what they find.

Quote:
As this thread makes clear, the IP surrounding the classic series is a little messy.


Again, I'd suggest you stop beating around the bush so much and stick to the point. If Stardock's position is the The Ur-Quan Masters was illegally licensed in any part, say so. If Stardock's position is that The Ur-Quan Masters and related copyrights were successfully collected by FF&PR, and Stardock's only contention is that it has a permanent agreement allowing it to distribute the DOS games inherited from Accolade, say so. This isn't something like software patents where knowing makes things worse. If you just can't make concrete statements on behalf of Stardock for legal reasons, then again, just say so.

Quote:
but that's almost exactly the words I've used in my discussions.

If so, I would find their frustration to be quite understandable.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:58 pm
Posts: 21
Ogo3142 wrote:
Quote:
I realize that sounds like PR speak

I actually think it sounds like a series of threats, or at the very least a FUD campaign. It's all vague and ominous. Like these statements:

Quote:
Some people here will clearly not like what they find.

Quote:
As this thread makes clear, the IP surrounding the classic series is a little messy.


Again, I'd suggest you stop beating around the bush so much and stick to the point. If Stardock's position is the The Ur-Quan Masters was illegally licensed in any part, say so. If Stardock's position is that The Ur-Quan Masters and related copyrights were successfully collected by FF&PR, and Stardock's only contention is that it has a permanent agreement allowing it to distribute the DOS games inherited from Accolade, say so. This isn't something like software patents where knowing makes things worse. If you just can't make concrete statements on behalf of Stardock for legal reasons, then again, just say so.

Quote:
but that's almost exactly the words I've used in my discussions.

If so, I would find their frustration to be quite understandable.


I don't think I can be any more clear.

Those agreements were transferred to Stardock by Atari who in turn received them from Accolade.

I'm not a lawyer so I am not going to make speculate on things like the Ur-Quan Masters other than to say Stardock is glad it exists andis supportive of that effort and will never take any action to interfere with it.

What I do know, however, based on legal counsel is that Paul's Accolade agreements are still in effect and enforceable which contain many provisions that are very restrictive. I also know that Stardock owns Star Control in all forms that related to computer and video games.

And lastly, I know that Stardock desires for Ghosts of the Precursors to be made and to be made as a continuation of the events of the Ur-Quan Masters.

As for the copyrights, like I said, you can look them up. I am not going to go into more detail than that for obvious legal reasons.

Look, if you guys don't want me here, I can leave. I am *trying* to be supportive of the community and if you look, I have not said a negative word about Paul and Fred. In fact, if you look at my postings, they have been universally positive about them. I am, of course, biased, but I am trying to provide as much information, as I can on the subject. Far more, I think most would agree, than would normally be provided given the circumstances.

So just say the word and I'll go.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:57 am 
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Ilwrath torturer
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:21 pm
Posts: 454
It i my hope that this community will never become one of exclusion. I would hope you would not leave Frogboy. Despite the obvious hostility, which I believe is only born from the passion we all hold for those involved, this community has never been one that I feel has not had the capacity to overcome disagreements.

Ultimately the choice to stay or go lies with you or the mods, but I for one would appreciate your continued input.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:24 am 
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ZFP Peacekeeper
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:07 pm
Posts: 1599
Frogboy has done nothing here anywhere NEAR worthy of a ban, so it's up to him whether he finds you all sufficiently annoying to leave. And before that point I'd hope I or other moderators would be stepping in to keep people from being very annoying.

We've had some red text going around on both sides today; hopefully no more will be needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:39 am 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 36
Brad,

First of all I will believe you have good intentions and don't want you to be kicked out.
Quote:
I'm not a lawyer so I am not going to make speculate on things like the Ur-Quan Masters other than to say Stardock is glad it exists and is supportive of that effort and will never take any action to interfere with it.

That said, it's easy to see how one could read this sort of statement as a subtle threat. If Ur-quan Masters is of questionable legality and exists by Stardock's good graces (which seems to logically follow if we grant all your other premises), that can be revoked at any time. Now I believe you when you say you support UQM and don't want to go after it, but I would still be worried reading that in F&P's place and would probably think "I need a lawyer."

F&P have been strongly convinced for a long time that they fully own Star Control 1/2 and have rights to all future products in the universe (including non-game), with the exception of the name "Star Control." This is something they've believed since sometime in the first half of the 00s and not a new thing they came up with to needle Stardock or start a fight. I'm sure they have consulted with lawyers about it in the past long before Stardock became associated with SC.

Could they be mistaken about this, could there be more ambiguities than they imagined? It's possible, though if they are wrong I doubt things are as definitive as Stardock's side either. But it makes sense that they would feel threatened about being told otherwise, however polite the language. I can understand why they feel backed into a corner, even if I can't assess all the legal arguments and their public blog posts are probably imprudent.


Last edited by Mormont on Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sequels strife
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:23 am 
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Hunam adventurer
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Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:36 pm
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Quote:
Look, if you guys don't want me here, I can leave.

This was right after a response to my post, so I must say I never made any indication that I wanted you to leave. I would never even consider doing that here. I'm only offering suggestions for how to handle talking about this dispute Stardock has with F&P. You can take them or leave them.


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