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Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:02 am
by vok3
Thank you, that clarifies the situation.

I admit I had never even considered the possibility that they would be making legal claims without paperwork to back it up. I desperately hope that's not the case.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:10 am
by Frogboy
vok3 wrote: (good points)
Nothing has changed in the sense that the Accolade Star Control games have been digitally distributed for sale since at least 2011 -- years before Stardock was involved.

Paul apparently made similar claims to us as they did in the post and we asked them to show us any documentation to back up that claim, even an email from Atari would have sufficed and they refused.

It's not like the games sell a lot of units. We have a lot of titles available through many channels and the DOS games, admittedly, are not at the top of our priority list. But our publishing team isn't going to just drop products when we have a written and signed agreement. When they brought this up we said that this was a perfect example of why we need some sort of agreement to clear this up.

They seriously need to stop making these kinds of blogs and speak to an IP attorney. This drama is really unhelpful.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:04 am
by vok3
For those of you who don't follow the GOG forums, Brad has made some ... very interesting ... posts over there: ... gog/post67 ... gog/post69

Including this bit:
Thus, upon recently finding out that the actual agreement was between Paul/Fred and GOG we contacted Paul and Fred to contacted GOG to remove the titles and, as GOG can verify, we contacted GOG to terminate that agreement so that the games can be sold as part of the existing Stardock/GOG agreement.
That "as GOG can verify" bit ... yeah, posting this sort of thing about interactions with GOG on GOG's own forums where GOG can immediately call you on it if you're not on the up and up ... I don't see how that can possibly be untrue.

The problem is that if Brad's statement is true, Fred&Paul's statement in their blog, about THEM being the ones to request the games be taken down, looks very ... well, the most charitable interpretation I can put on it is that they DID contact GOG but only as a result of Stardock saying that it needed to happen, but conveniently didn't mention that aspect of it in what they were telling the public. If you squint really hard, maybe it's not lying by omission. Maybe.

Certainly if they DID have full rights to what they're claiming, I would have expected the first move to be a legalgram to Steam, telling THEM to take the games down because Stardock didn't have the rights. Of course that's not what they did.

However, I can now see where the allusions in the first blog post, about Stardock trying to tell them what to do with their own game, might have been coming from. The problem basically seems to be that Stardock isn't taking their word for it about them owning anything, and they're getting mad about that, but they're still NOT providing any documentation that might back up their claims.

This is all based on what Brad Wardell has been saying, of course. Fred&Paul have been rather scarce with specifics so far - which is what has been bothering me from the start.

edit: Brad Wardell announces the games are back for sale on ... gog/post89

Which definitely supports his version of events over Fred&Paul's.

Guys, you're my childhood heroes, whydja have to be so dang silly about this?

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:18 am
by Shiver
I started off pondering what the legalese meant and what the ramifications were, but honestly... who knows what each group's stack of papers amounts to? Do I even care? I think I don't. Artistically, this series is Toys For Bob's. Always has been, always will be, and Stardock is now an unwelcome intruder. I don't know how this will end, but I know who I support. What did Stardock need the Star Control name for in the first place? Just make a damned Space RPG.

vok3 wrote:Which definitely supports his version of events over Fred&Paul's.

Guys, you're my childhood heroes, whydja have to be so dang silly about this?
Oh man. Star Control fell off GoG... then reappeared! Amazing! How about you stop kissing his ass. Or are you Stardock community outreach disguised as a person? I heard they do shit like that sometimes. You probably are.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:38 am
by vok3
Paranoid much? No, I am not. I applied for a QA job at Stardock about 10-12 years ago and got turned down. No professional contact with them since. I have had some contact as a customer - apparently Sins of a Solar Empire has the serial number printed in the manual instead of on the CD, and this isn't required to install the game, only to download updates; I discovered this after I'd tossed the manual with some other trash during a move. Stardock has refused to provide me with a new one.

I'd also point out that if you check my first post on this forum, I was rather negative about Stardock's project, for reasons very similar to what is being discussed now. But if you want to emote over what you want to be true instead of what is verifiably and observably true, that's your issue. It will get you no farther than it is getting Fred&Paul.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:46 am
by Shiver
Stardock will be megaphoning their side of the story all over the internet for a long time. If you're a real fan, please don't help them do it here. But who am I kidding, I think I know what I'm pleading with.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:14 am
by vok3
You clearly don't understand what you're dealing with. Megaphoning stories over the internet has absolutely no consequences in a court of law, as you would know if you knew anything about Brad Wardell's history. Or anything else about legal practice, for that matter.

A "real fan" who wants to see a proper sequel to Star Control 2 does not help Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III dig themselves deeper into a hole of their own making. A "real fan" notices that they've screwed up and wants them to un-screw themselves.

A "real fan" most certainly does not double down on stupid and wishful thinking, as you seem to be doing.

The very instant they come up with actual documentation backing up their claims, and show signs of prevailing in a courtroom, I will be trumpeting that all over the place. What I will not be doing is yelling about what I want to be true when all the publicly available evidence indicates the contrary.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:46 am
by Shiver
Waaaaaait a minute, I'm not trading messages with a PR employee am I? I've heard "angry CEO" before, and it sounds exactly like that. That post in the Off Topic thread, too. Brad, is that you?

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:24 am
by Ogo3142
I'm afraid I don't believe the Stardock account, for one reason alone: Stardock isn't trying to shut down the UQM project.

The term "intellectual property" conflates completely different laws which have almost nothing in common. The actual issues we are talking about here are: copyright, and trademarks. No one denies that Stardock owns the "Star Control" trademark. That's why The Ur-Quan Masters is not called "Star Control II"; it would be trademark infringement. (On a side note, Frogboy, you do realize Stardock could easily grant the UQM project permission to use the trademark, don't you?)

What's being contested is copyright. Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III contend that they have acquired all the copyright for Star Control II (The Ur-Quan Masters), except for the 3DO version's videos, and that the UQM project is allowed to exist (and was also allowed to exist when Atari held the "Star Control" trademark) evidences this. Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III further contend that they hold the copyright for most if not all elements of Star Control, the original game, which does logically follow them wholly having the copyright to SC2 simply because a huge portion of stuff from Star Control was copied wholesale into SC2.

Statements I'm seeing from you, Frogboy, consist of the following:

1. Stating that Stardock is only continuing a previous agreement. This suggests that, indeed, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III's claim is correct. Furthermore, it also suggests that Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III can withdraw the agreement, i.e. withdraw permission to distribute the Star Control games in that manner.

2. Claiming that Star Control 1-3 were all "owned" (I assume you mean copyrighted) by Accolade, who then transferred this "ownership" to Atari, who then transferred it to Stardock. You back this claim up by pointing out that Accolade's name was on the box, but this doesn't prove anything. We all know Accolade published these games originally. That has nothing to do with their copyright status now.

I don't even really side with Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III on this. I think that copyright is unjust when used for anything except for copyleft. I wish Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III would release the UQM data under a libre copyleft license, like CC BY-SA, rather than restricting its use to non-commercial usage only. I think they should also release whatever portions of other games they hold the copyright to under libre licenses. This would, at the very least, allow Stardock to sell copies of The Ur-Quan Masters, provided they followed the terms of the GNU GPL and CC BY-SA. I'm sure Stardock wouldn't like that as much, but it would be fair.

But as far as who holds the copyright goes, I tend to think it's Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III rather than Stardock.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:43 am
by Ogo3142
Oh, that's odd. I didn't even know you could post anonymously as a guest. The above post is mine. I didn't even realize it was anonymous until I went to try and edit it (I accidentally said "copyleft" in one case when I meant "copyright").

I do want to add something. Frogboy, you commented on the UQM forum that the license agreement you're talking about cannot be terminated, and that is Stardock's only contention. If that is true, I would suggest that perhaps Stardock, as well as those representing Stardock, should not mix in confusing rhetoric about how the box/manual has Accolade's name on it, FUD regarding who really holds the copyright to these games, and other such irrelevant things.