Sequels strife

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krulle
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by krulle » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:03 pm

palmpet wrote:
Frogboy wrote: The trademark covers the good will and reputation associated with Star Control.
I may be misinterpreting but it sounds as if you think just having the name gives you all the good will associated with it.
@palmpet: yes, this has been the continuous take of Stardock.
The goodwill is often associated with the name, and that is established practice with courts.
But then, this case is unusual in that most people refer to "Star Control" and thinking of the storyline, which is the IP and in different hands than the trademark.
A judge _may_ find, that this case will not fit the established practice.
But don't count on it, I would consider that a landslide decision.


I'm not on a device with full capabilities, using a tablet, so quoting everything correctly is hard to do, so please excuse any errors and incompleteness when citing, please.
Frogboy wrote:
Right here you verge back into full dishonesty again. Answer my earlier question: if I take a dollar out of your wallet without permission, do you shrug and say "it's just a dollar"?
Except it's not dishonest.

In October we had two things in our possession: A signed contract with GOG that Atari transferred to us AND Paul and Fred's confirmation that we had these rights:

Image

And all of this had been legally reviewed.

If you want to measure things in dollars, the damage they did by pawning off on the Star Control mark is vastly vastly greater. By contrast, the DOS games available causes no damage whatsoever. They get the royalty they've been getting for years.
Attaching to this e-mail that PR did agree that Stardock has unlimited distribution rights is problematic. There is no word from Paul Reiche about agreeing or disagreeing what you think you have. He's only asking for the costs you made....
Can you prove that FF and PR did get at least 1000$ per annum? If not, then the sales licensing contract has ended...
Because the Atari/Reiche agreement seems to indicate just that...
( http://star-control.com/community/viewt ... 946#p26946, Exhibit 1 (page 30 following, specifically point 2.2, "sales term") )
As Star Control Episode IV (Star Control 1), and Star Control II, as well as Star Control 3 were not for sale for several years, I find it hard to believe Accolade/Atari would've sprung that money out of its own pockets to keep the sales license for the games alive.
The GoG deal came much later (exhibit 7, pages 105 following, signed 1 April 2011), thus the only valid sales/distribution agreement I can find is the GoG deal, where FF and PR have the right to end the sales licensing.
And maybe FF and PR only became aware of the Steam sales once you advertised it...?
I don't check yearly all of my previous works, whether the current "owner" still keeps his side of the deal. And with all the online platforms I have no chance of checking everywhere, and thus being complete in my checks.

Also, Exhibit 3 (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... claim.html, page 55 following), the agreement for Star Control 3, just adds Star Control 3 into the list of games for which the original agreement is valid.
The other terms remain (point 5), thus the licensing agreement for sales of Star control 3 has ended, about one year after Accolade stopped the sales, and thus did not reach the 1000$ per year...

And exhibit 4 (page 58 following) regulates the development of a further new game, which never got published. The term to finalize the new product was limited to three years after signing (point 4.1). So, the licensing agreement you multiple times insisted was unendable and granted Stardock all rights to do anything in that universe/lore ENDED 1 April 2001.

So Stardock NEVER HAD A RIGHT TO INCLUDE original Star Control II IP, because there are clear ending terms defined in the Accolade agreements.

Very interesting side note: point 1.5:the Reiche IP includes names, terminology, plot lines, and music.
There seems to be no limit to only parts of SC2, like Stardock claims.
Accolade seemed to have known/assume that everything had been transferred to PR by all other participants, why else accept this broad paragraph, without a need to prove what is PR's property?


Frogboy wrote: The fan base for the specific story told in Star Control II is miniscule.
Yet you were willing to pay 300k$ dollars to headstart your new game with this base. I love the specific story line.
I found the name Star Control well chosen, but never liked the name "Super-Melee"....
Frogboy wrote:
And once again you try to breeze past the fact that Stardock is, according to publicly available evidence, arrogating rights to itself which it does not actually have. You yourself stated repeatedly that if any evidence was provided that they had control over distribution, you'd immediately comply with their requests. Evidence was provided yet Stardock hasn't changed its behavior.
I already posted examples of reasons Stardock has every reason to believe it has the right to distribute the DOS games.

They have posted on their blog, in March or whatever, what they claim is an email between Atari and GOG. They have not provided any of this to us, mind you. We read it at the same time you have. There is no affidavit attached to it. It has not been submitted to the court. I will say if they had provided that to us back before the lawyers were involved, we would have taken the games down.
Well, IMHO, now you do have sufficient indication, even without the e-mail exchange. Still, the games are on sale and advertised by Stardock.

Frogboy wrote:They are not entitled to market or promote their game as being associated with Star Control. Calling it a sequel is absolutely most definitely doing that.
True, but they may still refer to having been the developers, and continueing their own storyline started in Star Control II, and dismissing the lore of Star Control III.
Those are facts, and will still give the impression of being the sequel of Star Control.
Without actually using the words sequel, or true sequel, or official sequel.
Their wording was extremely unlucky in that regard.
I fear they are not well versed in actual court lawyering of IP/trademarks, and thus made an error that can quickly happen to everyone. But they should never insist to continue to do so.
They should stop marketing as "true sequel", but referencing facts can still be done.
A judge panel may not find the whole thing as clearcut as you believe, especially in view of your interpretation of the Accolade/FF+PR agreement, and consequent announcement that you do have all the rights in that regard to use the lore, characters, settings, and to market/sale the classic series. That may become a mitigating factor. But I cannot foresee how judges and juries will consider and balance the different apparent transgressions....
So, I'll be awaiting the courtdecision, and hope that both paties will find the first instance decision to be fair and balanced, and not appeal to a second instance...


I need to find out if there are calory-free popcorn variants....

edit:inserted palmpet's quote at top, since this post is first on a new page.

Frogboy
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by Frogboy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:47 am

My final thoughts on this here:

I've been through a lot of IP cases over the years. There are no guarantees in life but we are confident in our position.

I will not be returning here. You can reach me at http://www.starcontrol.com.

Elestan
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by Elestan » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:42 am

(I've moved most of this post over to the UQM forums now that they are back up, because that's where I've been posting most of the rest of my analysis.)

I did want to spare a thought for something Brad said here:
Frogboy wrote:Only things they owned can be reverted to them by definition. Many things in the agreement survive termination. You can read it for yourself.
I am wondering if this is referring to paragraph 4.1 of addendum 3 (Reiche Exhibit 4). That clause looks like it would have indeed given Accolade a license in perpetuity for any product made under that addendum during its 3-year lifespan. The problem is that Addendum 3 was for a Star Control IV that never happened, so I don't think it's applicable.
Last edited by Elestan on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:20 pm, edited 5 times in total.

krulle
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by krulle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:00 am

Frogboy wrote:My final thoughts on this here:

I've been through a lot of IP cases over the years. There are no guarantees in life but we are confident in our position.

I will not be returning here. You can reach me at http://www.starcontrol.com.
Sorry to read you're leaving.
But we've been running circles anyway.



You've been through a lot of IP cases over the years.
This cements the building of a pattern.
You're more experienced in enforcing IP law than FF and PR, which AFAIK never needed to go to court over their IP so far.
Of course they do interpret things differently then.
But it also shows that Stardock has been walking the push borders of IP often enough to have had court cases.
Because Stardock and the other party/parties were unable/unwilling to find a solution outside of court.
It may be the modern times of business, and it may be Stardocks tendency to revive other's ideas which caused this greater experience.
But great experience in having had court cases is only beneficial for a lawyer selling his service as a lawyer.
For companies and other persons it is not. As it indicates that they are unwilling to settle out of court, and have a tendency to push until the other party lets court happen.

I do not know if this applies to Stardock, or is just coincidence (a stastistical outlier), but I would be careful in boasting with IP cases experiences.


Anyway, again thanks Brad for having been here.



Edit:
found a small bits of quotes I found interesting in the IRC chat protocols, and added other parts possibly relevant regarding who created what:
http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/IRC_chat_Oct_1998_QA_trim wrote:<Mharr> SO how many people own bits fo the SC universe? <Fwiffo> Regarding SC rights: This is a very interesting question -- at least to me. From our perspective, we own all of SC beside the name "Star Control" and any of the new characters and events in SC3.

[...]

<Manta> <lb> "How did you originally find Eric Berge, Dan, and company?" <Fwiffo> We met the MOD crew (including Dan and Riku) through a contest we hosted. We invited people from around the world to enter MODs, and the best ones got into the game.

[...]

<Fwiffo> Regarding the dialog: I defined the conversations structurally and wrote pieces of all of them, however, Greg Johnson was responsible for the majority of the Orz, Arilou, and Pkunk. Mat Genser wrote the Utwig and Ilwrath. Robert Leyland wrote the Supox, and Leonard Robel wrote some of the Thraddash. Iain McCaig did much of the VUX.

[...]

<Mephisto_> Fwiffo: Did you hire the voice-actors for the 3DO version of SC2, do all of the voices sound like you would've imagined them to sound? <Fwiffo> We hired a number of local voice-actors for some parts, and we did the rest in-house. Greg Johnson was the Orz, Paul was the Talking Pet. <Fwiffo> Yes, for the most part. -- except for the Starbase commander who didn't really speak his lines with authority.


<_Stilgar> <MangoMan> Why is there a different picture of the earth starbase in all/some of the manuals? <Fwiffo> Sometimes we have a lot of control and particiaption with the artists (as with Erol's drawings in the SC1 manual and the George Barr's illustrations in the cluebook.) Other times, we never even hear about the artwork until after it is done (like Boris' covers)

[...]

<Fwiffo> You know, when it comes to voices, I was talking about the 3DO version -- I have no idea how the SC3 voices sound since I never played that game.

[...]

<Xxyl> <Spyhunter> Fwiffo: "How did you choose the music for each of the races?" <Fwiffo> In terms of music -- in some cases we took the contest entries and matched them up and in some cases Dan wrote them to match the characters.


[...]

<Xxyl> Re: music...Why were certain ones (Quasispace comes to mind) changed for 3do...just preference, or rights? <Fwiffo> The themes that changed on the 3DO did so because we could play redbook audio at those junctures. <_Stilgar> Fwiffo- did the same people who made the music for the PC version of StarCon remix it for the 3DO version? <Fwiffo> Burke Treischmann did the 3DO music.


<_Stilgar> <Spyhunter> Fwiffo: "So the music was chosen to equal the motives and "emotions" of the races?" <Fwiffo> Spyhunter: sort of, but we really only had a limited amount of music to choose from.

[...]

<yehaT> What engine does SC2 use to play the MODs? Or have you coded it on your own? <Fwiffo> We borged some finnish MOD-playing code for the Amiga version, and then created our own version for the PC.

[...]

<_Stilgar> Fwiffo- were any races in SC2 a "last minute addition", or were they all there right from inception of the plot? <Fwiffo> In terms of last minute additions, no - we had a pretty good idea of what we intended to do. We had to leave out a few things though.
This was the stance of FF and PR3 in October 1998. All the copyright is FF and PR3's, despite others having contributed. May have been an oral agreement, or may have been deduced by having been the lead designers and setting the strict guidelines along which others were allowed to work.
(Spoiler warning: the lines directly above the first quoted passage concern a promise regarding a hypothetical future sequel made by FF/PR3. - there may be more in that chat protocol, but I haven't read it all, just searched for a passage I knew there would be for a different topic and stumbled over this line.)

Edit: added a few more passages showing how much of a team effort the game was, but also that the limits for the other contributors have been sset by FF/PR3, who knew what they wanted and where they wanted to go.

Zanthius
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by Zanthius » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:19 am

I found this:
: And lastly, if anyone can answer, please do, who or what is Toys for Bob?
: *also wants to know if the Creators plan to make another StarControl or derived game*

Ah, now this is a question, the answer to which may reveal much about the state of Star Control today. Paul Reiche and I have been a partnership named Toys for
Bob since 1989. While creating SCI and SCII for Accolade we were outside developers -- getting paid for milestones and receiving royalties. As part of our
contract we were careful to keep ownership of the ideas; however, Accolade owned the trademark.
Accolade, at the time, never understood Star Control. They
were a sports game company. Star Control I, to Accolade's bafflement and complete lack of marketing, was an unexpected success. So they were quite willing to let
us do a sequel. They didn't know what they were getting and, frankly, didn't much care. Paul and I threw ourselves into Star Control II and when the project started
to run late and we were unwilling to compromise our vision in order just to get the product out the door, Accolade, as was their right, stopped paying us. For six
months, Paul and I worked with no income and the last two months we averaged 18 hour days, seven days a week. When we finally presented a final version to
Accolade in November of 1992, we were told that they would have been happier to ship the version they had in September. To show you how little of a clue they
had that version had NONE of the conversation in it. You would fly up to a home world or an alien in hyperspace and it would say something like "Arilou hello 1" or
"Ilwrath goodbye 5." Needless to say, Paul and I were pretty burnt on Accolade and Star Control and we wanted to do a simple game to cleanse the palette (The
Horde). This is where our working relationship with Accolade came to an end. With the critical acclaim of SCII (again to their surprise) they wanted us to do SCIII
for the exact same amount of money that we did SCII for (the same amount of money that kept us unpaid for six months). As you may have guessed from all the
mysterious, unanswered questions in SCII, we did indeed plan to do a sequel. Once we separated from Accolade (the owners of the trademark) this became
increasingly unlikely. They would call us up every now and then and try to wheedle, but given their track record with I and II the incentive just wasn't there. Because,
we owned the characters and settings, however, if Accolade ever wanted to commission a sequel with these elements they needed our permission
(which we couldn't
legally withhold given adequate consideration). Thus, SCIII. They had enough rabid fans of SCI&II to convince them that they had to do SCIII. But because they
had to deal with us they wanted slowly to change the storyline enough so that they could eventually claim to be using none of the original material and thereby cut Paul
and me completely out of the picture. SCIV or StarCon is heading even more in that direction. Anyway, at this point Paul and I have pretty much given up returning
to the Star Control universe since we feel it has deviated enough from what our original vision was.

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Death 999
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by Death 999 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:06 am

That's basically TFB's take on it, yes. Of course, Stardock maintains that this is not the case, and what you've quoted certainly doesn't prove it to be so.

Zanthius
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by Zanthius » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:41 am

Death 999 wrote:That's basically TFB's take on it, yes. Of course, Stardock maintains that this is not the case, and what you've quoted certainly doesn't prove it to be so.
No, of course. FF and PR3 could have been wrong about what they believed to be their intellectual property from the very creation of SC2. They are not lawyers.

krulle
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Re: Sequels strife

Post by krulle » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:48 am

Yet they've been working with a company that had plenty of trademark and IP lawyers, due to the sports game they marketed.
And yet that company believed they could NOT touch the original setting without a license...

Which gives strong credits to their claims of owning it all.

Spaniard fan

Re: Sequels strife

Post by Spaniard fan » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:32 pm

To be fair to Brad, he's not going to admit any wrongdoing publicly because I don't think it would look good in court for obvious reasons.
I've been following this since the shit hit the fan at least publicly and it's disheartening. I won't comment on any legal issues because I am no lawyer, I don't think I can add anything that has already been added and also there's a lot that we don't know, so I'll limit my comment to how childish both parties look
Regarding Paul and Fred, I wish they would stop making blog posts about this whole situation, or at least the way they are doing them, because I don't think things like talking about settlement details are going to do any favor to them in the future and I feel they only add more fuel to the fire. Also I hate they use of Star Control-like humor in this posts.
The same goes to Brad, and I say Brad and not Stardock because he's the one who is more prominently talking about this matter on message boards/reddits. I think you've already made your point as far as what you can say publicly and lately your posts are feeling contradictory and not 100% honest, from now on if P&F keep making blog posts I would just limit it to updating the Q&A in the Stardock boards. Also there are posts like this https://forums.starcontrol.com/487690/get;3708212
https://i.imgur.com/C7FIJtj.png
not the first time I've seen you make reference to newly registered people and suggesting it could be from the PR firm that P&F hired http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?top ... 3#msg77073
https://i.imgur.com/ZMXWTlW.png
This makes you look paranoid and not very professional, expect new people to want to comment in this matter if after 25 years of very few news, this shitstorm is suddenly unleashed. Also there's the abrassive tone you yourself have admitted of being guilty that you often use doesn't help either.

Anyway, those are my 2 cents. The reason why I haven't registered an account is because I doubt I will make any contributions to the community/more comments to this matter, I would like though to take advantage of this post to thank the people who have maintained this communities alive and the ones that have worked on projects like the Ur-quan Masters, the HD remaster, Project 6014 even if they didn't finished it, as well as other countless fan projects.

Let's hope this gets resolved and we get both games, and also sorry about my shitty fine english.

(Mod edit to change large inline images to links since poster could not, and to make a little factual correction ;)-smf )

Spaniard fan

Re: Sequels strife

Post by Spaniard fan » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:34 pm

Also, sorry, I have broke a bit the thread with my humongous screencaps :-[-smf

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