Frogboy wrote:The valuable part, for us, has been the Star Control brand.
That is why Paul and Fred have continually tried to associate with it.
And their legal position has been consistent, regardless of your public interpretations: Their game will be marketed as a direct sequel to Star Control II.
If they insist on those specific terms then you have a case. I haven't seen anything in the publicized statements that supports this claim, yet.
You can't have it both ways. If the Star Control brand wasn't valuable, and I note that we are on a site called Star-Control and not "Paul and Reiche's universe", then they would not be trying to associate with it.
But this is why the IP dispute is actually important. What IS Star Control, specifically? What does the trademark represent? If Paul Reiche's claims that all rights regarding the IP have reverted to him are correct, what is there that is still attached to the trademark?
This site is named for Star Control because that's the name under which many of us encountered it. The "other board" is UQM because that's the name that was available when that project happened. Both sites refer to essentially the same thing: the setting, gameplay, and writing of the game that was sold as "Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters". Reiche's IP claims are that all of that actually belongs to him.
Well, for one thing, they could have just quit kvetching about the DOS games and let them continue to be sold as they had been continuously for years.
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"?
It's not kvetching if Stardock does not have the right to make sale and distribution arrangements but does so anyway
. It is very apparent to me that this incident was the trigger for all of this blowing up. You keep trying to shrug it off like it doesn't matter that they are convinced they have certain rights, they have documentary evidence backing that up, and yet Stardock wants to dispose of their property without asking them and describes objections as "kvetching" that should just stop.
This, more than anything else, makes me think their accusation that Stardock is trying to usurp the IP rights might have real merit. Because you absolutely refuse to address the simple and obvious action that Stardock took in direct contradiction to what appears to be fairly solid evidence on their part.
Instead, they made it crystal clear to us that they wanted to make sure we were not associated with "THEIR" game (Star Control).
If at some point I see documentary evidence where they refer to their new game as being explicitly Star Control, then I will believe you. Until then - and especially given the emerging pattern, including the DMCA/Steam sales issue - I find it fairly likely you are mischaracterizing the situation.
If Paul and Fred had, for example, come out and named their game "Ur-Quan Masters II: Ghosts of the Precursors" and not associated it with Star Control we wouldn't be here.
First of all, they didn't name it "Star Control III". Second, I've asked this question of you before but you didn't answer: are they not allowed to ever mention in any context that they worked on Star Control 2? Are they not allowed to discuss their past work in discussing a future project?
Because if your answer is "No, they can't" I'm going to simply disbelieve anything else you say on this topic. I've worked in games myself, I've seen enough cases of people moving around between companies and starting new or related projects, and while such a claim might look plausible with the right cherry-picked arguments, in the real world it doesn't work that way. Chris Roberts and his employees talked incessantly about Wing Commander; the ~$200 million pile of nonsense that is Star Citizen was built entirely on the Wing Commander reputation; EA Legal did not find cause to sue. That's merely the biggest example, there's plenty of others. Reiche & Ford are on solid ground here.
And if they decided that they didn't want the old DOS games being sold at that point, we would have complied. Not because we agreed with them but out of deference just like we removed Super-Melee from Star Control: Origins.
Except that, according to the documentation they've provided - and which you have not (publicly) countered in any way - it's not your decision
. It's not a question of deference or politeness. You simply do not have the legal ability to do anything with those games without their say-so, and you keep ignoring this very basic fact. You need to stop doing that.
And in addition to that: Each correspondence would up the ante on what they think in Star Control: Origins violates their rights. First it was Super-Melee (the word). Then it was the little Spathi trinket in the background of an alien scene. Then it was the ship designer. Then it was the look of the Earthling ship. Then it was demands that we police the community. Some of the members here were listed as people violating their rights due to your fan art that was posted on online. Then it was the demand that we actively police Steam workshop for sketches or ship designs they didn't like. Then it was the concept of Star Control itself.
Given that fan art here has a long-running history with absolutely zero problems from them, as well as assorted fan clones of the game with also zero problems (I worked on one for a couple years, had a few interactions with them, zero problems), until I see the actual correspondence (and I realize you are under no obligation to release it) I am going to assume you are incompletely or inaccurately characterizing the situation, as what you describe is completely out of their prior pattern of behavior.
This all then climaxes with their filing of DMCAs not just of Star Control 1,2 but also Star Control 3. Now, I've seen people argue in this very forum that they had a right to do that against Star Control 3 (And actually, no, they didn't, not against any of them actually which is why their DMCA claim failed). The argument being that Star Control 3 contained IP from Star Control 2. Well, that argument could be used against Star Control: Origins. What stops them from filing a DMCA on Star Control: Origins the week of launch because, I dunno, they decide that the Tywom look too much like one of the aliens in Star Control II? Or that they think we have to remove our ship designer. That move would ruin us.
This whole paragraph is deliberately deceptive. "Spathi" is clearly part of the IP developed in Star Control 2. The ship was clearly included in the screenshot. Actual identity and mere resemblance are not in any way equivalent, and courts are entirely capable of distinguishing between the two. Compare "The Orville" with Star Trek. Orville is obviously LIKE Star Trek, but it IS not Star Trek. Similarly the Origins universe can be LIKE the Ur-Quan universe without BEING the Ur-Quan universe. This is very basic stuff, and anybody well versed in IP would be completely aware of it. Fearmongering about them ruining you on the basis something like this is completely unjustified.
1. They had already done something that even the fans agree they shouldn't have done: Claim their game was a direct sequel to Star Control II, complete with the *literal* box that was used by Accolade as their trademark sample (could you get any more blatant than that?) and the claim that THEY, not Accolade, released Star Control.
I refer you to my previous question: are they not ever allowed to refer to past work they've done? Because that seems to be your position, and it is an absolutely untenable one. As for what they said about who released it, that's you pointing at a shiny thing and hoping it distracts people. It's absolutely irrelevant.
You guys agree: They should get some "slap on the wrist". Ok? How about they stop doing it and just let the old games continue to be sold and work with us in the future to avoid such misunderstandings.
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.
How about we even throw in that we would put in writing that their aliens and characters and lore are exclusively theirs and no license exists? Because that's what we offered.
Once again, I would need to see the specific wording of the email exchange - and once again I realize you are under no obligation to provide it - before believing this claim. You have, for example, previously claimed that you offered to transfer everything Star Control-related to them at your cost; this was true but misleading, as their position is that you've bought nothing of any great value to them, and their counterclaim refers to multiple occasions when you agreed with their statements that the IP rights had fully reverted and were not included in the sale.
2. Their official, legal position was that Ghosts was going to be an official sequel to Star Control II.
That was their position. November.
Once again, I would want to see context. The quoted text does not indicate that they intend to sell it as "Star Control". It does refer to the game that everybody here knows as Star Control 2, and states that they're making a sequel to it. Is it your position that they are never allowed to refer to the title under which that game was sold?
3. They had engaged in a series of very public attacks on us because we hadn't taken the games down.
Stop beating this drum. As I've described above, Stardock very clearly appears to be in the wrong
on that matter. There is no sympathy to be gained by pointing out that they were attacking you as a result of your company doing something wrong.
As for GOG, they're pretty clearly going with the prevailing wind and waiting for the courts to sort things out.
As for the mess since and the trademarking. Our position is, especially after their attempt to cancel our trademark, which is not a "weak" trademark, it's on file and i's been in continual use and has been re-registered continuously since the 90s, is that no games related to Star Control are going to be released without our permission.
What, specifically, is Star Control?
You want the trademark to include the value of their IP. Their position is that it does not include that. That's why there's a court case.
You can see, at various points, how easy this would have been to resolve.
What I can see is that they changed their announcement to remove the "Star Control 2" reference and to add your trademark, and I can see that you're still selling games which Atari agreed Reiche & Ford had control over, and I can see that you don't want them ever using the words "Star Control" in any context, and I can see that you've made multiple statements at various times on the licensing and IP issues which are their primary complaint and that many of those statements contradict each other.
Now? A lot more damage has been done and even attempts at settlement end up with them posting misleading representations of what was in there (the apology demand was particularly galling, not only would it be petty to ask industry legends to apologize but it would be a terrible PR idea).
Are you claiming that was falsified? Because there is a big difference between selective quoting and outright falsification.