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March 19th, 2018, 22:28
Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III share the reasons why the Star Control IP dispute can't be settled amicably.

Strange Settlement on an Alien Planet

March 19, 2018

After reading about the conflict between us and Stardock, several people have asked the reasonable question, "Why can't you guys just work this out?" In early October 2017 we tried to do just that, exchanging email with Brad Wardell. In these communications, Fred and I defined our idea of a 'win-win' solution…

(Oct. 6, 2017 email from Paul to Brad Wardell) "… It is important that our players are not confused about which game they are getting, so we need to clearly distinguish our respective projects. That separation should fall along our respective rights, Stardock having purchased the Star Control trademarks and Fred and I owning all the IP rights to the works we created.

As we've said to you several times over the past years, we do not want Stardock to use any of our IP, and that remains our position today. To avoid consumer confusion, we must also pass on the DLC option you proposed. Despite your suggestion below, you do not have a license to use our IP. All rights to our work reverted to us long ago. You (and Atari) previously acknowledged same. Further, time and again you have asked for a new license, notwithstanding our consistent rejections. Kindly do not use our IP in your game. If already added, please remove it before release.

We too wish to see both projects succeed and are confident that with reasonable efforts on our respective parts, we can avoid any perceived conflict or confusion between them. …"

Initially both sides made moves toward compromise. Our blog now includes the attribution "Star Control is a registered trademark of Stardock Systems, Inc". We describe Ghosts of the PrecursorsTM as "a sequel to the Ur-Quan Masters". We no longer use the #starcontrol hashtag. Stardock removed images of our alien races from their website banner and they changed "SUPER-MELEE" to "Fleet Battles" in Origins.

But earlier this month we received an unfathomable settlement offer from Stardock. Paraphrasing from legalese, it requires…

  1. Fred and Paul must surrender all their IP rights to the classic Star Control games to Stardock.
  2. Fred and Paul never again use the words "STAR CONTROL" or "GHOSTS OF THE PRECURSORS" or "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS".
  3. For the next 5 years, Fred and Paul do not work on any game similar to the classic Star Control games.
  4. Fred and Paul issue a public apology to Stardock.
  5. Fred and Paul never again challenge Stardock's rights to STAR CONTROL trademark or STAR CONTROL 3 copyright.
  6. Fred and Paul pay Stardock $225,000.
  7. Fred and Paul never again call themselves the "creators" of the classic Star Control games.
And if their intent wasn't clear enough, Stardock has now also filed for the trademarks:"The Ur-Quan Masters", "Melnorme", "VUX", Pkunk", "Ilwrath", "Chenjesu", "Androsynth", "Spathi", "SUPER-MELEE", "Syreen", "Ur-Quan", "Orz" and "Yehat".

Fred and I still believe in the ‘win-win' scenario for both studios and both games, but given Stardock's recent actions, we seem headed into a world in which many hundreds of hours and many MILLIONS of dollars are spent on legal actions. Those hours and that money will be lost - not spent on making both games cooler, more beautiful, more fun -- and ultimately that hurts players like you.
More information.
Last edited by Silver; March 19th, 2018 at 23:24. Reason: I keep calling Star Control Starcon - old habit
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March 19th, 2018, 23:58
One of my favorite games back in the day. I really want Stardock's version to come out, but not if Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III truly do own the IP.

That being said, if Ford and Reiche fight this out they better win… or this will really come across as sour grape tantrums.
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March 20th, 2018, 02:53
Funny how Fred and Paul did nothing with starcontrol for many years until Stardock started their game development then they are making a game too. Seems like it was dead to them until someone else wanted it then OMG you can't have it.
Guess the lawers will figure it out now and everyone looses.
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March 20th, 2018, 03:02
I read the arguments on both sides. Both documents were spun to come from a very rational point of view.

It would be nice if they would sit down together, put their rulers away, and have the conversation like real people. My own conclusion is that both are correct and both are incorrect.
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March 20th, 2018, 03:10
Bah the older I get the more I detest IP, and copyright laws for older games. One example would be Harmony Gold as they always sue developers of mech games.

Also take a look at this link about forgotten and shut down MMO's.

Link - https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Bran…line_games.php
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Funny how Fred and Paul did nothing with starcontrol for many years until Stardock started their game development then they are making a game too. Seems like it was dead to them until someone else wanted it then OMG you can't have it.

Guess the lawers will figure it out now and everyone looses.
Yep seen this happen to many times to count with dead Ip's,
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March 20th, 2018, 05:02
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Bah the older I get the more I detest IP, and copyright laws for older games.
Copyright laws suck as they currently are. They hold back a ton of creativity in all media. I detest them as well.

That said, there are cool developments going on in music copyright, for example. If I sample a song by The Carpenters there are going to be algorithms that not only automatically detect the sample, but also pay a reasonable percentage to the copyright owner automatically. Then you can continue using the sampled track and the owner gets paid as well. About time.

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March 20th, 2018, 05:33
So strange… I loved Star Control 2, but have no attachment to any of the names. If somebody can bring out a similar game with different names I would like it - it is the gameplay that counts, not whether a Pkunk is in it. Personally, I also think fleet battles sounds better than SUPER-MELEE anyways. But the best of luck to them if they feel so strongly about it. After dealing with corporates throughout my life, I have found the levels of stupidity never level out.
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March 20th, 2018, 08:06
Stardock bought the IP off Atari and brought the series back to life.

Fred and Paul are just being wankers. If they wanted to bring this shit up it should have been with Atari years ago. They didn't care at all until recently.
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March 20th, 2018, 08:33
Any computer game unused IP should be open for other companies after a few years.

As much I loved Fred & Paul work, asking Stardock not to use their IP after so many years is lame and left Stardock with no choice but to sue them to get the IP among the trademark they already own.

Both games could have succeeded. One being the Star control Origins, the other one being the follow up.

Just reminds me of Richard Garriott, not being able to get back Ultima from EA, who's doing absolutely nothing with it.
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March 20th, 2018, 15:08
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Fred and Paul are just being wankers. If they wanted to bring this shit up it should have been with Atari years ago. They didn't care at all until recently.
Dont be silly. Do you really believe that they could do it with Atari? They couldnt because Atari didnt see enough profit from it. Not to mention Atari has own problems.

Fred and Paul worked all the time on something else. Now they want to return to SC. And there is no reason why they couldnt. Or should we ask Stardock? Because Stardock make nice public statements for years, they were friendly to Fred and Paul. Stardock openly said they wont use original aliens from SC because of respect for F+P and because of possible game from F+P in the future. So it seemed that everything is ok and there is room for Stardocks SC (origin story with new aliens) and possible continuation of SC with original aliens from F+P. But when F+P really announced their game - not using name Star Control - Stardock suddenly came "there is issue, dear friends". Really?

Maybe there was some validity in their claims regarding the way F+P announced their game, but it - at least - contradicts their own old PR.

Im afraid that Stardock put a lot of money in it and someone got afraid of competition. So… legal issues appeared.
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March 20th, 2018, 15:34
I just get sad when disputes like these get in the way of a potentially good game. Perhaps at some point this will all get worked out, and we'll be the lucky recipients of a new game in that awesome universe.
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March 20th, 2018, 15:45
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Stardock bought the IP off Atari and brought the series back to life.
But did they? That's exactly why there's a legal dispute. Stardock *says* they bought the original IP, Fred and Paul say it reverted to them years ago.

Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Fred and Paul are just being wankers. If they wanted to bring this shit up it should have been with Atari years ago. They didn't care at all until recently.
So what? If I own the rights to something I can decide to enforce those rights whenever the hell I want. I don't think the laws surrounding IP are particularly sensible or good, but within the confines of those laws I don't see how Fred and Paul are the villains.

*They* are the original creators. If there's any moral authority over the IP (totally separate debate), I think they would have it. The fact they let Atari use it sometime in the last century doesn't mean they have no legal claim today.
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March 20th, 2018, 16:06
According to F+P, Atari never had the rights to the IP to begin with. They only owned the trademark to the name. Atari even confirmed this when asked. Stardock simply made a mistake and did not know what exactly they bought. Embarrassing but true.
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March 20th, 2018, 16:57
I'm confused why everyone else is blaming the creators of the IP… who are being bullied by a company that has no legal claim to the IP.
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March 21st, 2018, 01:38
Yeah… I'm definitely letting the judge deal with this mess. Wake me when it's over.
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March 21st, 2018, 02:30
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
I'm confused why everyone else is blaming the creators of the IP… who are being bullied by a company that has no legal claim to the IP.
Read both sides. It's not as clear defined as you think.
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March 21st, 2018, 04:08
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
So what? If I own the rights to something I can decide to enforce those rights whenever the hell I want.
Right, like a patent troll who sits and waits until all the work is done and money is being made then pulls out their law card and demands shitloads of money for doing nothing. It's a mockery of justice, imo.

Originally Posted by screeg
The fact they let Atari use it sometime in the last century doesn't mean they have no legal claim today.
They didn't just let Atari use it, they were paid by the publisher for it and were happy for Atari to OWN it. They showed no intention of wanting it back for 25 years. They could have bought it back from Atari at any time. Why would they? It sold poorly in 1992, very few people remember it. It's an undeserved honor to have a passionate team like Stardock working on a reboot and bringing the name to a whole new audience in a way F&P couldn't achieve themselves.

Sure, maybe F&P are shifty and thought they could use legal loopholes to save money and circumvent buying the trademarks back legitimately which is why they never made Atari or Infogrames or whoever held the rights in a given year an offer in the TWENTY-FIVE YEARS they had to do so but it still stinks of patent troll bullshit and it bothers me because Brad is a top bloke and one of the most ethical devs in the industry as he's proven year after year to anyone who frequents the Stardock forums and observed their transparent development, great community, compensation for bad games, etc.
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March 21st, 2018, 12:32
The problem is that they keep saying that Stardock doesn't have the rights, but they've presented no proof of that other than their word. And give me a break about consumer confusion. I'm an old school gamer that started on an Atari 2600 and I would guess the percentage of the game buying public that even knows the Star Control series exists is in the single digits. These are games that weren't even well known when released. I just thought they looked like knock offs of Starflight and skipped them until 10 or so years ago. At the end of the day it will have to go to court because one side or another will have to demonstrate ownership of the property to get a product out. It's a shame they couldn't work something out, but if Stardock does actually own the rights to Star Control, why should they work anything out?
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March 21st, 2018, 14:32
Stardock brought the trademark and the copyright(exists a question if Atari even had those to sell)

2011(before Atari sold copyright/trademark to Stardock) F&P contacted Good Old Games claiming Atari had no right to sell the games, Atari admitted after going to their legal department that they didn't have the legal right to sell those games because F&P owned the IP and Starcontrol 1/2 copyright.

THIS WAS BEFORE STARDOCKS INVOLVEMENT!

So we have already established by Atari themselves legal department BEFORE Stardocks involvement that the IP and copyright for Starcontrol 1/2 does not belong to Atari.

The Atari agreement does not give Stardock access to the IP or copyright for Starcontrol 1 or 2. It gave them trademark and copyright for starcontrol 3.
Tademarks are names(Starcontrol in this case)
Copyright is for specific software(Starcontrol 3).


Stardock are being asshats, at best they were ripped off by Atari, however since Stardock themselves have previously admitted that they don't own the IP and DIDN'T have the right to use the original races because they are IP owned by F&P, its pretty clear they knew exactly what they had brought. Now however they are attempting to claim they do own the IP.

Stardock is now claiming in a completely asshat and underhanded act that owning the Trademark for something should also give them control of the IP on the grounds the trademark holds good will/public recognition because it was built upon the IP.

Further anyone interested in what scum stardock CEO is should google Stardock sexual harassment and see what he was willing to do to force the women drop the charges.

The guy is a slimeball and take that into account and read the actual filing.

https://www.scribd.com/document/3721…ord#from_embed
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March 21st, 2018, 14:46
Oh yay. Unsubstantiated harassment charges. Very original. Those are getting so ridiculous now it's offensive to actual victims.

Well in the matter of IP… everybody pays the lawyers and someone gets to keep the IP. Lawyers children need to eat too

Why dont they both make their games. We will buy them both anyway.
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