Star Control: Origins

Star Control: Origins

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Draginol  [developer] Dec 31, 2018 @ 1:44pm
Star Control: Origins will be coming down
We have received news today that Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, the designers on the classic DOS game, Star Control 2 for Accolade have issued a DMCA take down notice to Valve to take down Star Control: Origins.

https://www.screencast.com/t/mODt766t162 (this is the one sent to GOG)

As some of you may know, there is a legal dispute between Stardock and Reiche and Ford regarding the trademarks and copyrights pertaining to Star Control.

You can read the history here:
https://www.stardock.com/games/starcontrol/article/487690/qa-regarding-star-control-and-paul-and-fred

Unfortunately, rather than relying on the legal system to resolve this, they have chosen to bypass it by issuing vague DMCA take-down notices to Steam and GOG (who, btw, Reiche and Ford are suing using GoFundMe money).

Steam and GOG both have a policy of taking down content that receive DMCA notices regardless of the merits of the claims.

We attempted to get a preliminary art injunction to prevent them from issuing more false DMCA take down notices. Unfortunately, the court ruled that it wasn’t the courts place to intervene in the area of DMCAs. Thus, here we are.

To my knowledge, never in the history of our industry has anyone attempted to use the DMCA system to take down a shipping game before. For example, when PubG sued Fortnite for copyright infringement, they didn't try to take Fortnite down with a DMCA notice.

For those not familiar with copyright law, you CANNOT copyright ideas, individual or short phrases, concepts, mechanics, game designs, etc.

Star Control: Origins is our own creation without relying on the work of Reiche or Ford. We spent 5 years working on it making it our own game. It very much plays like you would expect a Star Control game. But that has nothing to do with copyright. It has its own story, setting, plot, and all new characters. It exists in an entirely new universe.

That said, time and time again we have requested, specifically, what elements in Star Control:Origins they think their cooyright applies to. If the request wasn’t onerous, we’d be willing to comply. We have routinely done this in other games such as Galactic Civilizations where we were asked to cha be a tech name from “space marines” to something else.

Prior to release, Stardock redesigned the earth ship to appease Reiche and Ford as well as made sure none of the characters you run into were similar to what was in SC2. To date, no specific demands have been made to us.

Stardock, for the record, owns the trademark to Star Control and the copyright to Star Control 3. Even if Reiche and Ford could demonstrate they own the copyrights to SC2, that has nothing to do with us or our game. Anyone who has played the game can, we hope, attest to this.

Valve assures us that anyone who has already bought the game should be able to continue to play it.

Unfortunately, without the income from Star Control: Origins, Stardock will have to lay off some of the men and women who are assigned to the game.

We will do our very best to continue to support the game and hopefully Star Control: Origins will return as soon as possible.
Last edited by Draginol; Jan 1, 2019 @ 2:47pm
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Showing 1-15 of 97 comments
ok boomer Dec 31, 2018 @ 1:57pm 
The ♥♥♥♥? What a douche move. Hope you can get this sorted quickly. Good luck Brad
l-xXx-l Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:11pm 
thanks for info, good luck!
l-xXx-l Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:15pm 
any info about season pass dlc's?what will happen with them?
Draginol  [developer] Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:16pm 
Originally posted by l-xXx-l:
any info about season pass dlc's?what will happen with them?

We will have to potentially find an alternative way to distribute them.
Jon Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:27pm 
Can't you file a counter-claim? Then there's 14 days for the content to be put back up (original takedown cancelled), or a lawsuit must be filed to keep it down.
The King of Pants Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:28pm 
I hope your legal team is ready to rock on those two losers. Pulling a move like this over the holidays is ♥♥♥♥-tier.
Varaka Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:40pm 
This is a problem of your own creation. You knew this would happen and released content you didn't secure the rights to regardless. They are within their rights to do this.
Madjoki Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:41pm 
Originally posted by Jon:
Can't you file a counter-claim? Then there's 14 days for the content to be put back up (original takedown cancelled), or a lawsuit must be filed to keep it down.

Lawsuit is already filed.

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6239751/stardock-systems-inc-v-paul-reiche-iii/
Last edited by Madjoki; Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:43pm
The King of Pants Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:54pm 
Originally posted by Varaka:
This is a problem of your own creation. You knew this would happen and released content you didn't secure the rights to regardless. They are within their rights to do this.

Digital Millenium COPYRIGHT Act

Can you point me to the material in SC:O that infringes on those two losers' copyrights ?
Draginol  [developer] Dec 31, 2018 @ 2:58pm 
Originally posted by Jon:
Can't you file a counter-claim? Then there's 14 days for the content to be put back up (original takedown cancelled), or a lawsuit must be filed to keep it down.

We can. But ultimately, it's up to Valve to decide if they want to be involved. Their normal procedure is to just remove the content.

To my knowledge, no one has ever tried to DMCA an actual shipping game. We are in uncharted territory.
Madjoki Dec 31, 2018 @ 3:00pm 
Originally posted by Draginol:
Originally posted by Jon:
Can't you file a counter-claim? Then there's 14 days for the content to be put back up (original takedown cancelled), or a lawsuit must be filed to keep it down.

We can. But ultimately, it's up to Valve to decide if they want to be involved. Their normal procedure is to just remove the content.

To my knowledge, no one has ever tried to DMCA an actual shipping game. We are in uncharted territory.

Many games have been like:

- Orion taken down by Activision
- River City by Alex Mauer

and many others that aren't worth naming.
Draginol  [developer] Dec 31, 2018 @ 3:01pm 
Originally posted by Varaka:
This is a problem of your own creation. You knew this would happen and released content you didn't secure the rights to regardless. They are within their rights to do this.

You obviously aren't familiar with Star Control: Origins.

There is nothing in SCO from SC2.

We still don't, to this day, know precisely what they think they have rights to in Star Control: Origins. We own the trademarks to Star Control relating to the classic series and the copyright to SC3.

If you believe that it's ok to bypass the legal process to issue DMCA's based on mere allegations made at the 11th hour then that's really on you.
Varaka Dec 31, 2018 @ 3:04pm 
Originally posted by The King of Pants:
Originally posted by Varaka:
This is a problem of your own creation. You knew this would happen and released content you didn't secure the rights to regardless. They are within their rights to do this.

Digital Millenium COPYRIGHT Act

Can you point me to the material in SC:O that infringes on those two losers' copyrights ?

From what I've read up on Stardock really only owns the Star Control name so all the races from those two games are still owned by those two and thus SC:O is infriging on their copyright bby using them. I really encourage you to read up on the whole case. It's pretty interesting. Reminds me of the whole Battletech/HG situation.
Cutterjohn Dec 31, 2018 @ 3:05pm 
I just found out about this, and if I were to guess, Paulk & co. are hoping for a handout from stardock to go away... end/or IF they do manage to make a new game in their elderly dotage they're getting free publicity although to my mind, it's incredibly negative, although what's the saying about publicity? all publicity is 'good' publicity?

While I was NEVER really a fan of starcontrol I might just have to pick this up when it comes back...
Tanaric Dec 31, 2018 @ 3:06pm 
I mean, the DMCA is part of the legal process.

It's a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ legal process, and it sucks that this is happening, but it makes your argument weaker when you say "bypass the legal process."
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Date Posted: Dec 31, 2018 @ 1:44pm
Posts: 97