Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

This past week, Activision executives, Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford sent DMCA notices to Steam and GOG demanding the removal of Star Control: Origins on the grounds that Star Control: Origins violates unspecified copyrights of theirs.

Finally, after many months of requesting from them what, specifically, in our game that they they believe they own they finally posted a table outlining their justification for taking down our game.

For those not familiar with copyright, here is a really simple outline of what copyright covers and doesn't cover.

The table is right from their website.  Our comments are next to it.

Next time you play a game, any game, consider how many ideas in it appeared in other games.  For the record, Star Control: Origins is not a clone of Star Control II.  For obviously reasons, it's a 25 year old game and as we have stated countless times, it wasn't commercially viable to continue that story.  We were interested in licensing the ships from Star Control II to include in Fleet Battles but they declined to so we didn't include them.   But even if it were a "Clone" of the gameplay of Star Control II, that doesn't fall under copyright protection. See here for more information on that.

So at long last, the meat of their complaint.  They think they own the ideas listed.  

 

UPDATE: No, we did not make up this chart.  You can find their chart here.  These are their claims and words. We have not edited their claims.

 

As a reminder, this table was made by Reiche and Ford.  Not us.  We aren't putting words in their mouths here.  This is what they actually believe.  This is their justification for filing a DMCA to take down a shipping game.

As for their argument that game ideas count as expressions and can be copyrighted, the copyright office already admonished them for this erroneous misinterpretation.

 

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 03, 2019

I'm just gonna put here these statements made by mister Fred Ford in regards to the music of Star Control II.

: How was the music gathered and placed into the game? Were Dan
: Nicholson, Riku Nuottojarvi, et al. commissioned to provide music?
: Are they known to you personally?
Believe it or not we have never met Dan or Riku face to face. We have only dealt with them electronically. The music is an interesting story. As we hurtled toward
our finish date, we realized that we had all these alien races and not only no music for them but no budget (understandable given my previous posts). That's when we came up with a desperate gambit. We would hold a MOD music contest over the internet with a $500 first prize and many $50 second place prizes. We probably got about ten different MOD artists who submitted MODs (two of them were Riku and Dan and, in fact, Star Control II is what brought them together). We used most of the MODs that we got, but Riku and Dan demonstrated the talent and willingness to do additional pieces for us as well.

Source

: I was wondering if you'd mind me putting my own version of your song on the CD... And secondly, I was wondering if I could put the 3DO version of the Hyperspace theme on the next project of mine, a remix CD.
TFB has no problem with your using the songs, but I don't know if that carries much weight. We told the various musicians who did work for the game that we would license the use of that music only for the game. So ultimately the owner of the music would be the writer who, in this case, is Riku. If you are selling the CD there may be some legal ramifications. If not, it's probably no big deal, but you probably should check.
The 3DO remix was done by a fellow named Burke Treischmann who is a really nice guy. He probably wouldn't mind although, again, I don't really know if his O.K. is the ultimate O.K. I would suspect that Riku would still be the potential stumbling block.

Source

on Jan 03, 2019

People actually are accusing me of making up this chart.  "No one is that ignorant on copyright".   

on Jan 03, 2019

I updated the chart.  Not only is everything on that list uncopyrightable, it turns out Paul & Fred stole most of their "unique design elements" from an older game called StarFlight.

Updated chart is here.

 

 

 

on Jan 03, 2019

Frogboy

People actually are accusing me of making up this chart.  "No one is that ignorant on copyright".   


I used to think that people can't be that dumb, that ignorant, or that foolish. Its a myth I had that was dispelled long ago.

on Jan 03, 2019

You're ignoring the bigger picture: while individual aspects are clearly not eligible for copyright in and of themselves, the broader "Look and Feel" is (debatably/potentially) copyrightable: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_and_feel#Lawsuits

This is hardly the first time a software company has faced a copyright claim on the grounds of "look and feel" either. From that Wikipedia link: "Apple Computer was notable for its use of the term look and feel in reference to their Mac OS operating system. The firm tried, with some success, to block other software developers from creating software that had a similar look and feel. Apple argued that they had a copyright claim on the look and feel of their software, and even went so far as to sue Microsoft, alleging that the Windows operating system was illegally copying their look and feel."

I'm not saying that P&F's claim has merits! Just that you're arguing it on the wrong level.

You can't break the claim down to it's component pieces and evaluate those separately: you have to look at the work as a whole.  It's similar to what P&F said in their blog post, you can't copyright words, but you can copyright "Dune". You can't copyright "the color red", but you might be able to copyright "a place called hyperspace, which is colored red, has occasional streaks of light, and uses holes to denote visit-able worlds"

on Jan 03, 2019

Sad, just plain sad. Think it stems from Fred/Paul ego more than anything.  But I do believe Stardock was fishing for consent and licenses for IP for a reason. but still, can't believe the crap P/F pulled.

 

I really wish there wasn't so much politics(and IP laws) in getting a game made. Creating some new is always based on old and existing.

on Jan 03, 2019

GMOrz

You're ignoring the bigger picture: while individual aspects are clearly not eligible for copyright in and of themselves, the broader "Look and Feel" is (debatably/potentially) copyrightable: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_and_feel#Lawsuits

This is hardly the first time a software company has faced a copyright claim on the grounds of "look and feel" either. From that Wikipedia link: "Apple Computer was notable for its use of the term look and feel in reference to their Mac OS operating system. The firm tried, with some success, to block other software developers from creating software that had a similar look and feel. Apple argued that they had a copyright claim on the look and feel of their software, and even went so far as to sue Microsoft, alleging that the Windows operating system was illegally copying their look and feel."

I'm not saying that P&F's claim has merits! Just that you're arguing it on the wrong level.

You can't break the claim down to it's component pieces and evaluate those separately: you have to look at the work as a whole.  It's similar to what P&F said in their blog post, you can't copyright words, but you can copyright "Dune". You can't copyright "the color red", but you might be able to copyright "a place called hyperspace, which is colored red, has occasional streaks of light, and uses holes to denote visit-able worlds"

Do you have any idea how many Harry Potter clones books are out there with just a few changes?  SCO is not a clone of SC2 but even if it were, it's obviously a very different game experience.

 

on Jan 03, 2019

There is an error in the comments in red.  The bottom one is pointing to the wrong section.  It should be pointing to the section next to the bottom, which is the one about running out of fuel.

Otherwise I agree with all the comments in red.

on Jan 03, 2019

I should also point out that our camera view isn't top-down. It's slightly isometric.  Not that it matters.

on Jan 03, 2019

The first ship named Vindicator: http://military.wikia.com/wiki/USS_Vindicator_(1863)

Someone's gonna need a time machine to sue them. 

on Jan 03, 2019

GMOrz

but you might be able to copyright "a place called hyperspace, which is colored red, has occasional streaks of light, and uses holes to denote visit-able worlds"

If [that's "IF"] you could it very definitely would NOT be Paul and Fred's.  Science Fiction existed before they were born...and before their parents were born....etc.

 "Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, first published between 1942 and 1944 in Astounding, featured a Galactic Empire traversed through hyperspace. Asimov's short story Little Lost Robot (1947) features a "Hyperatomic Drive" shortened to "Hyperdrive" and observes that "fooling around with hyper-space isn't fun"."

Yes, it's Wiki .... but I read the Foundation Trilogy about a quarter century before P&F were involved with Star Control.

....and Asimov's wasn't the first use of the term.

on Jan 03, 2019

IMO, based on what I'm seeing, they just TORPEDOED themselves.  They torpedoed themselves so badly people initially believed that Brad made it up, because the claims are impossibly stupid.  People previously defending them are backing off.  (Though there are a few die hards complaining).

Good news for Stardock.  When you try to say "We own red hyperspace" law will laugh at you.

on Jan 03, 2019


You be the judge. 

If only you had multiplied your coordinate system by 10, all of this could have been avoided.  But you used A DECIMAL POINT.   How do you even sleep at night???  [e digicons][/e]    

on Jan 03, 2019

Frogboy

Do you have any idea how many Harry Potter clones books are out there with just a few changes?  SCO is not a clone of SC2 but even if it were, it's obviously a very different game experience.

Do you have any idea how many of those have faced legal action, and either settled out of court or been barred from sale in the US? You might want to choose an example that doesn't involve "prohibiting the [fan's] use of “any names, places or objects from the series”"

(Hmmm, prohibiting the use of names, places, and objects, why does that sound familiar...)

on Jan 03, 2019

Is this the Tywom-Mu'Kay trial?

"They have accused both the StarWars and us of doing things they do themselves."