Brad Wardell of Stardock is making legal trouble for the original creators of Star Control (settled)

Sander VF

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
7,046
Tbilisi, Georgia
The depth of this franchise's lore amazed me when I read about many months back. I hope the creative walks away with the world and Wardell is stuck with a mere husk of a name.
 

garion333

Member
Oct 27, 2017
930
The depth of this franchise's lore amazed me when I read about many months back. I hope the creative walks away with the world and Wardell is stuck with a mere husk of a name.
That's actually the most likely scenario. Stardock can use the name Star Control and any new races from Star Control 3 but can't use any of the original races. Those original races are what got Stardock into truly hot water when they released the Arilou as DLC. Hubris.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
That's actually the most likely scenario. Stardock can use the name Star Control and any new races from Star Control 3 but can't use any of the original races. Those original races are what got Stardock into truly hot water when they released the Arilou as DLC. Hubris.
Yeah, and it's also what technically happened when they bought the TM. They're allowed to use any new gameplay elements or characters from SC3, and there were enough there to use that they could've avoided the new copyright claims.

I know they were hedging their bets in pushing the Arilou/Chenjesu DLC, but when they expressly requested permission and then were denied, you have to wonder what on earth led them to believe they'd get away with it (or that it would work in their favour).
 

Armaros

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,123
Yeah, and it's also what technically happened when they bought the TM. They're allowed to use any new gameplay elements or characters from SC3, and there were enough there to use that they could've avoided the new copyright claims.

I know they were hedging their bets in pushing the Arilou/Chenjesu DLC, but when they expressly requested permission and then were denied, you have to wonder what on earth led them to believe they'd get away with it (or that it would work in their favour).
They almost outright said they believed that the copyright holders didnt have the money to sue them, and that Brad and Stardock would push through this because of that.

So now that they are sued, they are using a PR campagin to get them to back off.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
PS. There's an update to the Polygon article. Pretty big update, in fact:
Update (Jan. 30): Stephen C. Steinberg, a lawyer representing Fred Ford and Paul Reiche, strongly defended his clients’ use of the DMCA claims process. He also points out that the U.S. district court judge Saundra Brown Armstrong does as well.

Late in 2018, Stardock requested an injunction from the court that would have prevented Ford and Reiche from filing a DMCA claim. Judge Brown denied that request, calling Stardock’s objections “frivolous” and pointing out that its CEO, Brad Wardell, “lacks the expertise necessary to opine as to what constitutes ‘copyrightable artwork.’”

“Valve and GOG initially took the game down in response [to my client’s DMCA claims],” Steinberg told Polygon, “but then put it back up after Stardock confirmed it will indemnify Valve and GOG from any liability in the case.”

Letters sent by Stardock to Valve and GOG, one of which is signed by Wardell, indicate that the software developer and publisher has volunteered to secure the marketplaces against legal liability in this instance.

“We dispute Stardock’s claim in the litigation that Reiche and Ford’s DMCA notices were fraudulent and Mr. Wardell’s characterization of such notices as “DMCA abuse,” Steinberg continued, “which seem to ignore the Court’s order denying Stardock’s motion.”
So the reason they're back on GOG and Valve is that Stardock have stated they'll cop all legal ramifications of them making the game available for sale again. Which I'm sure isn't purely just sales made during that time (because that would be a pittance) but also some other damages as well, I'd assume.
 

Gattsu25

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,448
PS. There's an update to the Polygon article. Pretty big update, in fact:

So the reason they're back on GOG and Valve is that Stardock have stated they'll cop all legal ramifications of them making the game available for sale again. Which I'm sure isn't purely just sales made during that time (because that would be a pittance) but also some other damages as well, I'd assume.
Wooooooooow


I'm just guessing here but it almost looks like he's using the game sales to fund his legal fight. So no clue why GOG/Valve think he has the cash at hand to cover their legal fees.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
Wooooooooow


I'm just guessing here but it almost looks like he's using the game sales to fund his legal fight. So no clue why GOG/Valve think he has the cash at hand to cover their legal fees.
What sales? There's basically none, so I don't know where the hell the money will come from (assuming they lose, which is highly likely).

Can anyone correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that if Paul and Fred sue GOG and Valve for selling the game when they shouldn't (and they win), that any legal costs as well as penalties as a result of the lawsuit have to be covered by Stardick? Pretty sure it does.
 

Gattsu25

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,448
What sales? There's basically none, so I don't know where the hell the money will come from (assuming they lose, which is highly likely).

Can anyone correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that if Paul and Fred sue GOG and Valve for selling the game when they shouldn't (and they win), that any legal costs as well as penalties as a result of the lawsuit have to be covered by Stardick? Pretty sure it does.
Well, he just wrapped up a Humble Bundle promotion (I'm sure that counts for at least few hours of legal representation costs) but I agree with your point.

Regarding your question, seems that way.
 

chrominance

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,285
The letter from Stardock isn't just a claim of "hey we'll cover your legal exposure here." They appear to be claiming that the original DMCA takedown notice isn't specific about what material is infringing and what that material infringes on, and thus the DMCA notice isn't valid. Whether this holds up in a legal sense, I have no idea; the original DMCA notice does note the works considered to be infringing (Star Control: Origins) and what works they are considered to infringe on (SC1 and SC2).

Caveat: I am not even close to being a lawyer.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
Someone mentioned this on the subreddit, and it seems to make the most sense (in relation to this latest update):
It's not clear in my own mind whether or not that's realistically allowed under the law -- but to the extent that it is, it means all financial penalties and debts incurred by Valve related to SC:O are the responsibility of Stardock.
Sounds about right?
 

garion333

Member
Oct 27, 2017
930
Indemnification agreements are common, especially in construction where you have an Owner, a General Contractor and subcontractors. There the shit trickles downhill and a bad indemnity agreement can have a subcontractor taking the fall for something they didn't directly cause.

Anyway, if the indemnification Stardock worked out with GOG and Steam is legal, and I'm sure it is otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to it, then Stardock is going to be on the hook for all sorts of things, almost assuredly including attorney fees.
 

Adnor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,498
So when Wardell was talking on twitter of the game being up again like it was a big win, he was full of shit?
 

xylo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
70
I guess I'm not too surprised that the takedown and restore story is a bit skewed, much like I suspected? I hope the Polygon author is a bit more diligent in the future.
 

garion333

Member
Oct 27, 2017
930
So when Wardell was talking on twitter of the game being up again like it was a big win, he was full of shit?
The guy thanked people who used the #FreeStarControl hashtag for supporting them, etc. It was one guy posting once using that hashtag before Brad himself used it a couple times.

All he has anymore is bravado.
 

neoak

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,458
Well, he just wrapped up a Humble Bundle promotion (I'm sure that counts for at least few hours of legal representation costs) but I agree with your point.

Regarding your question, seems that way.
You mean the humble bundle where people could chose to give everyone money but Stardock?
 

Weltall Zero

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Oct 26, 2017
9,256
Madrid

xylo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
70
Does anyone? What happened to GOG being on his side?
I'm not certain that GOG is on anyone's side really. Right now it seems that there primary concern is two fold:
  1. Getting the charge of fraud leveled at them by F&P dismissed
  2. Extracting themselves as quickly as possible from the area (case) as nobody wants to stand next to the fan as people throw piles of shit into it.
Point 1 is the real reason they are in the "everyone for themselves" because if that charge is true, it makes them liable for many of the infringement charges, while at the same time basically torpedos a large chunk of Stardock's case against F&P.

Point 2 is just an in general thing.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
I'm not certain that GOG is on anyone's side really. Right now it seems that there primary concern is two fold:
  1. Getting the charge of fraud leveled at them by F&P dismissed
  2. Extracting themselves as quickly as possible from the area (case) as nobody wants to stand next to the fan as people throw piles of shit into it.
Point 1 is the real reason they are in the "everyone for themselves" because if that charge is true, it makes them liable for many of the infringement charges, while at the same time basically torpedos a large chunk of Stardock's case against F&P.

Point 2 is just an in general thing.
Oh, my point was that he claimed everyone was on his "side" when in reality Stardock just claimed responsibility for all costs incurred by Valve and GOG.
 

xylo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
70
Oh, my point was that he claimed everyone was on his "side" when in reality Stardock just claimed responsibility for all costs incurred by Valve and GOG.
Oh that. Yeah I think it may be safe to just ignore anything Brad says unless others provide supporting evidence. Seems to quite frequently say misleading (or at worse untrue) things very often. What a mess really.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
Oh that. Yeah I think it may be safe to just ignore anything Brad says unless others provide supporting evidence. Seems to quite frequently say misleading (or at worse untrue) things very often. What a mess really.
Yep, definitely intentionally misleading. "Oh, I said this but how you choose to interpret it was entirely your fault!"
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
An update from Paul and Fred!
to their Twitter feed, lols

They're obviously still great friends with Greg, so much so that both Paul and Fred's names appear in the credits for the new TJ&E game as backers. I would not be upset if TJ, E or Funkotron make some kind of an insignificant appearance in GotP.
 

doctorcdcs

Member
Oct 25, 2017
385
According to Anatoly Shashkin (DOSNostalgia), both parties might be settling:



Taken from Twitter Feed post itself:

"Latest in Star Control lawsuit: parties are going to settle "
 

Herr Starr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
313
Norway
Now watch as Wardell takes a big loss in the settlement and tries to play it off as him "being tired of Star Control" and that he "doesn't want to make more Star Control games anyway," as if he's being magnanimous.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,908
Well, that is a bummer. Wardell always seems to strong-arm people into settling. Hopefully he doesn't come out of the settlement on top.
 

Dandy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,090
At this point I think it's safe to say that Star Control: Origins was a flop, right?
 

xylo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
70
On the 14th, two of Stardock's complaints were dismissed and the deadline to amend to try and get them reinstated was today. I don't see anything on the docket yet so if they didn't file they are dismissed with prejudice. (Those two claims for were based on California Common Law Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage and California Common Law Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations). On the same day GOG's motion to dismiss was also denied (this was the Fraud claim in the in the collection of clams (Copyright Infringement, Fraud, Breach of Contract, Contributory Copyright Infringement, and Vicarious Copyright Infringement.))

Next few days we have some big looming deadlines, all culminating on the end of discovery this coming Monday (moved from tomorrow). Going to be interesting to see how this lands, but yeah I would suspect that Stardock's lawyers are may be recommending them to settle.
 

xylo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
70
Another delay requested (and probably granted) -- I haven't seen if the stipulation/order was signed but it looks like it was. Friday now...

Stardock, Valve, GOG, and Reiche/Ford wish to further delay the aforementioned deadlines to file amended pleadings and responsive pleadings and serve discovery responses from June 3 to June 7, 2019, to allow for continued settlement negotiations.
  1. Stardock shall have up to and until June 7, 2019 to file a Fourth Amended Complaint.
  2. GOG shall have up to and until June 7, 2019 to file a responsive pleading to Counter-Defendants’ Second Amended Counterclaim.
  3. Stardock, Valve, GOG, and Reiche/Ford Valve shall have up to and until June 7, 2019 to respond to the aforementioned discovery.
  4. The Close of Written Fact Discovery shall be moved from June 3 to June 7, 2019.
 

Herr Starr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
313
Norway
The latest news seem to indicate that some kind of settlement has been reached, but we don't have any details yet apart from F&P apparently no longer disputing Stardock's ownership of the Star Control trademark. That is as expected however, so it doesn't tell us much.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
The latest news seem to indicate that some kind of settlement has been reached, but we don't have any details yet apart from F&P apparently no longer disputing Stardock's ownership of the Star Control trademark. That is as expected however, so it doesn't tell us much.
There's a lot of info on the subreddit, but the most concise points/discussion I can seem to find is here on quartertothree.com. At least for now.
 

Shaneus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
Great news!!
An Unexpected Message from Deep Space!
June 08, 2019

Stardock® and Frungy Games™ (Fred and Paul) are happy and relieved to announce that all parties have settled their disputes amicably and in a way where the fans of Star Control® and The Ur-Quan Masters™ are the biggest winners. Stay tuned to Channel 44 for more details next week from the E3 floor!
So we might even see an official announcement of GotP at E3? That would be the biggest megaton ever.
 

Almighty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,116
Hopefully, the settlement ends up being whatever the legal equivalent of telling Brad/Stardock to go pound sand is.