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Star Control: Origins Removed from Stores after DMCA claims

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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  2. rl66

    rl66 Ancient Guru

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    So reading at your news, it will end like what Diablo 3 should have been (not the released one) with a name changed, or with money given to release it after that the lawyers from both part have met (and get their money too of course).

    About copyright it depend on where you are... sadly you can copyright a product in a country but as it isn't copyrighted in another part of the world, then you can have copy that were made in the legal way and fraud sale in your country of the same production...
    Exemple: When i was young a friend have done a video game copyrighted the name and in the 90' a famous company from USA sue him for having used a name used by a studio they have bought on their product. It end up with money lost in lawyer wallet to have this conclusion: both are in their right.

    It's for that it is so hard that you have to get a specialist when you do it.
     
  3. Size_Mick

    Size_Mick Master Guru

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    I don't know who's legally in the right, but I'm on Fred and Paul's side. They made some cool games back in the day.
     
  4. Fender178

    Fender178 Ancient Guru

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    Here is a Video talking about this very thing.
     

  5. RealNC

    RealNC Ancient Guru

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    This looks like what the DMCA was actually made for? It wasn't intended as a tool to take down negative reviews of your games. It was rather made for cases like this, right?
     
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  6. S V S

    S V S Member

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    The issue is that the way the DMCA was used here effectively removed the game from the marketplace until the litigation over the rights dispute is resolved based on a mere allegation of belief that the game may contain infringing material.

    The party that filed the DMCA notice did not need to identify what infringing material is in the game, what copyright is being infringed, etc. There is no method provided by the DMCA to restore the game because the two parties involved are already in litigation over the rights. This is effectively an injunction on the sale of the game without actually needing to even identify what is being infringed and no opportunity to bring the game back to market until the dispute is fully litigated. That is a severe financial penalty on the developer based on nothing more than an allegation.

    If you enjoy playing video games, you should be concerned by what was done here. It represents a substantial threat to game development companies as any right holder could make baseless demands backed with the thread of a DMCA take down at launch and only the most deep-pocketed of developers could afford to ignore the threat.

    Below is a link to a more lawyerly video on specifically the DMCA aspects. The video posted above appears to be more entertainment level of quality, although I don't understand who finds it entertaining since the bloke just reads court filings.

     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  7. RealNC

    RealNC Ancient Guru

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    Which is what the DMCA was made for, I think. I remember when the DMCA was first proposed (replacing a previous proposal that was even worse.) People said back then that this allows people to take down things without going through the law first, or without giving exact reasons in the DMCA claim. It would allow a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to filing copyright infringement take-downs. It removes the "innocent until proven guilty" protection and converts it into "guilty until proven innocent." The burden of proof is now on the accused. If you get accused, your work gets taken down and it's up to you to prove that the DMCA filing doesn't contain correct information and that you didn't infringe on somebody's copyright.

    People all over the internet were shouting this fact loudly and clearly back then, and that the DMCA is a joke made into law because of the control the film and music industry has over corrupt politicians.

    So to me it seems this is exactly what the DMCA is there for. Note: I'm not saying the DMCA is a good thing. I'm just saying this is what it allows people to do by design.
     
  8. S V S

    S V S Member

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    Hi RealNC,

    I think there is a distinction to be drawn between what is allowed under the law and what is advisable, or societal beneficial, behavior. There is another distinction to be made between the fact the right holder was able to remove the game using the DMCA notice process and whether the right holder properly used the DMCA and will eventually be found liable for damages. Unfortunately, the fact that the right holder may eventually be held to account for improper use is little comfort from the potentially chilling effects of what was done. Indeed, going forward in the game industry, the mere threat to file a DMCA notice at a games launch will have such potentially ruinous financial impact that development studios will have no choice but to cave to the most unreasonable of demands. That is bad for gamers. Never mind the financial impact against the studio here who at this point has not been shown to be guilty of any infringement.

    A little more information on how the DMCA notice system was used here and how it differs from the spirit and intent of the law:

    1. The parties here are already in litigation over the disputed rights used to file the take down. The intent of the DMCA was to 1) shield service providers from liability for mass copyright infringement and 2) to provide right holders recourse to remove infringing content without resorting to the expensive court system.

    Here, the parties already are in the expensive court system debating the ownership/infringement pf rights related to the DMCA notice.

    2. Another issue with the use of the DMCA notice process here is that the DMCA was not originally intended to be a mechanism to remove content with no ability to restore it absent fully litigating a dispute, indeed the unifying principal was providing a framework to address infringement without requiring expensive litigation. Unfortunately, there is a clause in Section 512 of the DMCA that states service providers may lose their liability shield if the provider restores content after receiving a counter notice from the subscriber *if* the provider is made aware that the right holder is seeking a court order to restrain the subscriber from the infringing activity (e.g. a preliminary injunction).

    (C) replaces the removed material and ceases disabling access to it not less than 10, nor more than 14, business days following receipt of the counter notice, unless its designated agent first receives notice from the person who submitted the notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) that such person has filed an action seeking a court order to restrain the subscriber from engaging in infringing activity relating to the material on the service provider’s system or network

    The intent behind this clause was that a right holder could file a notice to remove alleged infringing content and if the subscriber filed a counter notice challenging the right holder's infringement claims the content would be restored, leaving the right holder with the requirement of filing a lawsuit to obtain an order restraining the infringing action, like a preliminary injunction. The service provider knowing the right holder is planning on filing litigation to restrain the infringement via a court order then may lose their liability shield if they restore the content. Combined with the DMCA notice process providing service providers zero incentive to take any action that might result in liability, all service providers will simply never restore the content - even if the right holder isn't actively trying to restrain the infringement NOW via a court order like a preliminary injunction. The service provider never has an incentive to question the right holder's claim that they are seeking such an order because the service provider is not liable to the subscriber even if the right holder filed a fraudulent notice or improperly claimed they were attempting to obtain an order to restrain the infringement. The subscriber's only recourse to address the potentially improper use of the DMCA notice process is to fully litigate the issue against the right holder.

    I hope I at least sort of helped draw the distinction between being able to use the DMCA process to take down this game versus the question of whether the use of the DMCA process here was proper.

    The cause for concern for us gamers, and the game industry in general, is that if a party abuses the DMCA notice system against a launched game, as things stand right now - it appears the only method to rectify the abuse is to fully litigate, a process that can take years and hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, and the entire time the content remains out of the market.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  9. Fender178

    Fender178 Ancient Guru

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    After watching the video that I have posted. I am on the side of the defendants because the Plaintiff used stuff in the new game that he didn't have the rights to and then tried to blame the DMCA for it. The Judge put him in his place.
     
  10. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    I see something there. Original License agreement considers Reiche and Ford as default owners and they should be paid $1000 every year as license fee.

    As long as those payments go on, license would allow Accolade to release Star Control Games with their "IP content".
    When Atari got Accolade and continued payment, they effectively kept license. But as they did stop later, they lost license even for 1st 2 games.

    When Stardock got Star Control "license" from Atari, they already did not own license. Therefore Stardock paid for thin air. And considering amount of money ($300,000) Stardock paid, they could very likely obtain full IP from Reiche and Ford.
     
  11. Size_Mick

    Size_Mick Master Guru

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    Not to derail the thread or anything, but has everyone here played The Ur-Quan Masters? It's a free version of Star Control 2, based on the 3DO version of the game.

    http://sc2.sourceforge.net/
     

  12. Fender178

    Fender178 Ancient Guru

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    From my understanding what Stardock got when they paid the $300k they got the original code that was used in the games and that is it. As you pointed out they did not get the actual license for the character types and the lore that went with it. StarDock only got a small piece of the puzzle at the end of the day. Yeah they could get the full license for the full IP but they tried to get Reiche and Ford involved but they were not interested.
     
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  13. TheSarge

    TheSarge Master Guru

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    The DMCA just encourages copyright trolls like Reiche and Ford to harass legitimate content creators and hold them hostage for money. Congress needs to amend it or repeal it. The only people who profit from the current regime are lawyers and big-money corporate entities like the RIAA and the MPAA. Everyone else is getting the shaft, often from the same people who are getting shafted by other shafted persons. It's insanity.
     
  14. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    According to your: "The only people who profit..." statement, Reiche and Ford are ones of following: "lawyers and big-money corporate entities like the RIAA and the MPAA".

    Depending on exact wording on original license agreement with Accolade, there is good chance that Stardock has absolutely no rights to the material they used.
     
  15. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB Maha Guru

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    Though this is a bit off topic, i did some searching regarding the series since I liked SC2 way back in the day yet didn't recall a Star Control 3 being released. Most video games ive come across over the decades will have similarities here and there with other games in the genre, but when i saw the following video i just about fell out of my chair.




    Sound familiar? If someone wanted to file a lawsuit, it should be against Bioware.


    edit\

    A bit more research discovered that both games ripped off a book called "revelation space".


     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  16. Fender178

    Fender178 Ancient Guru

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    The people are Stardock are not legitimate content creators in this case because they used material they didn't have the rights to. If they stuck to their original plan to create a game that had nothing to do with the 1st 2 games in this series then you may had in argument about them being legit.
     

  17. Annex

    Annex Member

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    All the playable races in their game are new creations. Its thus Star Control in name only, which is what they purchased (the trademark). When Paul and Fred announced their new game in the press release they used the Star Control trademark that they no longer owned to promote it. This is what started the lawsuits
     
  18. vidra

    vidra Ancient Guru

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    What a bunch of money-hungry scum! I hope my already purchased game will not be affected.
     
  19. TheSarge

    TheSarge Master Guru

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    And that's why I called them copyright trolls: They know they don't have a legitimate copyright claim but under DMCA rules they can claim that they do anyways. The same thing happens on YouTube all the time: People get their content taken down by Google with no explanation becasue some troll fired off a bogus DMCA notice that Google rubberstamped without even trying to investigate. Then it's up to the person that had their content removed to prove their innocence if they want the take-down to be reversed. So much for presumption of innocence. This is what we get when we let corporations run things.
     

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