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DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite

The Stardock Forums reproduce a DMCA takedown notice submitted by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford against Star Control: Origins, which results in the space strategy game no longer being sold on Steam or GOG.com. Ford and Reiche designed the original Star Control, and though Stardock acquired rights to the game from Atari back in 2013, questions surfaced almost immediately about what aspects of the series they do and do not own. Around a year ago Ford and Reiche raised their first legal objection to Stardock's continuation of the series, leading to lawsuits flying back and forth. The last we heard of this the pair was collecting for a legal fund, so further legal action should be no surprise. Here's the gist of their complaint: "Stardock Systems, Inc. dba Stardock Entertainment ("Stardock") claims to be the assignee for the name 'Star Control,' but is not authorized to publish, reproduce, prepare derivative works based on, or distribute the Works." In a post on Steam, Stardock's Bard Wardell gives the other side of the story, suggesting the takedown is an unprecedented abuse of the DMCA, that Steam and GOG.com automatically pull games upon receiving such notices, and that Valve assures them those who already own the game can still play it. He says they are working to make the game available for purchase once again, but that they will have to lay off support staff in the meantime:

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.

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 does not contain any copyrighted 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.

Stardock, for the record, owns the trademark to Star Control and the copyright to Star Control 3 and Star Control: Origins has nothing to do with Reche and Ford.

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.

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16. Re: DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite Jan 1, 2019, 16:06 verybad1
 
Ugh. Does anyone actually buy Star Control games due to the IP?

Gonna completely avoid buying any Stardock games after reading this.
 
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  1. Jan 1, 12:44 Re: DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite Kajetan
  2. Jan 1, 13:00  Re: DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite BIGtrouble77
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>> 16. Jan 1, 16:06    Re: DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite verybad1
  18. Jan 1, 16:20     Re: DMCA Notice Freezes Star Control Origins in Carbonite jdreyer
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