The Third Doctrinal War -- Stardock, Reiche/Ford, and Star Control

They were just coffee boys.

It is a shame things continue to escalate. Is there anything beyond the “nameless” Arilou that might be infringing in Origins? It doesn’t look like Valve has stopped selling it yet.

Brad mentions that this is unprecedented.

“Contractors on the classic DOS game”

I don’t get the DMCA complaint on derivative works. That’s not a surprise, though, I don’t get 90% of the actions taken in this legal fight.

This shitty situation continues to get shittier.


He’s going to be fine financially. The people working on the game not so much, most likely.

Wasn’t he practically begging for this when he started including races that look damn similar to the races they created for the older games (and they have the copyrights to)? It seemed after that, the outcome was either going to be the games getting pulled, or them getting awarded a portion of the revenue - unless he settled.

Yea, he stated as much in the announcement:

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.

I find it disgusting that Brad is playing the victim here on a lawsuit that he started, and using other people’s livelihoods to try and garner sympathy.

e: Not surprisingly, lots of posts being deleted in that thread.

I mean an established studio trying to steal an IP is kind of unprecedented.

Apparently Stardock are deleting tons of posts on the steam community page.

In that regard, Brad is just a contractor on Star Control: Origins and it was created by the Tooth Fairy.

Does DLC ever sell as much as the original game? In board games, expansions usually do around 10-15% of original sales. No idea if that’s also the case with games, where DLC is often cheaper and easier to get. But yeah, this doesn’t bode well for Stardock. Fortunately.


I have no idea if the lawsuit had an appreciable effect on the game’s performance. The game itself wasn’t exactly stellar, so I have my doubts.

And hopefully this sets an example and other people will be dissuaded from this kind of behaviour!

BTW, in that thread on Steam, Brad claims F&P are suing GOG and Steam using the GoFundMe. This is truly something:

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).

He also continues to play the role of copyright lawyer in that thread. Utterly brazen.

Unless they want to be equally liable (in a case that has enough merits to not be dismissed), they have to. And Stardock can reinstate it by claiming full liability.

Sure, that’s the law. I guess I would expect that for something like this, Valve would let Stardock counter-claim before the game actually went down. Maybe it’s a simple toggle on the back end and not really a big deal logistically.

It’s interesting that

  • Players who already have the game can continue to play it
  • DLC is apparently still under development, though they’ll need another sales venue
  • All GOG/Valve do is handle sales & delivery

Yet people have to be laid off due to the DMCA claim. What needs did they fulfill that are suddenly rendered useless by an easily-countered DMCA claim? Development hasn’t stopped and the playerbase still exists. Sure, it’s temporarily unable to grow via GOG and Steam, but that growth is completely automated by those two companies and requires no manpower commitment from Stardock.

They need one person with a Steam or GOG developer account to upload game files, patches, etc. That person may have been fired. Unless Brad is taking on this role while SD is between projects.

I hope that “some men and women” have greater responsibility than uploading files for a single game.

There’s a lot to be sad about in this whole situation. I have to admit that I never really imagined that we’d get a sequel to Star Control 2 that really captured the magic no matter who was involved. But this legal battle around an apparently mediocre game is pretty much the worst ending I could imagine.


I’m not sure what people are thinking here, but there’s nobody posting on this forum (or working at Stardock, or working at a lot of other places) that couldn’t handle this function. And it’s something that can easily be passed around.

Given the disappointing sales of Origins, one imagines the DLC team wasn’t exactly in the most secure position to begin with.


Narrator voice: Issuing a DMCA claim in fact relied on the legal system.

If you’re Valve, it’s much safer to do what the current filing tells you to do and de-list the game for now. There’s no advantage to delaying or disobeying.