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


And this pretty much nails the debate, as far as I’m concerned. Stardock didn’t just shoot themselves in the foot, they blew both their legs off, chewed off their arms, and are now trying to drown themselves in a puddle, all the while claiming someone else is to blame.


It’s rather sad, the blaming and echo chamber reinforcing is just making things worse. Just a few moments of acknowledging at least some small aspect of reality could end all this. Just acknowledging that the concept of substantial similarity exists would go a long way to break the bubble. It’s like he’s trying to convince himself a jury will see things his way. But he doesn’t seem to realize that on the stand he doesn’t get to completely misrepresent things like that chart that he has used to claim that P&F are trying to “copyright the color red”.

While his attorneys will give him an opportunity to tell his side of the history, any “you can’t copyright names” or other espousing of legal theories will be met with an objection and sustained. He doesn’t get to present his legal theories in court. He gets to answer questions like “at any time did you instruct anyone to change the game to make it more like SC2?”. He gets to be asked to read aloud to the court his own public statements saying P&F owned the copyrights, then he gets to read to the court his own public statements saying he’s including elements from those two games.


As the copyright registration came up recently I searched it up and it appears to be granted.

There are actually a few entries, two are extraneous (from it’s appearance in a game collection disk “Duel & 132 other titles”). Two are for SC2 itself (not sure why there are two entries). One lists just Paul and Fred and the other lists all names from the credits. As it appears P&F have the support of and copyright assignments from those people that shouldn’t be an issue in court.

To compare things I searched for the names of other games.

Galactic Civilizations - no registration

Similarly nothing for Sins of a Solar Empire. Fallen Enchantress, etc. So I searched for “Stardock” in the name section. The only entry was the SC3 copyright.

I tried games I’ve played recently. Nothing for Subnautica. Okay, Rimworld, finally results! Oh wait, they are all for books, nothing for the game.

So it seems officially registering a copyright right away is not the norm.


It’s tunnel vision. He gets that from time to time and it’s what got them into trouble with Elemental.




Probably not the place to say it, but I’m a little worried about his mental health, to be honest. I know a lot of people here dislike him (and not without reason, especially with how this whole situation has been handled), but he’s a very different person in 1-to-1 conversations than he his in his wider forum posts or public statements. He seems like he’s in the vicinity of a breakdown.


I feel like Stardock thinks they are playing some master-level game of 3-dimensional chess in PR and law, but everybody else is like “I’m sorry guys, but that’s actually Hungry Hungry Hippos”.

Super weird.


I think he honestly seems to think that basically the entirety of the internet is like his own living room where he can say whatever he want and it’s just off the record chats with him and his friends or something. It’s insanity.

That was very much his tone on here. ‘Why are you weirdos who don’t agree with me in my living room. How rude of you all. You will not be invited to my next party’


There really is a self reinforcing echo chamber that has been created. Watching this controversy you can literally see it being built as time goes on. It starts with communities where the sentiment is not majority pro-Stardock being given various labels like “toxic” to make anything, even completely reasonable commentary and advice, coming from those sources dismiss-able on the basis of where they came from. The same was done with individuals. ‘You think my position is incorrect, you must be prejudiced against me’. Then when an occasional opposing view slips through, there’s the echo chamber that you can take that notion to, twist it to a ridiculous degree, and hear back “yeah, you’re right, this is an outrage!!!”. Developing a certain fan base over the years that will echo back and amplify his outrage is another thing that isn’t serving him well. He seems to actually believe that if can convince his sycophants surely a jury will see it his way.

The lengths that were gone through in the last few days to avoid the concept of substantial similarity and cling to “you can’t copyright red!” were amazing to behold.


It’s seriously like a strawman festival. I have to assume it’s willful, because it doesn’t make any sense otherwise. He’s not a dumb guy.


The thing with people’s reactions to him here is whenever there has been disagreement he was quick to trot out that people disagree with his actions because they don’t like his politics or whatever. He would never acknowledge that his actions were ever driving people to those reactions.


It’s unfortunate because there has been an element of truth to that on Qt3 (a lot of those people don’t post here anymore, though). But you’re right, it’s more of what Thrag was saying. A lot of disagreement or criticism was quickly labeled as toxic, or politics, and subsequently filtered out. If things go the way they’re looking, I think it’s really going to hurt him in the end.

Again, as a guy who has had some 1-to-1 conversations (online, never met him in person) over the years, it’s all just sad. He’s not a comic book villain, and I feel like the project started out with good intentions. Things have really, really gone off the rails though, and it just sucks. From a purely selfish point of view, I think SC:O is a pretty solid game and it’s been great to get to revisit that kind of game after 25 years. I really think they could have built off of 1.0. The ugliness of the legal battle alienated a lot of the core community that would have been interested in the game which combined with the tenuous legal ground likely means the death of the project and loss of employment for the team working on DLC, console ports, etc.


Yeah, I know Gallant and some others had a beef with him, but he would apply that brush to pretty much anyone. I’m sure he is better in person, and I’ve tried to give him kudos when I think Stardock has done something well, such as Offworld Trading Company and continuing to support and improve Ashes of the Singularity.


This is absolutely true, and he is a good force for the gaming world. He’s done some great things to try and bring in high quality games without AAA budgets and giving developers a chance when other publishers would scoff.

Things just go wildly off the rails at times, this one just spiraled out of control. Though at this stage I’m not sure if Brad would take that time machine to re-do how this all played out. It seems like he’s doubling down and doesn’t even realize how much he’s hurt himself. I can’t imagine how hard this is for the rest of the employees at Stardock. They are wonderful and amazing individuals. The limbo, and seeing your hard work, and your future work possibly crushed. My heart breaks for them.


While I was busy doing my own spit take when I first read this, this line stuck out. He’s clearly worried about being deposed or even just answering questions about the case. He has to realize he’s going to be giving a “free” deposition soon anyway.


Pretty much

Greedo shot first.


Yup. I have a long Twitter thread (Brad joined in) about specifically this. He feels that because he has the right to publicly defend himself and his actions, that he can very well do so. I’ve been there, and it’s hard to turn the other cheek sometimes.


I believe they got the rights/permission to do Xcom. And suing over Phoenix Point would be a non-starter.


That wasn’t a case about the same type of infringement as this SD case. It was about ideas (Battle Royale), not content.


I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Brad probably didn’t consult with an IP attorney before buying the assets at auction.