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


Isn’t the discovery period for this almost done? Are they seriously still going to let it go into a trial?


They are fighting over extending the discovery period after the addition of GOG and Valve. Stardock apparently wants to extend it by several months, while P&F just want an extra month or so. Stardock is also apparently dragging its feet on making Brad and others available for depositions.


Gee, I wonder why they wouldn’t want Brad to talk to anyone? 🙄


Elestan – Where is that information coming from?


Did you read the linked document?


I didn’t see a linked document when I read your post on desktop last night, though it’s coming up fine on mobile now (did you link it back in December? It seems familiar).


Whoops, sorry, Elestan. I would say it’s because I replied after seeing your post in an email generated by Discourse… But the link is in the email, too! I’m just not paying attention!


I don’t think anyone commented on it here (if so, my apologies), but the Polygon article @Thrag linked to was updated on the 30th regarding Stardock indemnifying GOG and Valve:

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 much for DMCA “abuse”.


That doesn’t mean that it isn’t an abuse of the DMCA process?

I’m not aware of anyone claiming that their usage of the DMCA was illegal. The Judge referred only to the legality of issuing a DMCA notice, not whether it was warranted.

Stardock’s main argument seemed to be that the DMCA was in essence an injunction. The Judge responded to that, not to the general merit of this particular DMCA so I think it’s unfair to use the Judge’s comments as some sort of slamdunk.


There’s someone on Twitter who wrote over and over that what P&F did was DMCA abuse.


And? That doesn’t necessarily mean illegal. I think many uses of DMCA (particularly around youtube) are abuse, I don’t doubt that they’re almost entirely legal. Those aren’t mutually incompatible concepts, c.f. legal but unethical ways of abusing tax loopholes.


Ah, we’re doing that argument. Again.

I think the fact that P&F were able to DMCA the game, and Stardock had to indemnify GOG and Valve to get it back up, speaks for itself.


That quiet, acrid odor you smell in the air is the scent of fear and desperation.

I’ve…I’ve honestly never seen a pleading like this before. It’s singular.


Yes, the DMCA is legal. That really doesn’t serve as any sort of proof that it isn’t abuse. I mean, that’s one of the literal meanings of the word abuse.

If you think the Judge ruling on whether the DMCA served as an injunction (of sorts) is somehow equivalent to the Judge taking a moral rather than legal stance on whether this particular instance counts as DMCA abuse, I can see why you think it speaks for itself. That would seem to be quite a reach though as it wasn’t the Judge’s role or purpose to ajudge the wider moral merits of this particular DMCA in the effects it could potentially have on game development in general.


I would love any context you’re able to provide for this.


Stardock is requesting a stay for depositions?


Then that will undoubtedly be decided in court.

Wow. That document is something…


Stardock’s attorneys already requested a new, extended schedule where the trial would be delayed until the 74th Century AD; the judge hasn’t ruled on that motion yet, and so the logic of this pleading is (as always, I paraphrase in my inimitable way) “Judge, since you’re so goddamn slow we need you to issue a special order protecting us from the consequences of your not promptly finding in our favor on our earlier filing.”

I mean maybe that’s a normal thing in that circuit but…I kinda doubt it.

The request is also super-vague in terms of what it considers “scorched earth” discovery requests (lots of assertions, but nothing in the pleadings actually explaining what that means - although there’s an exhibit listed on Court Listener that isn’t actually available yet, so maybe that specifies?) What is going to happen here is that F+P’s attorneys are going to file a reply to which they will attach exhibits showing Stardock’s attorneys refusing to comply with totally innocuous requests.

I can’t predict what the judge will do, of course, but generally “The other party is seeking information that is harmful to our case!” is not a reason to delay discovery. It’s the entire point of discovery. So my money is on “the judge tells them to get on with it.”

The next offensive shot that F+P might fire will be a motion to compel.


Stardock previously had thought its production—that was substantially completed in the summer of 2018—to be largely to the satisfaction of Defendants.



For a team that supposedly has some big bomb to drop (if derek is to be believed) they certainly dont conduct themselves like they do.