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




Unless there’s some big event that changes things drastically there is unlikely to be much activity that we can see for quite a while. The trial date is now pushed back to 3/23/2020. Discovery doesn’t end until 7/31/2019. Experts need to be designated and their discovery complete by September. At some point this year we’ll probably see motions to dismiss or for summary judgement show up but it’s not clear when they would be decided on.

This is the latest order regarding the schedule.


If you want another legal mess to fill the void there’s the Blizzard+Valve vs. uCool vs. Lilith three way over infringement of DOTA2. Though there isn’t much current activity on it, its been going on even longer than this case.


Also, for an example of a totally different spin on copyright (namely, not having any), check out the ongoing back-and-forth between Jason Rohrer (who puts all his games in the public domain) and the team that’s porting it to mobile for profit!


This sort of thing kills me.


Wow, Rohrer really comes off as a complete tosser in that discussion. I really don’t know what his mental model is here. Release everything to the public domain, disclaim any trademarks, and then start making absurd demands and whine about how he’s being defamed and his legacy is being destroyed.


He really should have done something akin to the GPL rather than straight up public domain. There’s always someone willing to take advantage.


That’s not “taking advantage”. It’s literally people doing what the license [0] was designed for, and what Rohrer claimed he wanted! Allowing anyone do anything with the code/assets with no attribution or any other strings attacked is the only reason to use PD or something like a 0-clause BSD. If he wanted to avoid confusion but allow remixing, just keep the trademark. If he wanted attribution, use a MIT license. Want no commercial uses? CC BY-NC. But he didn’t want any of those, he wanted it to be PD.

Reading that thread further, it just gets more absurd. A page later he’s complaining about how the free trial version of the app is causing him financial harm, since people don’t play the game for very long so the trial version is enough to sate them. A page after that he files false takedown claims in the all the app stores, claiming copyright and trademark violations since “there was no fraud or libel checkbox”.

Oh, and that issue with PD not actually having the effect he wanted? He’s got a perfect solution. A new “public domain except for the mobile app developers” license…

[0] Yes, yes. PD is not actually a license. You know what I mean.,


Jason seems like he might like the feeling he gets from releasing to public domain, and the limited use of it by the community to support official releases, more than the actual legal status and consequences. It seems like this is the first time it’s been tested to this extent for him. I hope he figures out what he really wants to allow and disallow and does the work to develop a combination of licenses and marks to accomplish those things.


Yeah, it looks like he didn’t really consider what public domain entails.

Thankfully P&F had the good sense to use GPL and CCA licenses for UQM.


These are the items currently pending:

  1. The Judge still needs to rule on a dismissal motion by P&F against Stardock, and another by GOG against P&F. This is essentially the Judge deciding if their complaint even alleges the bare-bones minimum to pursue those particular claims.
  2. Once the Judge has so ruled, P&F and GOG will have a couple of weeks to file their formal responses to the final complaints. These are likely to consist mainly of perfunctory denials of the allegations, with as little detail as possible.
  3. At any time between now and July we could have motions filed relating to the Discovery disputes mentioned in the last status memo.
  4. There are still two dozen trademark filings slowly working their way through the trademark office. They will probably all get suspended by July or so, pending the outcome of the court case.
  5. October 2 is the next major event: That’s when Stardock has to put its cards on the table in its Summary Judgement motion. P&F follow a couple of weeks later.


is that date correct?


As near as I can tell, yes. See §IV.E of the Judge’s Order.


I have to admit, I was surprised they just bowled through and released it amid litigation. I wonder if this is going to set some kind of legal precedent going forward.
Are there other examples of a product going to market while in the midst of an IP legal battle?
Most examples I can think of happened AFTER it went to market
Though that was because you could mostly develop a game in relative secrecy… You would have thought after BC2K, people would realize that maybe you shouldn’t say shit about your game until it’s almost done…

Wow, I missed a lot since April of last year… I actually did pick up the game last night on Steam sale and figured “let me see what happened since i last checked in on this litigation…”

I didn’t even know it had gotten pulled off… This took FOREVER to catch up on.

I assume that big news from Derek never materialized?

The thing that stood out to me the most in this whole legal battle was how the judge seems like they just aren’t putting up with any shit. That was a very strongly worded ruling from the judge.


Googling for examples brings up of stories of games, movies, etc. delayed due to IP issues but I’m not finding much in the way of things released in the middle of a lawsuit.

Since the risk is so high most companies avoid exposing themselves in such a way. As is happening in this case the alleged infringer can end up liable for the full retail price of every unit sold, not just the revenue they themselves realized. That’s without even factoring in the potential multiple if the infringement is found to be willful. It’s rare a company would calculate that the potential cost of a delay would be greater than the risk of having all the revenue and then some stripped from them in a judgement.

(on a side note, please no summon)


I had to. Any chance to make a “BC2K took a long time to come out and then a longer time to be done” joke must happen.


does it tho


I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. For the last decade.


You guys never let me have any fun…


Um, “done”?

Seriously though, no summon. Sure, crack a joke if you must, but don’t @