So here's the real question for you or the other folks who seem he** bent to cast Stardock as being the evil corp and Paul and Fred as simple victims. What have Paul and Fred done for you lately?
Nothing. Yes, they announced a potential game in the future, that may or may not happen. The present result of that... Nothing. Maybe it won't be nothing in the future. Maybe it'll still be nothing in the future. And I don't give a damn at the end of the day, if I EVER get anything.
what have their actions shown that has you so loyal?
Loyalty is the wrong word. Principle. And it has nothing to do with what Paul and Fred has done.
That have Stardock's actions been that you are so willing to fall on your sword to champion Paul and Fred? I'm genuinely curious.
Okay... Verbosity away!
Before, I was actually quite happy of the arrangement Stardock had declared. Stardock had bought the trademark "Star Control", hence they could make whatever game they felt with usual feature set in space that everyone anticipates from Stardock, and stamp the "Star Control" mark ON the product to attract the fanbase and press to their reboot.
BUT... The copyrights to Star Control 1 and 2 still remain in Paul and Fred's hands. This was good news to me. Most companies swoop in, buy intellectual property in its entirety. This time... It DID NOT HAPPEN. Unlike what happened to Wing Commander, Ultima, X-COM, SimCity, Master of Orion, Fallout, and so many others... Stardock only got the trademark. They can call the game Star Control whatever, but they could not use of the old lore. The old lore is protected by copyright outside the scope of the trademark. It won't be shredded to pieces, mismanaged, mutated, or completely disregarded save a few superficial elements to skin over. (I'm looking at you, Bethesda.)
In that moment, I was content. Because if Paul and Fred chose to pursue a continuation of The Ur-Quan Masters, they could freely. Here's the thing, the contents, all the copyrighted material IN the product, has NEVER been tied directly to the trademark. Accolade got the trademark just to prevent anyone else from putting the title "Star Control" on their game boxes and putting those on shelves next to their game. That's it really. That's all trademarks do.
And really, the content of The Ur-Quan Masters has been disassociated from the "Star Control" trademark for YEARS. Most people go to The Ur-Quan Masters when they want a copy of the game. So perfect situation, Stardock gets to remake/relaunch/redo/re-imagining what they want AND The Ur-Quan Masters is far away from all that with the option for Paul and Fred to continue it if they so chose. "That's great," I thought. Everyone wins.
Then.. October 2017 happened and things got strange. Upon researching, it looked simple enough. Paul and Fred edged too close in referencing the trademark (Thought competitors Coke and Pepsi make far worst references to each other with the other's trademark... ALL THE TIME), and they needed to take a few steps back. (Companies are typically fierce with trademark protection. For example, Bethesda thought that Notch's game "Scrolls" got to close to their "The Elder Scrolls" title/trademark.) Cool. All references made by Paul and Fred's previous work will be to "The Ur-Quan Masters". Problem solved, confusion headed off at the pass. You want the new hotness? "Star Control". Want the classics? "The Ur-Quan Masters". We can all move on. On Stardock's side, it seemed like there was a misunderstanding over what distribution agreements were alive or not. Lawyer meet up, review who had what contracts, and maybe even negotiate a new royalty sharing deal. Life is good. (That's what Atari and Fred and Paul did with GOG originally. So, it has happened before.)
But... When researching and reading more about trademarks, and exploring more into their scope and power... I did a TESS search on Stardock to see all the trademarks it had... Then... I saw this... http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87720654&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch
To recount my forum policy cleaned words: "What. The. Actual. *%#@!?"
That is the moment my opinion of Stardock changed. That was the first of a series of moves that did not make sense and felt WRONG. All the laws and literature I have read before and since haven't stopped making it feel wrong. That discovery made me pour through legal texts, read huge, dry chunks of the Lanham Act (trademarks), and dig through the awful formatting upon the US Copyright office's version of the current copyright laws.
I've been double-checking my understanding of trademark and copyright constantly. So far from my resources, my understanding is correct. Which I would hope to be the case, after trying to get into the tabletop game industry for a number of years in many failed attempts. The education about the difference between all the types of intellectual property is a big thing in that industry, because you have to know it to avoid serious issues and conflicts. (Seriously, check out https://www.boardgamegeek.com/ A market that dense with so many games of similar themes, identical mechanics, and company buyouts... You have to know the differences and divisions between it all.) And the intellectual property rights aren't hard to grasp the basics of. You don't need to be a lawyer. Simple summary: If it is the title and company logos you put ON the box, trademark. If it is material you put IN the box (and the box art), copyright."
That is it. Really! I'm not kidding. You can even play at home as you read this to prove it. Look for the company name of the display device you are using to read this statement. That's the company's trademark you are looking at and it is ON the device. With that name in mind, does thinking about the trademark bring forward any specific names, detailed specifications, or any of the contents inside the device to mind? Kind of hard, even for companies that have really limited product lines. Or do you just get general concepts about the product, like general feelings about craftsmanship, the lack of craftsmanship, and the sense of quality the company normally aims for in its products? That there is the goodwill a trademark is suppose to invoke. Trademarks represent the source, the organization behind it.
To further show relationship between trademark and product, think of "Samsung" and "LG". Take a moment, open a new browser tab, and go to their websites, and see the range of products they create. When you try to derive specifics about the content of a product from those trademarks... it seems impossible and ludicrous... Because, that's not what trademarks are for. The trademark just indicates who put it on the market.
We can flip it around, too! In the custom PC market there are A LOT of companies that sell power supplies. There's FAR LESS Original Equipment Manufacturers out there. What a lot of companies do is that they buy power supplies from an OEM and brand them, and sell them under their trademark. So, you have many power supplies that are relatively the same (sometimes exactly) but only differ by the trademark upon them, and it happens all the time. Business as usual. Corsair, Thermaltake, and few others do this all the time.
If you read this far, thank you first off... But, if what I have presented contrasts what you have been shown... That is why we all keep trying to refute, find more resources, and gather more information. And we refuse because it doesn't make sense given what we have learned. We are pulling from the same resources, here they are: https://www.uspto.gov/ and https://www.copyright.gov/ Feel free to explore them.
Also.. I have published work so I have some grasp on Copyright IP etc.
As someone who has failed to have great success from many creative efforts... eBooks, board games, tabletop RPGs, short stories, and a game engine... I relate to you how absolutely frightening the concept is that someone outside to your copyrighted work can attempt to register trademarks to elements within your copyrighted work, override your copyright protections, and dictate what you can do with it. That's NOT a legal precedence I want established and one you probably don't established either. Because some companies have already been trying to do similar the titles of books: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/trademark-bully-thwarted-spots-space-marine-back-online
So, that's my position since you asked. If it doesn't sway you, then there's nothing I can do. From resource, the next court mandated settlement meeting date is close a year from now... So... Ain't much else to say... Ya'll have fun.