Star Control: Origins, the strategy game developed and released by Stardock Entertainment for PC in late September, is not available anymore for purchase on Steam (though it is still up on GOG). The creators of the original Star Control games have issued a DMCA takedown, as thoroughly explained on the Steam community forums by Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock.
We have received news today that Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, the designers on the classic DOS game, Star Control 2 for Accolade have issued a DMCA take down notice to Valve to take down Star Control: Origins.
https://www.screencast.com/t/mODt766t162 (this is the one sent to GOG)
As some of you may know, there is a legal dispute between Stardock and Reiche and Ford regarding the trademarks and copyrights pertaining to Star Control.
You can read the history here:
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).
Steam and GOG both have a policy of taking down content that receives DMCA notices regardless of the merits of the claims.
We attempted to get a preliminary art injunction to prevent them from issuing more false DMCA takedown notices. Unfortunately, the court ruled that it wasn’t the court’s place to intervene in the area of DMCAs. Thus, here we are.
To my knowledge, never in the history of our industry has anyone attempted to use the DMCA system to take down a shipping game before. For example, when PubG sued Fortnite for copyright infringement, they didn’t try to take Fortnite down with a DMCA notice.
For those not familiar with copyright law, you CANNOT copyright ideas, individual or short phrases, concepts, mechanics, game designs, etc.
Star Control: Origins is our own creation without relying on the work of Reiche or Ford. We spent 5 years working on it making it our own game. It very much plays like you would expect a Star Control game. But that has nothing to do with copyright. It has its own story, setting, plot, and all new characters. It exists in an entirely new universe.
Stardock, for the record, owns the trademark to Star Control and the copyright to Star Control 3. Even if Reiche and Cord state they own the copyrights to SC2, that has nothing to do with us or our game. Anyone who has played the game can, we hope, attest to this.
Valve assures us that anyone who has already bought the game should be able to continue to play it.
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.
We will do our very best to continue to support the game and hopefully Star Control: Origins will return as soon as possible.
Star Control: Origins is a fine game for those who are into the genre, as summarized by Nathan in his review. Let’s hope an amicable solution can be found, allowing the game to be listed on Steam once again.
Star Control: Origins boasts some of the sharpest writing I’ve come across in a while. It made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions, which is a rare thing. Unfortunately, this space adventure is at its worst when it’s at its spaciest. A lack of navigational tools, dull resource collecting, and oversimplified space battles all conspire to knock the game down a peg. Star Control: Origins serves up a lively galaxy worth exploring, but sometimes the commute can be a killer.
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