The ongoing conflict between game developer Stardock and Star Control makers Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford have escalated to a takedown alert. In a post on the Steam Board for Star Control: Origins Stardock's CEO Brad Wardell confirmed that Steam and GOG have received the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices to stop selling the game.
In a notice from Bartko Zankel Bunzel and Miller (BZBM), Reiche and Ford claim that they are "original developers and own certain exclusive copyrights in, to and for the games" Star Control "and" "Star Control II ". In addition to a copyright claim, the letter also seems to challenge Stardock's ownership of the name Star Control and says it "claims to be the licensee of the name" Star Control "but is not authorized to publish, reproduce, prepare derivative works based on or distributing the works. "
Under the United States DMCA, any copyright holder who meets infringing material may issue a notice of the recipient of the alleged violation. As long as they comply with vendors like Steam and Gog, as well as hosting providers or websites like Youtube, they have no legal responsibility.
In his post, Wardell disputes the claim and states that Star Control: Origins "does not contain any copyrighted work by Reiche or Ford" and that Stardock owns the trademark. Unless Stardock disputes the claim, it will no longer be available on Steam and GOG stores. For existing purchases on Steam, Wardell notes that "Valve assures us that anyone who has already purchased the game should be able to continue playing it."
DMCA derives from an ongoing case involving the original creators of  Star Control . Reiche and Ford own Star Control 1 and 2 but licensed rights for the development of Star Control 3 to Accolade, later purchased by Atari. Stardock acquired these rights and the trademark under Atari's liquidation.
On December 27, Stardock lost a lawsuit to prevent Reiche and Ford from submitting additional DMCA claims. In that decision, US District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong wrote, "As the Defendant correctly observes, the plaintiff's argument based on the" wrong premise "is that the issuance of a DMCA violation is equivalent to an order requiring the removal of alleged infringement material. She refused further examination of the order because Stardock had not met the standard to demonstrate such a need. "In total, the plaintiff has not made a sufficient display on the second and third paragraphs of the provisional prohibition standard. Consequently, the plaintiff has not satisfied his burden of obtaining provisional orders and the Court does not need to address the remaining things."
BZBM's DMCA notice requests confirmation of removal from GOG by 2 January. With the DMCA ceiling and ongoing litigation, there will likely be more updates in this case shortly after the court resumed work on January 2.
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