Real time space exploration and combat game Star Control: Origins has been removed from Steam due DMCA notice.
Star Control: Origins removed from Steam
The game was offering a variety of customization and enjoyable combat. But yesterday, developer Draginol made an announcement from Steam to explain what happened. You can read his statement from below:
“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.
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.
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 receive 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 take down notices. Unfortunately, the court ruled that it wasn’t the courts 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.
That said, time and time again we have requested, specifically, what elements in Star Control:Origins they think their cooyright applies to. If the request wasn’t onerous, we’d be willing to comply. We have routinely done this in other games such as Galactic Civilizations where we were asked to cha be a tech name from “space marines” to something else.
Prior to release, Stardock redesigned the earth ship to appease Reiche and Ford as well as made sure none of the characters you run into were similar to what was in SC2. To date, no specific demands have been made to us.
Stardock, for the record, owns the trademark to Star Control and the copyright to Star Control 3. Even if Reiche and Ford could demonstrate 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.”