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Star Control creators defend DMCA takedown notice against Stardock

Creators claim Star Control: Origins is "substantially similar to and/or derivative of" their copyrighted work

Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche have defended their decision to use a DMCA takedown notice against developer Stardock and its upcoming game, Star Control: Origins.

The notice was ultimately successful in blocking the game's release, a decision upheld by the Northern District Court of California.

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell objected to the use of DMCA take notice in this context.

"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," he said.

"For example, when PUBG sued Fortnite for copyright infringement, they didn't try to take Fortnite down with a DMCA notice."

In the statement, Wardell also noted that Stardock made several changes to "appease Reiche and Ford", adding: "To date, no specific demands have been made to us."

However, Ford and Reiche have now defended their decision, and clarified what Stardock actually acquired when it purchased the Star Control franchise following Atari's bankruptcy auction in 2013.

According to Ford and Reiche, Stardock's acquisition of the franchise included only the Star Control trademark, and the original parts of Star Control 3, and that anything not listed was excluded.

From there, the pair argue that Star Control: Origins bears a material resemblance to Star Control 2, laying out the extensive similarities in a comparison chart (see below).

"It's clear to us that Stardock chose to make Origins substantially similar to SC2 instead of using the original material they purchased in SC3," said Ford and Reiche.

"We don't claim to have a copyright on all interstellar travel, but we do have a copyright on the specific way we expressed interstellar travel in Star Control II.

"We see many such examples in Star Control: Origins where its expression is substantially similar to and/or derivative of our copyright-protected work, without our permission."

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Ivy Taylor

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Ivy joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.