Talk:Stardock Systems Inc. v. Paul Reiche III and Robert Frederick Ford

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Work together and stay neutral

Hey everyone. I posted some guidelines here to help keep us on track.

As much as possible, refer to reliable sources, with footnotes and citations. Evidence from the parties should be used carefully, with other statements from the parties used only to understand their public positions. Try to avoid any random fan theories. Obviously, we are fans. But we should focus on what the sources and the parties have said. We might sparingly cap off any section with a short summary and analysis, but ideally refer to a reliable source, and keep it within the range of disagreements provided by the parties themselves. Talk about what the parties have said carefully, and don't start promoting the theories of random fans.

If there's disagreement, assume good faith and discuss it here. Nobody here is superior, so long as they're editing in good faith and following the guidelines. Work together. Be constructive. Defer to the guidelines. See a criticism as an opportunity to improve this Q+A with better research and writing.

The community really needs this. There's a lot of misinformation out there and this will help clarify things. Pat (talk) 20:42, 4 April 2018 (CEST)

Community Q+A guidelines

Editor behavior

  • Work together. Collaborate. Be constructive.
  • Revert edits with reference to the guidelines. Defer to the guidelines. Change guidelines only with discussion.
  • Where there is a dispute, discuss and come to a consensus. Assume good faith.
  • Don't assume good faith if an editor repeatedly ignores guidelines.
  • Bad faith editors are not welcome.

Verification in reliable sources

  • All statements on this page should be verified in reliable sources, using footnote citations.
  • The most reliable sources are statutes, neutral legal experts, and news outlets with editorial oversight and fact-checking
  • Evidence submitted by the parties (Stardock, Paul Reiche III, and Fred Ford) is assumed to be reliable and accurate, under penalty of law.
  • Public statements by the parties are only relevant and reliable for understanding how the dispute has been represented by the parties.
  • Clearly distinguish between types of sources, for the sake of the readers.
  • Third party forum posts, blogs, and opinion pieces are NOT reliable. In rare exceptions, they might be relevant as evidence of a legal issue. Use and mark them accordingly.
  • Statements in the Q+A without reliable sources should be verified to reliable sources, or removed.


  • Maintain a neutral point of view. Even if you have strong feelings, the Q+A should not. Let the reliable sources speak.
  • Where there is potential bias, discuss the best way to maintain neutrality. Consider replacing with better sources, comparing the sources, adding a note, or removing altogether.
  • Clearly note areas of disagreement, to distinguish them from widely agreed facts.
  • Evidence and statements published by the parties (Stardock, Paul Reiche III, and Fred Ford) should be marked clearly and used with care.
  • Speculation should be careful, clear, and limited. Refer to relevant outcomes described by the parties, with analysis from reliable sources as much as possible.


  • Utilize internet archives to protect sources from being deleted or modified as the legal dispute continues.
  • Use quotes and/or images to highlight areas under dispute.
  • Don't overuse quotes and/or images where footnotes will do, particularly for issues not under dispute.
  • Strive to be concise. Avoid redundancy.
  • As this wiki stabilizes, we will move these guidelines to make the Q+A more readable.

What Are You Doing

What's going on here? It looks like you intend to document the legal dispute between Fred and Paul vs. Stardock, but with so many buzz phrases you come across somewhat inauthentic and untrustworthy. --Shiver (talk) 00:16, 5 April 2018 (CEST)

Let me second that question. @Pat - you really have no authority to define community guidelines (we already have some of those) on this wiki, especially when you only just joined the community and when you are not the creator of this wiki. Honestly, it almost looks like some kind of astroturfing campaign but I can't yet tell by whom (my gut says Stardock given some similarities with their website and the timing of this, but I'm open to being wrong). I'd rather not have an in-depth discussion about the current legal drama (especially given the astounding coincidence of the arrival of these new editors) - we can wait until the smoke clears and the dust settles. --Fyzixfighter (talk) 05:33, 5 April 2018 (CEST)
Hey's on a user page, so it isn't part of the general wiki content; the "Community Guidelines" are just Pat's rules for their own userspace. Let's give this some time to develop and see what comes of it. For one thing, I'm getting a bit tired of re-explaining the background of the case to each new person who arrives on Reddit. A non-partisan FAQ would be helpful. --Elestan (talk) 08:41, 5 April 2018 (CEST)
Fyzixfighter: Elestan sent a PM my way on the forums regarding this activity in favor of leaving it up. He has a significant presence on various Star Control forums right now and seems fairly credible. I don't think this is my decision to make here. It's up to you or SvdB. --Shiver (talk) 12:14, 5 April 2018 (CEST)

Re: Reiche and Ford's desire to make a new SC game

@Mormont: Thanks for helping out here. I'm not sure, though, that this topic is a good idea for the main document, although perhaps it might be for a different one. Whether Reiche and Ford wanted to do a new game or not doesn't (to my knowledge) have any legal significance. And while there are people on Reddit making an issue out of it, I think it would be best to keep this document tightly focused on the facts that are relevant to the legal case, not trying to address all the various social media accusations that are flying around - that seems like a swamp it would be better not to wade into. --Elestan (talk) 21:00, 5 April 2018 (CEST)

Music Copyright

Regarding section 1.5 of Addendum 3 and the music copyright, the complication is that the 1988 agreement, being between Accolade and Paul, can only give Paul things Accolade owned. It couldn't transfer ownership of the music from Riku unless Riku signed a separate agreement to that effect. --Elestan (talk) 21:12, 6 April 2018 (CEST)

Addendum 3 is not transferring ownership; it's giving Accolade permission to use Reiche's IP. I tried to present this as another point to consider, not as definitive proof ("how these things fit together remains to be seen"). It at least shows that Accolade seemed to think Reiche owned the music. Mormont (talk) 21:20, 6 April 2018 (CEST)

Footnotes / references

. For now I'm putting some of the footnotes in the middle of the text. In the long run we should figure out how to create some wiki templates for this. We're gonna need a lot of references. I'm gonna do my best on the timeline stuff and maybe someone more technical can help cleanup. Oghor (talk) 03:08, 15 April 2018 (CEST)

The importance of good references

Hey guys. Didn't mean to ghost on this, but I'm glad to see other people taking the helm. This is meant to be community-driven, starting with editors who are able to separate their personal opinions from relatively uncontroversial facts.

Looking at the issues raised by everyone, it seems like we all want to keep this factual. The guidelines I posted weren't anything original. They were meant to be an short summary of guidelines from Wikipedia as we work on something that might be invaded by trolls.

With that in mind, someone said we should have a reference template (as seen on Wikipedia). And to echo concerns (especially from Shiver and Fyzixfighter), I don't want anyone here pushing an agenda. I want everyone (including me) to quote the primary sources (Stardock / Paul & Fred's public statements of claim and statements) and any other reliable legal experts. Having good references will allow us to separate facts from opinions, and protect this project from opinion-pushers and trolls.

I made an honest shot at trying to import the reference templates from Wikipedia ("ref" and "reflist"), but it looks to be beyond my skillset and access. Would one of the mods be able to help us out?

Otherwise I'll try to painstakingly re-organize and consolidate the references.

Thanks everyone who contributed so far. Pat (talk) 01:38, 23 April 2018 (CEST)

Contested facts need special care

Hi SharkD. Regarding where you said "The third Addendum to the 1988 Agreement states that Reiche and Ford own intellectual property rights in characters, plot lines, settings and terminology from the first two games.", the language in Addendum 3 is not entirely clear on that: It could be interpreted to mean that the license in Addendum #3 covers any such IP R&F have in the first two games, without actually giving them ownership of anything not granted by the prior agreements. In any case, Stardock has not conceded that point, and we do want to be especially careful not to present as plain fact anything that is contested by either side. Could you adjust your additions to reflect this? --Elestan (talk) 01:13, 9 May 2018 (CEST)

Hey Elestan this is a tricky one. I'll try to match the language of the actual addendum itself and then let readers decide. Separate issue... where do you see Stardock contesting the copyrights? The lawsuit only makes an issue of Star Control 3, and they even made a forum post saying they don't contest it.[1] For sure I don't want to miss anything. Can you find me a source for the stuff you added about disputing Reiche and Ford's ownership in the original games? SharkD (talk) 01:35, 9 May 2018 (CEST)
Stardock doesn't claim to own them, but they haven't conceded that Paul and Fred own them either. Check their First Amended Complaint #50; "Reiche and Ford may not have created any of the artwork, animation or characters incorporated in the games, or otherwise substantially contributed to the authorship of Star Control I and Star Control II." --Elestan (talk) 02:07, 9 May 2018 (CEST)
I threw in the comment about not having contributed to SC1 and SC2, because we can attribute that to an actual source. The other stuff I'm having trouble finding a source for. It also seems like a huge tangent to start getting into burden of proof, because a lawsuit heavily implies that everyone has some burden to prove their claims. If we started to talk about who needs to prove what, literally every section would need another paragraph, and it would mostly state the obvious. Maybe we add a general note at the top about evidence and proof? SharkD (talk) 19:42, 9 May 2018 (CEST)