Star Control: Origins Taken Off Steam and GOG as DMCA Copyright Fight Gets Ugly

Star Control: Origins Taken Off Steam and GOG as DMCA Copyright Fight Gets Ugly

The fight for Star Control heats up.

The ongoing legal drama over Star Control has hit another development. The 2018 prequel Star Control: Origins, from developers Stardock Entertainment, is no longer available on Steam or GOG after the original creators of Star Control were issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown.

Star Control's original creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche are currently engaged in a battle over the rights to Star Control with Stardock. The company purchased the rights to Star Control in a bankruptcy auction for Atari back in 2013, and Stardock CEO Brad Wardell announced the development of Star Control: Origins three years later in 2016.

However, Ford and Reiche's court documents reportedly assert that Stardock merely purchased the registration to the "Star Control" trademark and original parts of Star Control 3. Ford and Reiche retain the rights to Star Control 1 and Star Control 2, which is why the two issued a DMCA takedown of Origins which they say infringes on their own copyrights.

In a blog post published today on Ford and Reiche's personal blog, the two explained why they were pursuing DMCA action against Stardock and produced a chart explaining the similarities they see in Stardock's Origins with their own Star Control 2.

Wardell has taken issue with the chart Ford and Reiche published and has been disparaging it on social media. "Next time someone accuses me of posting something I shouldn't because I'm mad I can just point them to this hastily constructed table," Wardell wrote today on Twitter. "I can't imagine any lawyer reviewed it. But you tell me, should our game of 5 years have been DMCA'd because it shares these ideas?" Others, like video game lawyer Richard Hoeg, have also weighed in on the chart saying, "the entire industry should be petrified that the following was the basis for a DMCA takedown of a live game."

The legal tussle has been going on for some time. Wardell requested an injunction against further DMCA takedown filings from Ford and Reiche back in December, but a judge denied the request. This leaves Stardock in the position it is in now, facing mounting DMCA notices that have taken Star Control: Origins off of certain digital retailers.

The judge who denied the injunction request also had some choice words for Wardell, saying his claims as the creator of Star Control are "frivolous" and that Wardell "was aware of Defendants' [in this case Ford and Reiche] claim to Star Control 1 and 2 since the development of Origins commenced, however, and was aware of the contours of the present copyright dispute since at least December 2017."

The judge remarked that, from the court's perspective, Wardell was reasonably aware of the copyright risks if he pursued development of Star Control: Origins. As a result the judge said the court would not intervene in the DMCA fight over the Star Control franchise.

Ford and Reiche are currently heading up Toys for Bob, a subsidiary of Activision that recently developed the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Toys for Bob is also working on a direct sequel to Star Control 2 called Ghosts of the Precursors, ensuring that the fight over the future of Star Control will continue. Meanwhile, Stardock announced layoffs as a result of the DMCA takedowns to cut costs.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Star Control: Origins Review

Captain your ship. Explore the galaxy. Throw away the lives of your crew on foolish adventures!

Star Control Picked Up by Stardock in Atari Auction, Reboot Coming

Stardock wins Star Control, but loses Master of Orion to Wargaming.

We Dare You to Eat This Pile of Ancient Pokemon Food

Expiration dates are just suggestions.

Take-Two CEO Says Next-Gen Won't Send Game Development Costs Soaring

Strauss Zelnick seems optimistic about dev costs for Scarlett and PS5.

John Wick Hex Turns Gun-Fu Into a Strategy Game Next Month

Write down the launch date, then hide all your pencils.

Sony's Next State of Play is Set, But Don't Expect Any PS5 News

There will be some game reveals, though.

More News

We Dare You to Eat This Pile of Ancient Pokemon Food

Expiration dates are just suggestions.

Take-Two CEO Says Next-Gen Won't Send Game Development Costs Soaring

Strauss Zelnick seems optimistic about dev costs for Scarlett and PS5.

John Wick Hex Turns Gun-Fu Into a Strategy Game Next Month

Write down the launch date, then hide all your pencils.

Sony's Next State of Play is Set, But Don't Expect Any PS5 News

There will be some game reveals, though.

More on PC

John Wick Hex Turns Gun-Fu Into a Strategy Game Next Month

Write down the launch date, then hide all your pencils.

Hitman 2's Last Expansion Pass Locale is an Island Hideout for the Ultra-Rich

It's got everything: Warm sand, clear water, and a suspicious-looking bald man named 47.

Gears 5 Horde Mode Tips - Character Abilities, Classes, How to Upgrade Fortifications

Here's all the Gears 5 Horde mode tips you need, including characters classes, weapons, bosses, how to upgrade Fortifications, and more.

Borderlands 3 Shift Codes List (September 2019)

Here are all of the Borderlands 3 Shift Codes available as of September 2019.

Borderlands 3 Gold Keys: How to Open the Gold Chest On Sanctuary

Golden Keys are a great way to get rare loot in Borderlands 3. Here’s how to get them.