Star Control Game Creators Sue Stardock Systems, CEO Brad Wardell For Copyright Theft
SAN FRANCISCO—Computer game developers Paul Reiche and Fred Ford are defending their ownership and rights over two iconic games they designed and developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Star Control and Star Control II, after game publisher Stardock Systems, Inc. sued Mr. Reiche and Mr. Ford in an apparent attempt to take control of the games and profit from their popularity.
Stardock and its chief executive, Brad Wardell, initiated the lawsuit against Mr. Reiche and Mr. Ford on Dec. 8, 2017.
Today Mr. Reiche and Mr. Ford filed a counterclaim against Stardock in U.S. District Court in Oakland to take back control of their rights to the Star Control I and Star Control II computer games.
“Star Control is a pair of games we created at the start of the computer gaming revolution,” said Mr. Reiche. “Now, largely as a labor of love, we are returning to the universe we created to update it with new adventures, characters, and worlds. Stardock seems to think not only are we not the creators of Star Control, but they claim to have the exclusive rights to sell our games and otherwise use our alien races, ships, narrative, and other creative materials without our permission. This is why we felt compelled to file our counterclaim today to stop Stardock’s theft of our games, copyrights, and the universe we created for ourselves and our fans.”
The game creators are asking the court for an injunction to stop Stardock from illegally selling their games and otherwise using their creative materials, which is infringing on their copyrights, to stop Stardock from engaging in other forms of unfair competition, and to order Stardock to pay the developers all revenues and profits the company has gained from selling the games, as well as to force Stardock and Wardell to stop using their “The Ur-Quan Masters” trademark.
Mr. Reiche and Mr. Ford created and developed the Star Control I and II games between 1988 and 1992, and they were published and sold by Accolade. The space adventure games and their unusual characters and storytelling quickly gained popularity at the time of their release. Over the years, the games have developed a cult-like status as classics and are widely considered to be among the best computer games ever made.