Star Control: Origins removed from Steam after DMCA notice

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Star Control: Origins has been removed from Steam following a takedown notice by the makers of the 1990 game which inspired it, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Star Control: Origins’ developer Stardock revealed the move in a Steam post. In it, they said: “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 court’s place to intervene in the area of DMCAs. Thus, here we are.”

The Steam post also included a link to the DMCA takedown notice and another to Stardock’s take on the history of the dispute between Stardock and Reiche and Ford. Stardock seems pretty miffed at the legal move: “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.”

Plus, the developer strongly refutes Reiche and Ford’s legal claims: “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.”

Those who already bought the game should not worry about being unable to play it, though, according to Stardock: “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.”

To keep abreast of further news regarding Star Control: Origins, you might want to watch the game’s website.