If you were sorely missing Star Control: Origins on GOG and Steam, you'll find that the game has been returned to both storefronts as of today. You can now go and purchase it or download the game again as you see fit.
The game was originally removed from both platforms due to a DMCA takedown by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, both who claim to own ideas found in Star Control: Origins. The reason they filed the DMCA in the first place was because they believe Star Control: Origins is violating copyrights on mechanics found in Star Control II, which they designed around 25 years ago.
Originally, Stardock acquired the Star Control franchise from Atari in 2013, including all trademark rights to the series, and registered copyrights for Star Control 3, and as Stardock explains it, Reiche and Ford do not have the rights to their creations. Stardock discussed the situation with both Valve and GOG, and as a result the game was restored on both platforms once more.
"We believe that gamers, developers and all those who believe in free artistic expression can see the potential harm self-evident in the claims Reiche and Ford are attempting to make here. The ultimate ends of such claims could potentially be disastrous for anyone wishing to make such games and not something we accept as a matter of course," wrote Stardock on its official blog.
The game is on sale and can be purchased now, and while Stardock is still involved with ongoing litigation, as the blog post states, you can pick up a copy now if you so choose.
"Thanks to the timely review of the situation by our partners at GOG and Valve, and taking the exceptional step in placing our game back for sale, despite ongoing litigation, we have been able to avoid having to lay off employees assigned to the project," said Stardock.
Star Control: Origins is available on PC.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Star Control: Origins is back on Steam and GOG
Ehhh, I would have written some of that differently. But yes, what is of no legal contest is that Stardock purchased the trademarks and the original content of Star Control 3 from Atari in 2013; however, any IP beyond that is what the continued legal contest circles around.
My 'short' summary of Star Control history with regard to rights and the legal fight up to Jan 2, 2019:
85 minutes of analysis from an actual copyright lawyer:
My personal opinion on the non-legal bits:
While I started off feeling that no one should buy the game until things have settled, I've come around to the opinion that no one should buy the game, or frankly, anything else from Stardock, even if Wardell, Stardock, et al. are cleared of wrong doing in this case.
In my initial posts I tried to keep it as close to the legal side of things as possible, but, hell, let's get dirty. I've come to the opinion that Stardock seems like a pretty sketchy company, in large part informed by the behaviors and leadership of its CEO and sole shareholder: Brad Wardell. Just to start with he is an alleged serial sexual harasser who also undeniably, directly and through aid of Stardock employees, continues to occasionally harass victims of Gamergate on social media. Which is, uh, what's the phrase? "Not okay."
Also based on Wardell's writings, the Stardock blogs, and the published opinion of the judge overseeing the case*, I think it's fair to say Wardell doesn't understand US copyright law in the least bit, even though he seems to believe that he does. In my opinion, he is the kind of person who doesn't actually do any research on a topic but will still declare themselves an expert on that topic that they are woefully ignorant on.
Other fun bits, I've seen numerous instances of him, under the user name draginol, defending pretty far right ideologies, actors, and states. I have even seen claim that in one instance in ~2004, he brought out the old bad actor bullshit claim that "Hitler was a socialist because 'National Socialist'," but I've not been able to find anything other than screenshots of that, so I won't say that's substantiated, but... it seems well within his character.
Beyond legal interpretations, he seems to me capacious, quick to anger when he doesn't get his way, and someone who absolutely hates being told "no." I realize this is probably the meanest thing I could say about him, but in my research, Wardell reminds me quite a bit of Donald Trump.
Point is, Wardell strikes me as a bad person and as the primary controller and beneficiary of a company that seems to behave in bad ways at his behest, perhaps folks shouldn't give money to Stardock.