Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is Protected By First Amendment, Judge Rules

June 26, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock Entertainment are free to use the word "rebellion" in the name of its latest real-time strategy game (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion) because it is protected by the First Amendment, a U.S. judge ruled last month. The news of the ruling was revealed by Ironclad co-owner Blair Fraser in a forum post celebrating the victory - as reported on by Polygon.

Rebellion Developments filed a lawsuit against Stardock Entertainment and Ironclad Games in 2012, alleging that its "unauthorized" use of the word infringed on the its trademark and could "cause confusion" and "deceive purchasers."

But in early May, U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts granted the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss, concluding that the use of the word "is expressive speech and is protected under the First Amendment."

In a post on the game's forums this week, Ironclad co-owner Blair Fraser explained why this court ruling matters to other game developers and publishers:

"This judgment is an important result for anyone developing games and for the gaming community as a whole," Fraser wrote. "First, it reaffirms that video games are protected by the First Amendment. Second, it establishes that artistically relevant video game names are also protected by the First Amendment so long as the name isn't explicitly misleading about the content of the game or who created it. Finally, it demonstrates that a First Amendment defense of a video game can be successfully applied to a motion to dismiss thus 'preventing a chilling effect on speech.' This last point is particularly important to smaller developers who cannot afford to enter a lengthy and expensive court battle. We are very proud that this judgment could help others in the future."

You can read the ruling here (PDF).

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is available on Steam.

Source: Polygon


Re: Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is ...

What an utterly inane lawsuit.  What bug crawled up Rebellion's ass to make them try to sue over this?

Re: Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is ...

The fact that no one has ever heard of them? I know I haven't heard of them before this lawsuit.

Re: Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is ...

I've heard of them, but only barely.

Given their games are usually low grade, and virtually non-existant, this was probably a grab at some cash since they can't make it anyway else.

The Sniper Elite games are theirs apparently.. while decent, def not AAA grade.. SE3 isn't too shabby anywho.

Re: Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is ...

I've still got to fire up 3.  Haven't had the time this week, but I had a blast with v2.  devil

Re: Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is ...

Its def a step up in a lot of ways, but also a step back. they opened it up, but at the cost of storytelling and often decent sniping nest locations :/

story that I've seen so far (and the maps for that matter) is just weak and uninteresting.

Just not as awesome being almost on the same level as the enemy, most of them horribly obscured, and to many obvious and conveniently placed noise makers to hide shots :/

But the sniping, unlock system, gear loadouts, and GFX are superb in a lot of ways.

TBH the boring maps kind of kill the mood that the GFX beautifully treats your eyes with in almost every other regard..

They have good idea's, but the execution is just terrible.

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