Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
December 20, 2014
arrowPress Releases
December 20, 2014
PR Newswire
View All
View All     Submit Event






If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 
The 3 contracts that every game developer needs
by Zachary Strebeck on 03/17/14 11:37:00 am   Featured Blogs

6 comments Share on Twitter Share on Facebook    RSS

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 
These three contracts should be in every game developer’s toolkit in order to help the development go smoothly and protect those assets.

Any business that operates as more than a sole proprietorship with one worker requires what may seem to be an overwhelming amount of contracts. However, these agreements are necessary in order to define all of the relationships, ensure that everyone is on the same page and give legal recourse should things go wrong. Even more important is retaining the rights to any intellectual property created by others.

These three contracts should be in every game developer’s toolkit in order to help the development go smoothly and protect those assets.

Partnership Agreement:

In any venture that involves more than one person, there should be a written agreement between the partners that answers the following questions, at a minimum:

  • What are the partners bringing into the partnership?;
  • How are the profits and losses apportioned?;
  • What is each partner’s ongoing contribution to the partnership?; and
  • What happens when the partnership dissolves?

Of course, there are many more aspects to a partnership that should be ironed out before beginning work. These questions, however, should be a good starting point for any discussion between potential partners.

Work-for-hire Agreement:

This can avoid any potential future claims for royalties from a contractor.

Often, a partnership hires a contractor to create game assets, such as art, music or programming. Absent an agreement and without an employer-employee relationship, the person who created those assets could be the owner of the copyright to that work.

Therefore, it is a smart move to have the contractor sign an agreement stating that the assets are “works-made-for-hire,” and assign all of the rights to the employer. This can avoid any potential future claims for royalties from a contractor.

Licensing Agreement:

The licensing relationship needs to be defined in detail.

When a developer is working with the intellectual property of another, such as a trademark or a copyrighted character, it is important to get the proper licensing agreements in place. A “handshake deal” is generally not enough.

The licensing relationship needs to be defined in detail. If the product is a huge success, failure to get everything in writing could mean some lengthy and costly litigation in the future, as the licensor tries to get their cut of the profits.

These are just a few of the many agreements that are necessary in order to avoid the common problems that can arise in game development. Future posts will explore more essential agreements and delve a little deeper into these three. In the meantime, to get these agreements drafted for your development project, contact a game lawyer who knows the ins and outs of your business.

A quick request: I'm trying to build my Twitter following, so if you enjoy this or any of my other blogs here or on my site, please tweet out the link to your followers! Thanks!


Related Jobs

En Masse Entertainment
En Masse Entertainment — Seattle, Washington, United States
[12.19.14]

Senior Product Manager
En Masse Entertainment
En Masse Entertainment — Seattle, Washington, United States
[12.19.14]

Network Engineer
Hangar 13
Hangar 13 — Novato, California, United States
[12.19.14]

Junior Level Architect - Temporary
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States
[12.19.14]

IT Administrator





Loading Comments

loader image