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Controversy In The Classroom: Whose IP Is It Anyway?
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Controversy In The Classroom: Whose IP Is It Anyway?

November 13, 2008 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

Graduates of schools that teach game development and design may have a leg up on others trying to break into the video game field... in many cases they created as classwork a game that could stir the interest of a studio or publisher.

But wait! Whose IP is that game anyway -- the student's or the college's?

At least one leader in the field -- Redmond, WA-based DigiPen Institute of Technology, which has produced  multiple award-winning games and the team that made Narbacular Drop and went on to create Portal for Valve -- says it's theirs.

While DigiPen is not alone in this rule, with major schools such as The Guildhall @ SMU also enforcing the rule, the majority of educators and others interviewed for this story took issue with that practice.

"I don't want to sound hokey, but this is a moral issue," says Vashon, WA-based Tom Buscaglia, who refers to himself as "The Game Attorney." "What you've got here is an institution that, while it claims to be there to teach and help unsophisticated students, is having them sign over ownership of their work. And that, to me, seems morally reprehensible which, frankly, is what's driving me to speak out -- my moral outrage."

What is also driving Buscaglia to speak out is that he represents Zach Aikman, president and co-founder of Seattle area-based studio Fishbeat, who is also a Spring 2008 DigiPen grad.

Aikman was one of four students at DigiPen who, for three semesters, developed a music-based shooting game for the PC called Synaesthete that won the best student game award at the 2008 Independent Games Festival, took second place in the 2007 Indie Game Showcase, and was a finalist in the Intel Game Demo Contest.


While Aikman and his team created the game with no intentions of publishing it -- since they were well aware that the school's policy was that it owned all IP developed there -- shortly after their game started winning awards, they began to be approached by publishers who believed the small casual game could easily be digitally distributed and sold for $5 or $10 a pop.

"We knew the school owned the copyright on all the art, the assets, and the code," recalls Aikman, "but you can't copyright play mechanics. So, after we graduated, we began talking about taking the game concept and starting from scratch with different code."

"We decided to incorporate, start a studio, and while we couldn't sell Synaesthete as it was, we hoped to use it to showcase our talents and try to talk some publishers into getting some funding to create something new."

What irks Aikman is that, after graduating, he and his team approached DigiPen, hoping it might change its policy and make an exception for the award-winning game, but the school wouldn't budge.

"They were dead set on not setting a precedent because, if they let us keep the IP, they were afraid other students would want the same. But I believe there's something wrong with the idea of DigiPen owning games it has no intention of doing anything with, while discouraging people like me who could really make use of our efforts and use it as a springboard to a career."

"It's like going to an art school and creating a painting while you're there. Does the school own the art that took so much of your time and effort? I don't see why the same thing shouldn't apply to games."

In another controversial IP ownership-related event in 2007, Slamdance Games Festival finalist Toblo withdrew its game from the event "on moral grounds" due to the removal of Super Columbine Massacre RPG from Slamdance's line-up. But DigiPen "overwrote our decision and readmitted Toblo to the Slamdance Festival", according to Toblo's creators, with its ability to do so technically due to its IP ownership of the game.

Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

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Jake Romigh
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While I am an advocate for a person's ownership of his/her ideas and hard work, places like Digipen have a lot to lose in possible lawsuits that could arise in the murky areas of student software licenses and untraceable work by a huge number of students on any given project.

And I'm not just talking about money, I'm also speaking about credibility. Digipen is, excuse me if I am wrong, regarded as a pretty good school for game design, art, etc. Lawsuits brought up against the college and other students because some other student who contributed a small bit of work didn't get a slice of profits on a student team published game could potentially cost a lot in money and put a black mark on the school's credibility as a whole. After all, wouldn't it make you think twice about attending a school if they had been tied up in messy lawsuits about IP?

I for one do not want to see greedy lawsuits tarnish these schools or our industry. I think that the advice of "if there is something dear to them, they should not present it as homework" is a great idea. Go to school, learn the skills, and keep a work journal in which you keep your and your peer's greatest ideas. Don't develop them until after college, and never underestimate the benefits of keeping in touch with the people you developed with in the past.

Of course, I also feel for these kids because they want to make names for themselves at these competitions, so they might want to dazzle the judges and on-lookers with their best. It's a rough world, I guess. I give my best to the kids struggling to make it after these issues blindsided them, I really do. But if these developers are bright enough to come up with these ideas, I have faith in them to improve upon the formula and create a better game because of it.

Jake Romigh
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One last thing I'd like to say before I get off the soapbox: if you are asking "Whose IP is it Anyway?", does the teacher who helped you in the code own a piece of that IP? Does your roommate who suggested a solution to a problem in your game own a piece of that IP? Does your friend you brainstormed with in the computer lab (but who wasn't on your team per-se) get a cut of that IP? When you sell your game later, will these people get credit? Will they get any money? How do you define who gets money and who doesn't when the game developed at a school is influenced by so many people? These are the gray areas I am talking about that create lawsuits if any of the people you've had contact with get greedy. It would be a mess.

And once again, because I really don't think I articulated this well enough, I know these developers are bright and creative, and the best of luck to you all. Do your best, put these games on your resume; you may not get money from these projects, but if the game shows your talent, it will lead to plenty of money in your future.

Taure Anthony
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is it all about the money???......or the passion as to why you're doing this in the first place?......I feel that the schools shouldn't own the IP but could display it in their brochures to show just what kind of talent comes from these schools.......nuff said

Tom Newman
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This is rediculous. I would not advise anyone to attend DigiPen on this principal alone. In all other fields of creative study, especially art, filmmaking, and writing, it is assumed that a student's work is the student's, not the schools. I do see the grey area where scientific research done by students is often also credited to the university, but the difference is that research is shared with the general population. This is just plain absurd by any form of logic, something you'd expect the people at DigiPen to be good at.

Christopher McLaren
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Arguing about all those who helped is a very grey area. What about all the artist inspiration that other artists get? Are you able to get IP for allowing an artist access to your pencils? Not really as you didn't do anything that they couldn't do anywhere else and this is where it is moraaly wrong.

Even if the IP was shared so that the school could benefit financially or have an input into how it is distributed. Seems when money become involved it becomes about who can make what....

Samuel Bushman
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Hmm, while I can agree with statements regarding the possible legal ambiguity that would result from students holding all ip of school projects, as a student I would like feel confident that any concept or world I create could be elaborated on in future projects after college. This is what bugs me about the IP issue. Money seems secondary to the possibility of retaining IP for future application.

At the same time, if students DID retain full IP and legal disputes did result, the development team would be responsible for dealing with the dispute, not the school. This puts a lot of responsibility on first-time developers to meticulously document the development of their project for possible future problems. Steps that require foresight such as this may not be the first thing on most student's minds.

Either way, there doesn't seem to be any real good solution to this problem. For now, I'll just hold off on any real development until graduation.

Simon Carless
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I will point out that, while not covered in this story, DigiPen seem to have allowed the Narbacular Drop creators to elaborate the concept of that game into Portal, without asking for any input or rights.

Of course, rewriting the code from scratch and changing the game's theme/name sufficiently could be a bummer if you weren't, say, porting it to the Source engine and adding an amusing psychopathic robot.

Logan Foster
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So lets get this straight.

As a student you pay a school like Digipen a tens of thousands of your hard earned dollars (or like most go seriously in debt to a bank or the government) to train you to be the next "up and coming game developer". You now spend the next few years of your life slaving away as they train you with their "industry" talent and have you to make a game as part of the cirriculm, but at the end of the day DigiPen, who you have paid to teach you this stuff, retains all the rights to the content that you as a students has created...Man where can I get in on this scam.

This is honestly too rich. Digipen doesn't pay the students a dime, they in fact make a nice profit off of all these poor schmucks who are hoping that they can live their dream as a digital content creator and get a fast track into the industry, and DigiPen (and other institutions like it) have the balls to go ahead and try to claim ownership on work that they have 0 involvement in creating!?

This is just too rich. Maybe the accountant sharks at the big AAA devs can contact Digipen and figure out how to do this full time, just think of all the profits they could make by making an entire team pay to "learn how to make games from industry veterns" (which I know EA has done in the past with Interns).

Someone should seriously see of these institutions get any government grants or financing and go complain there. Nothing will make these jerks reverse their opinion except when their government lifeline gets cut.

Meredith Katz
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The thing that bothers me about the whole deal DigiPen is making here is that it treats student work differently than other schools treat student work. In most schools, if you write a good essay, professors will encourage you to publish it with magazines in the field! If you create an excellent short video in a filmmaking class, go ahead and see what you can do with it, with their blessing. Etc, etc, etc. Why should games be a difference? A lot of the above have input of others in them (Heaven knows when I was toying with submitting an essay, my prof helped me edit it, because, he said, that's what he's there for -- helping get students off the ground). Aren't these programs designed to act as experience, and thus shouldn't the students' work be able to back them up as proof of experience?

Evan Kawa
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Personally, I don't mind this policy all that much. At the Guildhall we were told day one that this was the case and they explained it quite well I think. For starters, all of the content that we are actually creating here is being done on computers owned by the school (at least until we graduate) using educational licenses of software bought by them, and using their sound and mocap equipment. Legally I don't see how we could possibly be allowed to take a game we created here and sell it.

However, we were also told on day one by our executive director that while the policy applies to IP as well, technically there is no reason why that could not be released if we asked them to do so. In other words, they have no intention of holding on to a games IP for profit or any other purposes, and if we were approached by a publisher, "in theory" we would be able to work with the same IP once we cleared it with the University. We just wouldn't be able to re-use any of the content we created for it. As far as I know this has not happened yet, so I do not know if it is official policy, its just what I heard.

If I misunderstood, then I can see how this policy would be unfair to students. I cant imagine why a school would be steadfast in holding onto IP rights that they cant use for anything anyway. That said, we were also told that it is probably unwise to use our best ideas on anything here. Personally, I'm still learning a lot and I know that the work I am producing today is not the best I will be able to do. If I have an idea for a game that I am particularly attached to I would rather wait until I have the time and resources to develop it properly, instead of juggling it and several other projects at once. I also don't believe it really impedes my ability to start a career, as I will be judged on the quality of my work, not how compelling a particular IP is.

In conclusion, I think it makes perfect sense why a school would not want to deal with the legal hassles of releasing content that was created by it's students. It protects their own interests as well as the students, who (lets face it) probably know very little about the legal side of it. IP on the other hand, should be allowed to be released if necessary. I cant see a good reason for them to hold on to an idea indefinitely. Of course, I'm not a lawyer either......

Kyle Pittman
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Evan Kawa said it better than I could have. I don't know about other schools, but the Guildhall did a good job of explaining why this policy exists and assuring us that they would work with us if a case ever arose in which we needed the rights to our IP. To date, I don't believe there's been a need for this.

Having gone through the program, I'm perfectly content to let SMU and the Guildhall retain the rights to the titles I worked on. I would hope that they would keep to their word if a time ever came when I did want to revisit one of these properties, but in truth, I don't foresee that happening. I have dozens of other ideas I can pursue. Ideas are cheap. The knowledge and experience that I gained in school is far more valuable.

Simon Carless
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I think the Guildhall program produce largely mods which couldn't easily be turned into commercial games anyhow, because of mod engine licensing constraints. Doesn't that affect how you see things? (I don't have a horse in this race, I'm just interested because, you're right, Guildhall is another prominent school which has seen less complaints about this rule.)

Kyle Pittman
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That probably does factor into it somewhat, insofar as our senior team projects could not be picked up and published as-is as cheaply as if they were built from the ground up on original tech, and as such, I'd imagine it it discourages both students and publishers from pursuing these opportunities. Nevertheless, the game concept and design, level and art assets, and possibly even some portions of the code could still be ported to other engines or platforms. I suppose there would be some cost either way (licensing fee vs. additional development time), but I wouldn't say it completely rules out the possibility of adapting a Guildhall student game into a commercial product. And if one were to go the route of Narbacular Drop / Portal, redeveloping the core gameplay in a new engine and with a new setting, this would likely be a non-issue, anyway.

To venture off-topic a little bit, I would say the bigger issue is that Guildhall projects are generally a little more constrained in scope than what I've seen from other schools. I don't know what the curriculum is like at other places, but for the Guildhall team projects, the students are given a set of constraints over what their project may be (i.e., genre, single- or multi-player rules, supported input devices, and so on). This is intended to keep projects within a reasonable scope and simulate industry conditions. Unfortunately, it also means that students may not be quite as invested in the game as they would be if it were wholly their own invention. I suppose when the game design is largely predetermined by the curriculum, it's a little easier to let go of the IP.

Jason Danforth
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This IS a moral issue, but it's one that DigiPen seems to have taken the easy way out of. Why not a publishing seminar where they put the best games out there for companies to publish and the myriad of creators to benefit from. Maybe even make a publishing arm of DigiPen.

The moral issue here is that created work is sitting idle and no one is doing anything with it.

norb rozek
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"this is not as important to me as is maintaining the quality of the education"

I love this completely generic, meaningless quote. It can be appended to any sentence and thereby used to justify any decision of any kind. "Why did you throw all the textbooks in the garbage and fire all the teaching staff?" "We might lose some students owing to the fact that we have no textbooks and no teachers, but this is not as important to me as is maintaining the quality of the education."

Jake Forbes
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This isn't limited to the games industry. As a USC film school grad, it's the same deal, like Evan Kawa says above. For instance, George Lucas originally made THX 1138 as a student film, which USC still owns, but he was allowed to remake it as a commercial release and later release it as bonus content on the DVD.

Allen Seitz
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Writing majors keep their essays. Art majors keep their art and characters. Computer science majors keep their code. So why are games different? Copyrights can be jointly owned by two ore more people. And each can publish it, make derivatives, or license it without the other's consent. This can lead to broken friendships, but nothing illegal.

My college had the following policy:

1) If you made it using the schools resources, specifically the facilities or equipment, but also including the staff or students, then the college owns it. (But they'll share the money, if any.)

2) If you turned it in as your junior, senior, or humanities project, then the college owns it.

3) Otherwise you retain ownership of it.

4) The rights revert back you under certain conditions. (No on cares anymore, or 5 years, I forget. Patents excepted.)

I think that policy rocks.

Although in the Synaesthete example the point is moot anyway. Since the college fears lawsuits so much, it obviously won't sue its students. That'd be a HUGE black eye. So the Synaesthete team basically just stole their game back and the college did nothing.

Devon Carver
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I think that to rely on a policy of "don't use your best ideas while in school" is pretty ridiculous. You are there to learn how to make games and you are in an environment where you are supposedly being encouraged to do so. But if you never experience the process with something you actually think is good, how useful is that? Besides which if companies are using student games as indications of student ability, why is it fair to force students to choose between keeping their ideas back or making a game that makes them look like an attractive hire? If I had to sign over the rights of everything I wrote while I was in college, I never would have gone to my school. It's ridiculous. Find a way around the legal issues. Besides which, forcing the students to navigate all the tricky waters of contracts and crediting is good practice for the industry and could help us get more standard practices.

Reid Kimball
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I'm surprised that colleges don't use these situations to further a students education in the world of game development. It's something a lot of pro's struggle with, trying to get a game published and handling complicated legal issues.

Why not have a track within the game dev program that focuses on legal issues and students can concentrate in that to become a game industry lawyer? Once you have enough lawyer students and professors the game dev and lawyer students can work together to learn how to get new IP published.

Jason Pineo
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I was thinking how considerate it is of DigiPen to give students this good real-world experience of what it will be like to work in the industry with large companies who want you working for them instead of *with* them.

E Zachary Knight
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Game law isn't that different from any other legal profession involving creative IP. So such a track would be kind of pointless.

But I agree that all students should have a legal course or two especially involving trademarks, copyrights, patents and contracts. These would certainly help students better navigate the legal issues involving game development.

Lewis Pulsipher
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Many people misunderstand copyright. I've had to research copyright law extensively because of games and articles I've had published, but I am not a lawyer. For a more authoritative opinion (which matches mine, as it happens) read what Jim Charne, the lawyer who writes the legal advice column for IGDA, has to say. See for his take on this question, which in my words is "these schools have no basis in copyright law for claiming any ownership, and I don't understand why they'd even think of trying." The notion that a school owns the copyright because their equipment/software was used is ridiculous, in my view. The idea that students attend a school to find cut-rate ways to make games is laughable. Doesn't attending school cost the students a lot of money?

All of my game-related work other than teaching has been on a freelance basis, and in my view no self-respecting freelance author/creator EVER allows his IP to be transferred permanently to someone else unless there is absolutely no alternative--or the lump-sum payment is ridiculously high. "Assurances" often don't matter when money is actually on the line.

I strongly advise prospective students to avoid any school that claims to own the student's work. Always carefully read what you're asked to sign, but better yet, ascertain beforehand what the school's policy is and don't attend one with a doubtful policy. Anytime you attend a school that is owned by one or several individuals, you need to be especially careful, about *everything*. If you sign away your rights, it's your fault.

However, there is a reason for a school to be cautious. Publishers routinely require creators, who pitch a game to the publisher, to sign an agreement protecting the publisher if the publisher should later publish a game that might be construed as similar in any way. This protects the publisher from frivolous lawsuits by game creators who don't understand that game ideas cannot be protected by copyright in any case. ( While a school doesn't publish games, there might be occasions when a student or former student would sue a school for use of his or her game for other purposes. So the school would be wise to require students to sign a document equivalent in some ways to the document creators must sign before submitting a game/game concept to a publisher. That is what the IDGA should work on.

Nonetheless, like Tom Buscaglia I feel IP ownership is a moral issue, and my gut feeling is that most of these schools are just hoping to steal something from their students, to gain control of something they didn't earn by their own efforts. Digi-pen overriding the creators of Toblo appears to be just one of those cases.

Dr. Lew Pulsipher

Jay Moore
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This isn't a grey area. Ownership of IP isn't something that should be required of students in addition to paying for an education.

While I was responsible for licensing agreements with a previous employer we chose not to do business with DigiPen for this very policy.

In Universities where they retain the ownership of IP with faculty (people they pay) they almost universally have a method for tech transfer and royalty participation in the exploitation of the IP with the inventor.

While DigiPen hasn't exploited the IP they have ownership of, it is clear they haven't been good stewards of it either. For example, they haven't made the choice to vet and license back that IP to the creators who have the opportunity to exploit it commercially.

They make it clear that before you can gain admission to their program you must sign away your IP rights (this is once you're been accepted to their program and from what I've heard, when you don't have time to easily pursue alternatives during that school year).

I believe this policy should tarnish the DigiPen brand. Students and employers fully informed of this morally reprehensible policy should make it clear this is a deal killer and not do business with DigiPen or other programs that relieve the students of their intellectual property rights.

Thomas OConnor
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As this is my fifth year at DigiPen, and someone who is working very hard on making a success game project that could follow in the footsteps of Nabacular Drop and Synastheate, I have some very strong feelings about the issue. I love going to this school and I've known about the contract and it's problems from day one, but administratively there have been some decisions that are still blind sighting me.

There's two parts of this "school contract" that are not being separated clearly enough: commercializing student games and students retaining IP of their work.

Not being able to sell the titles we make during our time at DigiPen is fine. In fact, it's absolutely for the best, because the drive to make money would definitely interfere with making the most of our education. And alot of the SDK's, API's, development software and hardware is used under academic licenses, restricting any commercial purposes. Claude is at least partially right about that, he is protecting us. But they do severely limit where the game can be distributed (DigiPen's digital gallery only), even if any other website still wouldn't charge. This is why our game Froggle was pulled from the Intel Game Demo Contest after we submitted it, why Toblo was resubmitted when they pulled out, and why there is a large feeling of disrespect between students and administration.

The only thing we can hope for with this part of the problem is that maybe someday the school will lighten up, and perhaps allow the code we wrote to be available to everyone through an open-source license, or let companies like Valve distribute our titles over Steam for free (everyone would love a student games channel).

The other side of the coin - who gets to own the IP after graduation - is much hairier. Sure my team and I can take the mechanics from Froggle and do something different, but not all of us have the engines and writers and Robin Walkers of Valve to remake it in the Half-Life universe. But we won't, and the next best thing I can do leverage the success we find at school (*cross your fingers*) is to retain the game's title and characters so we build brand strength.

I'll stop ranting on the note that I do still love going to this school. There is nowhere else you could go to learn this much about making games, because so many talented people come here and the one thing that the school does well IMO is make us get good at working really really hard. The students learn to stand on each other for support, the teachers (most of them) learn to respect how artistic people learn for themselves and focus on providing support. Other teachers kick your ass with high expectations, all with the goal that if you leave DigiPen with a degree, you damn well better deserve it. There are some really stupid things going on in the higher decision making levels, but that's no reason for the credentials of DigiPen's quality of education to suffer.

Ian Schreiber
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I can understand the policy being for the students' protection (any IP-related lawsuits could be handled by the school rather than a student team, and they ARE much more equipped to deal with this). However, that is no excuse for not having an IP-transfer policy in place for those rare cases where exceptional student work could be commercialized by the student team. Yes, if the work was created with educational-licensed software, it will have to be redone in any case; but that is the responsibility of the dev team, not the school. Note that code is not the only kind of IP here -- there are also original art and character designs that should not have any such issues.

The whole argument that IP use belongs to the university because the students used school computing resources doesn't hold water, as Jim Charne pointed out in his column.

And that leaves the argument that this is a school and not a development shop, and students shouldn't be under pressure to monetize their projects -- they should focus on their education. But this is a misdirection of sorts; the question is not whether students are EXPECTED to make a sellable game. The issue here is that some exceptional students WILL make sellable games, regardless of educational policy, and what do you do in that case? Allowing students to take their projects forward after graduation is a far cry from requiring them to do so.

Ethan Kennerly
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In the USC School of Cinema and the Interactive Media Division, I've heard conflicting opinions from students and teachers. Since I've personally invested the last year and a half of my labor at HOME using FREELY available software to construct my thesis, I wanted a clearer answer. According to the USC IP policies (, all students own their own work unless: 1) USC paid them, 2) it was a film or music, or 3) facilities were used to make the work (e.g., shoot a film on their stage with their equipment).

If a student work contains software, patentable subject matter, one or more inventions or other

intellectual property and the student used a significant amount of USC facilities, funds, resources or

supplies in developing the work, the University owns the underlying intellectual property in the

student work.

The University owns the copyright on any student-produced films or other audiovisual work. The

student author, though, retains ownership subject to a nonexclusive license to the University of

rights to the treatment, script or other written work product related to any such audiovisual work.

That was better than the rumors, but still troubling what "significant" means, especially in the context of software. USC has full film production facilities, where you could make a film here. But it's software production facilities are not comprehensive.

The FAQ ( reiterates and covers a bit more.

Even though I don't plan to commercialize my thesis, and think that (usually) aiming to sell a game from within school is counterproductive to learning game design: I don't agree with those policies in full, and personally, I am operating under the fair and reasonable belief that my effort is my own.

David D'Ambrosio
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This IP policy is pretty much universal. Anything you do for any college belongs to the school. Most stuff they don't deem worth defending (they don't care about your freshman Shakespeare essays), but if something is profitable, they'll definitely go after it. This is part of how they make money and advance research. I'm a computer science graduate student that has co-invented something with the potential to be profitable (so the code is now the school's property). We got to sit down with some university lawyers and hammer out an agreement so that we all got some royalties. It sounds like these guys are just trying to skirt around giving the university a share of the profits in a game they own and helped create.

Carlos Ovalle
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This IP policy is not universal by any means. Transfer of copyright in the US only occurs under certain conditions, including the creation of work that falls under the "work for hire" doctrine. Other than those certain conditions, you have to sign over copyright from your work for someone else to own it. Merely having a policy is not sufficient. In my experience, most universities do not require their students to sign such a contract.

kevin williams
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Wow things that bad after TGS that there are no real news features?

The education authority (UK) has already addressed IP ownership of all work regarding students - go over to:

for the full story on its application. This is a real non-feature and makes me wonder about the rumors concerning Gamasutra's editorial process!


Peter Stirling
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@Jake Romigh

"does the teacher who helped you in the code own a piece of that IP?"


"Does your roommate who suggested a solution to a problem in your game own a piece of that IP?"


"Does your friend you brainstormed with in the computer lab (but who wasn't on your team per-se) get a cut of that IP?"


The reason being is that these are real things that happen in the industry. If my girlfriend gives me an idea in a project i do at work does she get a cut? If i look up the syntax of a function in a forum does the poster get a cut? If i have an interesting discussion with someone which leads to me writing a book do they get a cut?

These people are all passively and voluntarily involving themselves. And in the case of the teacher where they may not do it if they weren't the teacher, are getting paid anyway. If you use their advice in your next project they should rightfully get a cut in that as well. Following this logic, my first IT teacher that taught FOR loops and IF statements should be a millionaire by now.

I realise that many people go above and beyond to help people and these examples are on a smaller scale, but the underlying intention is the same. If someone contributed a large amount to the project there is a moral obligation to repay them in some way.

I realise this is not a simple issue with a simple answer but i feel that IP is so wrapped up bureaucracy that the people who are putting in the hard work are getting short changed.

Craig Stern
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If one of DigiPen's students made an infringing work using DP's equipment, DP would be on the hook for contributory infringment only if DP had knowledge (constructive or otherwise) that its equipment was being used to make infringing works. I fail to see how transferring ownership of the work to DP would in any way help DP argue lack of knowledge. If anything, that fact would probably hurt them. Perhaps this is a scheme to mitigate damages or to make a fair use defense more colorable by preventing market displacement. Regardless, if the goal is to keep DP from being sued to begin with, I don't see how this policy could possibly help them.

Tom Buscaglia
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Well since the school owns the IP, the IGF rules that says: "Each Entrant may enter only one (1) game in the Contest." limits each school that owns the games submitted to the IGF to only one submission per school since legally the school, not the student team, is the "Entrant."

Or maybe games owns by schools themselves (large for profit and non profit companies) should just be bared from entering!

Daniel Livingstone
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Kevin's comment and Guardian article link are irrelevant - that article is about the IP ownership of members of STAFF of the university, nothing at all to do with student work.

I think this is an important issue - I think it can be fair for universities to request students provide the university with free and permanent rights to make use of student projects for promotional purposes. Students should be allowed to keep their IP as a general rule.

Brandon Van Every
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I think the idea that, say, a film school would try to retain IP rights to student work is laughable. What's so special about the game industry?

John Gordon
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This IP policy is not effective... I dont think, that it is good idea