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My contributor's agreement - feedback? And feel free to reuse!


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#1 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 688

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

Looking at various contributor agreements out there, from Valve's Team Fortress 2 to Apache Foundation, I drafted a plain-language one for my game. I'd appreciate it if you guys could have a quick look and let me know if there's anything I blatantly missed / erred on. And feel free to re-use!

In a nutshell: it's a non-commercial game (which will hopefully have commercialized sequels) and I have no problem with artists reusing the art they create as a portfolio or in other projects, *provided* they do not end up giving an exclusive license to someone else that would retroactively affect the game and force us to pull it down in the future.


Concern / Question: is it wise to leave profits completely out for now? Should I provisionally provide some basic split (i.e. Company keeps x%, rest is distributed equally among all contributors) JUST in case?
 

Contribution Agreement

Thank you for your interested in contributing to the game! The purpose of this agreement is to establish and clarify the relationship and intellectual property licensing rights between XXX ("Company") and a person or entity ("Contributor") when submitting a contribution ("Contribution") for the XXX video game ("Game"). Please read it carefully and submit a signed and scanned copy to XXX@XXX.com.


Description and License
The Game, currently a non-commercial, non-profit venture, is accepting voluntary Contributions in multiple areas such as graphics, writing or art. There is no compensation for submitting a Contribution and Company may or may not choose to use it in the final Game as it sees fit. If the Company chooses to distribute the Game including the Contribution for a fee, it may set the price for such distribution in its sole discretion, and a separate agreement explaining the Contributor’s share of the profits and payments would be drafted.

By submitting a Contribution, the Contributor grants the Company a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, no-charge, royalty-free, assignable right and license to a) use, copy, reproduce, distribute, sell, lease, rent, publicly display, publicly perform, modify, and create derivative works from the Contribution in any media, b) identify the Contributor as the source of the Contribution, and c) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.

Once submitted, Contributor may request that his Contribution be removed from the Game or any related media, but Company is not obligated to do so and may choose to keep using the Contribution with the terms outlined above.

However, the Contributor retains the right to use the Contributions as they wish, even in the context of another game. This Agreement does not grant the Contributo any rights to any other Company materials or the finished Game.

Types of Contributions
Contributions include but are not limited to any product, design, document, text, writings, artwork, image, drawing, photograph, animation, texture, video, musical composition, audio, sound effect, audiovisual work, files created by 3rd party tools (such as graphml created with yEd Graph Editor), proprietary files used by the Game and its engine, or any other files and assets used in creation of the Game or being distributed with the Game to the end users.

Confidentiality and Non-disclosure
The Company may choose to share "confidential materials" regarding the Game with the Contributor, such as design documents, development binaries of the Game and its tools, files and assets used by the Game, other Contributions, development and marketing plans, timelines, policies, strategies etc.

By accepting this agreement, the Contributor also agrees not to copy, share, lease, rent or distribute any such "confidential materials," take any screenshots, or disclose any information regarding the game, its assets, story, characters, gameplay, mechanics etc. to any 3rd parties besides themselves, unless given explicit written permission by the Company.

Changes to the Agreement
This Agreement is subject to change. Company will do its best to notify all Contributors every time changes are made to this Agreement. Company will not knowingly change the terms of the Contribution without attempting to notify the Contributors. All Contributors are subject to the most current agreement.



IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this Agreement to be duly executed.
        You                                                               Company
Name:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Date:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Signature: _______________________                                             _______________________

Any thoughts/feedback?

Edited by Koobazaur, 26 February 2013 - 01:01 PM.

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19006

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

  1. Hopefully this was an oversight --- You limit payment to a specific game, but you grant yourself perpetual ownership to use it over any project, not just that game.
  2. Your relationship section is incorrect for a submission or contribution agreement.  Just pointing out that this is NOT a collaboration agreement.
  3. Your copyright symbol is bizzare.  It should not be there, and if you intended it to mean something you need to fix it.
  4. "You" is poorly defined for anyone but a single person.  It does not cover companies, groups, or other collective contributors.
  5. There are no remedies to the contribution agreement portion; they only appear to cover the NDA segment.
  6. The initial contributions segment is awkwardly worded.
  7. "Europoean Union consumers"?  What are those, exactly?  Looks like a copy/paste error.
  8. Your NDA segment says it is because you "wish to explore a business possibility", which is contrary to the statements immediately before it.
  9. Your NDA segment applies only to The Game, not to anything else.  Just like #1 above, this is another critical flaw.

 

I'm not a lawyer and I can already find multiple nasty flaws.  I'm sure a qualified attorney could find many more issues with it.

 

An agreement is only valuable if you have the ability to enforce it.  If you do not have the money to hire an attorney now (for roughly $150 or so) you definitely won't have the money to actually enforce the agreement.

 

In summary:  It shows that you are not doing business in a professional way, and it destroys whatever credibility you may already have.


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#3 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

I wouldn't make it relate to just the original contribution.  Do you live in California?  Unless there is a Californian law you like its best to make the law of the state the company/you live in. 



#4 Plethora   Members   -  Reputation: 679

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

An agreement is only valuable if you have the ability to enforce it. If you do not have the money to hire an attorney now (for roughly $150 or so) you definitely won't have the money to actually enforce the agreement.

 

Out of curiosity and an interest in something I will likely be exploring in the near future, I'm curious about a seeming contradiction on this topic in the forums here.  Specifically, it seems to be the opinion of those in the know that any collaboration at all should have some sort of agreement in writing.  I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all.  Is that fair to say?

 

In this post, I understand your critique of the document presented just fine.  I am just struggling with how one should proceed if they intend to go forward with some kind of informal, non-commital partnership with someone else.  Sure, I could afford to hire a lawyer for a $150 fee to write something up for me, but at the same time, if I was going to start putting money into my project out of my pocket, I can't say hiring a lawyer to write a collaboration agreement would be near the top of my priorities list.

 

To summarize, I understand that the legal system is tricky, and protecting one's self, one's project, and one's potential investment in said project are all important.  I just feel like there should be some middle-ground type of agreement between having no arrangement at all, and having a legal professional endorsed document, whereby I could collaborate with someone else without having to seek legal help.  Is this just plain not feasible?


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#5 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

  1. Hopefully this was an oversight --- You limit payment to a specific game, but you grant yourself perpetual ownership to use it over any project, not just that game.
  2. Your relationship section is incorrect for a submission or contribution agreement.  Just pointing out that this is NOT a collaboration agreement.
  3. Your copyright symbol is bizzare.  It should not be there, and if you intended it to mean something you need to fix it.
  4. "You" is poorly defined for anyone but a single person.  It does not cover companies, groups, or other collective contributors.
  5. There are no remedies to the contribution agreement portion; they only appear to cover the NDA segment.
  6. The initial contributions segment is awkwardly worded.
  7. "Europoean Union consumers"?  What are those, exactly?  Looks like a copy/paste error.
  8. Your NDA segment says it is because you "wish to explore a business possibility", which is contrary to the statements immediately before it.
  9. Your NDA segment applies only to The Game, not to anything else.  Just like #1 above, this is another critical flaw.

 

I'm not a lawyer and I can already find multiple nasty flaws.  I'm sure a qualified attorney could find many more issues with it.

 

An agreement is only valuable if you have the ability to enforce it.  If you do not have the money to hire an attorney now (for roughly $150 or so) you definitely won't have the money to actually enforce the agreement.

 

In summary:  It shows that you are not doing business in a professional way, and it destroys whatever credibility you may already have.

 

Better to have something in writing signed by each party  than nothing or a he said she said situation.  So if it comes down to going with a self drafted Agreement or none due financial constraints, draft an agreement yourself. There are a lot of laws to fill in gaps in an agreement they don't always work but something is better than nothing.



#6 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:05 PM

An agreement is only valuable if you have the ability to enforce it. If you do not have the money to hire an attorney now (for roughly $150 or so) you definitely won't have the money to actually enforce the agreement.

 

Out of curiosity and an interest in something I will likely be exploring in the near future, I'm curious about a seeming contradiction on this topic in the forums here.  Specifically, it seems to be the opinion of those in the know that any collaboration at all should have some sort of agreement in writing.  I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all.  Is that fair to say?

 

In this post, I understand your critique of the document presented just fine.  I am just struggling with how one should proceed if they intend to go forward with some kind of informal, non-commital partnership with someone else.  Sure, I could afford to hire a lawyer for a $150 fee to write something up for me, but at the same time, if I was going to start putting money into my project out of my pocket, I can't say hiring a lawyer to write a collaboration agreement would be near the top of my priorities list.

 

To summarize, I understand that the legal system is tricky, and protecting one's self, one's project, and one's potential investment in said project are all important.  I just feel like there should be some middle-ground type of agreement between having no arrangement at all, and having a legal professional endorsed document, whereby I could collaborate with someone else without having to seek legal help.  Is this just plain not feasible?

 

It's feasible, what there seems not to be is  common used standard collaborative forms in this situation.  If there was an indie developer association, they would be a great place to head something up like this.  Just like how real estate forms that are used for purchase and sale agreements for residential property are standardized and  maintained by the real estate association of a given state.  


Edited by tboxx, 22 February 2013 - 04:06 PM.


#7 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19006

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

1) Specifically, it seems to be the opinion of those in the know that any collaboration at all should have some sort of agreement in writing.  I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all.  Is that fair to say?
 
2) I am just struggling with how one should proceed if they intend to go forward with some kind of informal, non-commital partnership with someone else.  ... I can't say hiring a lawyer to write a collaboration agreement would be near the top of my priorities list.
 
3) To summarize, ... some middle-ground type of agreement between having no arrangement at all, and having a legal professional endorsed document, whereby I could collaborate with someone else without having to seek legal help.  Is this just plain not feasible?

 

1) Correct.  An oral agreement is legally binding but weak.  A written agreement is also legally binding and much stronger.  Assuming the group actually succeeds at creating something of value, there is a very high likelyhood that somebody will feel slighted by the money they get.  If it succeeds in any significant way and there is no written agreement, there is a good chance it will go to court.  Even if the money involved is a few hundred dollars, the $20 or whatever your local small claims court requires is such a small barrier that it is easy to sue.  Without a written agreement, a judge will listen to the oral arguments of 'he said - she said', and then likely split the money right down the middle.

 

2) If you are unable or unwilling to get a proper collaboration agreement written, the next best thing (very distant 'next') is to get a plain-language agreement written.  In plain language describe what you are doing, who will be in charge of the assets when someone leaves, the distribution of funds if it becomes successful, and so on.  

 

3) Yes, you can write your own document.  Even when written in plain language it is legally binding.  The problem with a legal template like the one in the original post can cause problems.  This leads directly to the other reply:

 

Better to have something in writing signed by each party  than nothing or a he said she said situation.  So if it comes down to going with a self drafted Agreement or none due financial constraints, draft an agreement yourself. There are a lot of laws to fill in gaps in an agreement they don't always work but something is better than nothing.

 

No, it is not better than nothing.  It can actually be WORSE than nothing.

 

When a document is written in "plain language", basically a combination of emails and other informal writings, that is still legally binding.  The final interpretation is up to a judge.  Because it is written in plain language the judge can consider the intent of the statement.  If it is clear that you intended one thing but actually wrote something slightly different, the judge can interpret it according to intent.

 

When a document is written in legal jargon, it is also legally binding.  However, the judge is NOT free to interpret it based on plain language intent.  If the document only assigns three rights and does not specifically assign a fourth right, then that fourth right is withheld.  The judge cannot assume it was an oversight, and must proceeded exactly as written.

 

Many locations will limit the value of plain language agreements to something like $50,000, assuming that if something is of that much value you would have been competent enough to get a lawyer to draft it for you.

 

 

If you are not a lawyer and you want to make a written agreement, use plain language to clearly state the intents of the agreement.


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#8 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17262

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

Fantastic responses.

Many locations will limit the value of plain language agreements to something like $50,000, assuming that if something is of that much value you would have been competent enough to get a lawyer to draft it for you.

Limited in what way? That the person suing can only recover up to ~$50k (or whatever the limit) owed? Which party is limited?

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#9 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19006

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

Fantastic responses.

Many locations will limit the value of plain language agreements to something like $50,000, assuming that if something is of that much value you would have been competent enough to get a lawyer to draft it for you.

Limited in what way? That the person suing can only recover up to ~$50k (or whatever the limit) owed? Which party is limited?

 

The first example that comes up in Google:

 

 

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Plain Language Consumer Contract Act.
...
(b) Exclusions.--This act does not apply to the following: 
 (1) Real estate conveyance documents and contracts, deeds and mortgages, real estate certificates of title and title insurance contracts. 
 (2) Consumer contracts involving amounts of more than $50,000. 
 (3) Marital agreements. 
 (4) Contracts to buy securities. 
 (5) Documents used by financial institutions, which financial institutions are subject to examination or other supervision by Federal or State regulatory authorities, or documents used by affiliates, subsidiaries or service corporations of such financial institutions. 
 (6) Contracts for insurance or insurance policies. 
 (7) Contracts subject to examination or other supervision by the Pennsylvania  Public Utility Commission or by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 
 (8) Commercial leases. 
 

 

 

In other words, for this state, plain language contracts are allowed for almost anything you could use a contract for.  You can use plain language agreements for everything except those few items.  If your usage is excluded, a formal legal agreement is required.


Edited by frob, 22 February 2013 - 06:16 PM.

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#10 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

1) Specifically, it seems to be the opinion of those in the know that any collaboration at all should have some sort of agreement in writing.  I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all.  Is that fair to say?
 
2) I am just struggling with how one should proceed if they intend to go forward with some kind of informal, non-commital partnership with someone else.  ... I can't say hiring a lawyer to write a collaboration agreement would be near the top of my priorities list.
 
3) To summarize, ... some middle-ground type of agreement between having no arrangement at all, and having a legal professional endorsed document, whereby I could collaborate with someone else without having to seek legal help.  Is this just plain not feasible?

 

1) Correct.  An oral agreement is legally binding but weak.  A written agreement is also legally binding and much stronger.  Assuming the group actually succeeds at creating something of value, there is a very high likelyhood that somebody will feel slighted by the money they get.  If it succeeds in any significant way and there is no written agreement, there is a good chance it will go to court.  Even if the money involved is a few hundred dollars, the $20 or whatever your local small claims court requires is such a small barrier that it is easy to sue.  Without a written agreement, a judge will listen to the oral arguments of 'he said - she said', and then likely split the money right down the middle.

 

2) If you are unable or unwilling to get a proper collaboration agreement written, the next best thing (very distant 'next') is to get a plain-language agreement written.  In plain language describe what you are doing, who will be in charge of the assets when someone leaves, the distribution of funds if it becomes successful, and so on.  

 

3) Yes, you can write your own document.  Even when written in plain language it is legally binding.  The problem with a legal template like the one in the original post can cause problems.  This leads directly to the other reply:

 

Better to have something in writing signed by each party  than nothing or a he said she said situation.  So if it comes down to going with a self drafted Agreement or none due financial constraints, draft an agreement yourself. There are a lot of laws to fill in gaps in an agreement they don't always work but something is better than nothing.

 

No, it is not better than nothing.  It can actually be WORSE than nothing.

 

When a document is written in "plain language", basically a combination of emails and other informal writings, that is still legally binding.  The final interpretation is up to a judge.  Because it is written in plain language the judge can consider the intent of the statement.  If it is clear that you intended one thing but actually wrote something slightly different, the judge can interpret it according to intent.

 

When a document is written in legal jargon, it is also legally binding.  However, the judge is NOT free to interpret it based on plain language intent.  If the document only assigns three rights and does not specifically assign a fourth right, then that fourth right is withheld.  The judge cannot assume it was an oversight, and must proceeded exactly as written.

 

Many locations will limit the value of plain language agreements to something like $50,000, assuming that if something is of that much value you would have been competent enough to get a lawyer to draft it for you.

 

 

If you are not a lawyer and you want to make a written agreement, use plain language to clearly state the intents of the agreement.

 

 

 

When I say something is better than nothing I am implying that a plain lanague agreement would included.  I disagree about stringing together something from emails.



#11 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

 

Fantastic responses.

Many locations will limit the value of plain language agreements to something like $50,000, assuming that if something is of that much value you would have been competent enough to get a lawyer to draft it for you.

Limited in what way? That the person suing can only recover up to ~$50k (or whatever the limit) owed? Which party is limited?

 

The first example that comes up in Google:

 

 

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Plain Language Consumer Contract Act.
...
(b) Exclusions.--This act does not apply to the following: 
 (1) Real estate conveyance documents and contracts, deeds and mortgages, real estate certificates of title and title insurance contracts. 
 (2) Consumer contracts involving amounts of more than $50,000. 
 (3) Marital agreements. 
 (4) Contracts to buy securities. 
 (5) Documents used by financial institutions, which financial institutions are subject to examination or other supervision by Federal or State regulatory authorities, or documents used by affiliates, subsidiaries or service corporations of such financial institutions. 
 (6) Contracts for insurance or insurance policies. 
 (7) Contracts subject to examination or other supervision by the Pennsylvania  Public Utility Commission or by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 
 (8) Commercial leases. 
 

 

 

In other words, for this state, plain language contracts are allowed for almost anything you could use a contract for.  You can use plain language agreements for everything except those few items.  If your usage is excluded, a formal legal agreement is required.

 

You are confusing the point of the statute in PA and what a plain language contract means. That Act, which is states this outside of your quote, requires consumer agreements to be written in plain language unless it falls under one of the exceptions you quoted. The difference is contracts are not required to be written in legal
jargon to be effective/enforceable Generally. So this law you cited does not create the ability to have an enforceable plain language agreement because that is the general rule but rather is designed to require companies contracting with consumers to write the agreements so that the consumer can easily understand it. So an agreement in PA for over $50k to a consumer could be written in plain language could be enforceable. $50,000 is not a cap on the enforceability of a consumer contract, it means a company/person contracting with the consumer is no longer required towrite the agreement in plain language and can write the agreement in
legal jargon.


 


 


Edited by tboxx, 23 February 2013 - 10:44 AM.


#12 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2673

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all. Is that fair to say?

 

Not any agreement in writing. The simple rule of thumb is get an appropriately qualified lawyer to do your agreements up. The second simple rule of thumb is if you cannot for some unknowable reason get a lawyer to do this for you. Then get an written agreement between you and the other party.

 

However just as I would not let a person trained in first aid perform an appendectomy on me, nor would I want someone not trained in the use of legalese to cobble together an agreement in legalese.

 

 

If for whatever reason you are going to write up an agreement without utilising a lawyer - then piss off the legalese and write it in the simplest, plainest language you can so that if and when you go to court over a dispute it is less open to issues of interpretation (hopefully) and you are less likely to have somehow sold your body for live experimentation use.



#13 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:45 AM

I would even say the impression I get is that any agreement in writing is better than no agreement at all. Is that fair to say?

 

Not any agreement in writing. The simple rule of thumb is get an appropriately qualified lawyer to do your agreements up. The second simple rule of thumb is if you cannot for some unknowable reason get a lawyer to do this for you. Then get an written agreement between you and the other party.

 

However just as I would not let a person trained in first aid perform an appendectomy on me, nor would I want someone not trained in the use of legalese to cobble together an agreement in legalese.

 

 

If for whatever reason you are going to write up an agreement without utilising a lawyer - then piss off the legalese and write it in the simplest, plainest language you can so that if and when you go to court over a dispute it is less open to issues of interpretation (hopefully) and you are less likely to have somehow sold your body for live experimentation use.

 

Good point.  I think a few different collaboration agreement templates in plain language that covers all the legal jargon would be a wonderful
resource. I am willing to help out with it but it is going to require a group of folks comprised of lawyers and  non lawyers.


 


 


Edited by tboxx, 23 February 2013 - 10:51 AM.


#14 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2673

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

I think a few different collaboration agreement templates in plain language that covers all the legal jargon would be a wonderful
resource.

 

Will never happen except in the most basic of contractual situations. The reason being is that "honouring the intent" of a contract is extraordinarily open to interpretation on both sides. The legalese is a stylised form of language that has arisen to given specific and unique meanings to terminologies used and how they are used so as to rigidly define the limitations/restraints upon which a contract is formed. Many lawyers do not know themselves how to craft airtight contract which is why there is often so much dispute in the court systems. Your only hope in creating a very simple plain language is that the courts themselves will enable its intent to be honoured over a legal "loophole" dugout by a professional lawyer engaged against you. There are precedents for this which is why plain language is the only recommendation that counts outside of a lawyer....and it still comes down to the reality of the fact that you should be seeing a lawyer.

 

 

 

edit: I forgot to mention the other aspect of why sorry. Normal everyday language in any language spoken tends to have a multiple set of interpretations which can depend a number of different factors and is very open to misinterpretation between two or more parties without anyone having realised that they all have a different understanding of what had been said.


Edited by Stormynature, 23 February 2013 - 11:07 AM.


#15 tboxx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

Stormynature, on 23 Feb 2013 - 12:02, said:
Stormynature, on 23 Feb 2013 - 12:02, said:

tboxx, on 23 Feb 2013 - 11:50, said:
tboxx, on 23 Feb 2013 - 11:50, said:

I think a few different collaboration agreement templates in plain language that covers all the legal jargon would be a wonderful
resource.

Will never happen except in the most basic of contractual situations. The reason being is that "honouring the intent" of a contract is extraordinarily open to interpretation on both sides. The legalese is a stylised form of language that has arisen to given specific and unique meanings to terminologies used and how they are used so as to rigidly define the limitations/restraints upon which a contract is formed. Many lawyers do not know themselves how to craft airtight contract which is why there is often so much dispute in the court systems. Your only hope in creating a very simple plain language is that the courts themselves will enable its intent to be honoured over a legal "loophole" dugout by a professional lawyer engaged against you. There are precedents for this which is why plain language is the only recommendation that counts outside of a lawyer....and it still comes down to the reality of the fact that you should be seeing a lawyer.



edit: I forgot to mention the other aspect of why sorry. Normal everyday language in any language spoken tends to have a multiple set of interpretations which can depend a number of different factors and is very open to misinterpretation between two or more parties without anyone having realised that they all have a different understanding of what had been said.

Legalese can be explained in plain language to an extent. Contracts disputes end up in court for many number of reasons some of which have zero to do with how the agreement was drafted. People use legal forms every day in a ton of industries. You can get model agreements for a will, forming a company, a healthcare proxy etc. The reality of the fact is not everyone can afford to pay an attorney for legal work and want some type of guidence when they decide to do it themselves is it better to have an attorney draft your agreements? Yes, no doubt.

Edited by tboxx, 23 February 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#16 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 688

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for all the replies, I am not going to an attorney because as I mentioned its a small hobby non commercial game and the agreement really is meant as a "better than nothing" (if this was a commercial venture I would already be approaching it as a necessary investment/business expense).

Given the advice I will probably rewrite the agreement in plain language amending the issues pointer by frob. Will post an update when I get some time to do that.

Postmortem: one must die -  Political narrative-adventure game playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation

 

Check out my DevBlog for news on the next title!


#17 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 688

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

alright, I I'm done with simplifying the agreement. How does it look now, I wasn't sure if I understood all your points and addressed them correctly. Is it still too official? Should I skip the "company" and "contributor" and just refer to myself directly (I wanted to keep it ambiguous so its more easily reusable)? And is the little NDA part sufficient? I'm also posting a separated NDA below if you think I should have that signed too:

Contribution Agreement

Thank you for your interested in contributing to the game! The purpose of this agreement is to establish and clarify the relationship and intellectual property licensing rights between XXX ("Company") and a person or entity ("Contributor") when submitting a contribution ("Contribution") for the XXX video game ("Game"). Please read it carefully and submit a signed and scanned copy to XXX@XXX.com.

Description and License
The Game, currently a non-commercial, non-profit venture, is accepting voluntary Contributions in multiple areas such as graphics, writing or art. There is no compensation for submitting a Contribution and Company may or may not choose to use it in the final Game as it sees fit. If the Company chooses to distribute the Game including the Contribution for a fee, it may set the price for such distribution in its sole discretion, and a separate agreement explaining the Contributor’s share of the profits and payments would be drafted.

By submitting a Contribution, the Contributor grants the Company a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, no-charge, royalty-free, assignable right and license to a) use, copy, reproduce, distribute, sell, lease, rent, publicly display, publicly perform, modify, and create derivative works from the Contribution in any media, b) identify the Contributor as the source of the Contribution, and c) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.

Once submitted, Contributor may request that his Contribution be removed from the Game or any related media, but Company is not obligated to do so and may choose to keep using the Contribution with the terms outlined above.

However, the Contributor retains the right to use the Contributions as they wish, even in the context of another game. This Agreement does not grant the Contributo any rights to any other Company materials or the finished Game.

Types of Contributions
Contributions include but are not limited to any product, design, document, text, writings, artwork, image, drawing, photograph, animation, texture, video, musical composition, audio, sound effect, audiovisual work, files created by 3rd party tools (such as graphml created with yEd Graph Editor), proprietary files used by the Game and its engine, or any other files and assets used in creation of the Game or being distributed with the Game to the end users.

Confidentiality and Non-disclosure
The Company may choose to share "confidential materials" regarding the Game with the Contributor, such as design documents, development binaries of the Game and its tools, files and assets used by the Game, other Contributions, development and marketing plans, timelines, policies, strategies etc.

By accepting this agreement, the Contributor also agrees not to copy, share, lease, rent or distribute any such "confidential materials," take any screenshots, or disclose any information regarding the game, its assets, story, characters, gameplay, mechanics etc. to any 3rd parties besides themselves, unless given explicit written permission by the Company.

Changes to the Agreement
This Agreement is subject to change. Company will do its best to notify all Contributors every time changes are made to this Agreement. Company will not knowingly change the terms of the Contribution without attempting to notify the Contributors. All Contributors are subject to the most current agreement.



IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this Agreement to be duly executed.
        You                                                               Company
Name:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Date:  _______________________                                             _______________________
Signature: _______________________                                             _______________________

And the separated NDA by itself:

Contribution Confidentiality and Non-disclosure Agreement

Thank you for your interested in contributing to the game! The purpose of this agreement is to establish and clarify the confidentiality between XXX ("Company") and a person or entity ("Contributor") when submitting a contribution ("Contribution") for the XXX video game ("Game"). Please read it carefully and submit a scanned and signed copy to XXX@XXX.com.

The Company and Contributor each wish to protect any Confidential Information which may be disclosed by each to the other. The Confidential Information concerns the concept, implementation, marketing and design of The Game and any other related ventures.

Definitions

  • "Confidential Information" as used herein, whether or not reduced to writing and in any and all stages of development, shall include but shall not be limited to: all Contributions, all information which relates to; policies and practices; files or data; concepts; software or hardware development; specifications; documentation; lists of names; forecasts; trade secrets; techniques; product plans: marketing plans; customer information; or financial or non financial information or related information which were directly or indirectly disclosed or revealed to a party by (I) the other party or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents, attorneys or representatives; or (ii) by any other means connected with a party. Confidential information shall include written information that is designated as such in writing or oral information that is confirmed promptly in writing as having been disclosed as confidential or proprietary.
  • "Confidential Material": as used herein shall be any and all tangible materials and objects which embody Confidential Information or from which Confidential Information can be read, reproduced or utilized.
Confidential Information does not include information, technical data or know-how which (I) is in the possession of the Receiving Party at the time of disclosure and is free from any disclosure obligations as shown by the receiving party's files and records immediately prior to the time of disclosure, (ii) prior to or after the time of disclosure becomes part of the public knowledge or literature, not as a result of any inaction or action of the receiving party, (iii) is approved by the disclosing party, in writing for release, (iv) is developed independently by the receiving party, or (v) is received from a third party not having an obligation of confidentiality.

Non-Disclosure of Confidential Information
Each of the parties that receives Confidential Information (the Receiving Party) from the other party (the Disclosing Party) agrees not to use such Confidential Information disclosed to it for its own use or for any purpose except to carry our discussions concerning, and the undertaking of, any business relationship between the Contributor and the Company.

The Receiving Party will not disclose any Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party to third parties or to employees of the Receiving Party except those employees who are required to have information in order to carry out the discussion of the contemplated business. All employees of the Receiving Party to whom Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party have or will have prior to disclosure, sign a Non-Disclosure and Non-Use Agreement in content substantially similar to this Agreement, and the Receiving Party will promptly notify the Disclosing Party in writing of the names of each such employee upon the written request of the Disclosing Party at any time. Each of the Parties agrees that it will take all reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure or use of Confidential Information of the other party in order to prevent it from falling into public domain or the possession of persons other than those persons authorized hereunder to have any such information, which measures shall include the highest degree of care that each of the parties uses to protect its own Confidential Information of a similar nature. The Receiving Party agrees to notify the Disclosing Party in writing of any misuse or misappropriation of Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party which may come to the Receiving Party's attention.

Return of Materials
Within ten (10) days of a written request from the Disclosing Party any materials or documents which have been furnished to the Receiving Party will be promptly returned, accompanied by all copies of such documentation, after the business possibility has been rejected or concluded.

Term
The foregoing commitments of the parties regarding confidentiality shall survive any termination of discussions between the parties and shall continue for a period of two (2) years following the date of this Agreement.

Miscellaneous
This Agreement shall be binding upon and for the benefit of both parties, their successors and assigns, provided that Confidential Information of either party may not be assigned without the prior written consent of such party. Failure to enforce any provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any term hereof.

Each party understands and agrees that Confidential Information is secret and proprietary and of great value to the other. The parties further understand and agree that the relationship between them is of a confidential nature and imposes an affirmative obligation upon the each party to protect, foster and respect the confidentiality of Confidential Information.

The parties further understand and agree that they are under no obligation to disclose or reveal anything to the each other. Each party may in its sole discretion, elect not to disclose or reveal.

Remedies
The parties agree that the obligations of the Receiving Party provided herein are necessary and reasonable in order to protect the Disclosing Party and its business, and expressly agree that monetary damages would be inadequate to compensate the Disclosing Party for any breach by the Receding Party of it covenants and agreements set forth herein. Accordingly, the parties agree and acknowledge that any such violation or threatened violation will cause irreparable injury to the Disclosing Party and that, in addition to any other remedies that may be available in law, equity or otherwise, the Disclosing Party shall be entitled to obtain injunctive relief against the threatened breach of the Agreement or the continuation of any such breach by the Receiving Party, without the necessity of proving actual damages.



Edited by Koobazaur, 26 February 2013 - 01:01 PM.

Postmortem: one must die -  Political narrative-adventure game playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation

 

Check out my DevBlog for news on the next title!


#18 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19006

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

Both still have major problems, not the least of which is the limitation to a single game.

 

Go visit a lawyer. You will be better off.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#19 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 688

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

Hmm, well the NDA is actually a copy of the one provided by Thomas Buscaglia the highly praised and recommended Game Attorney behind the GameDevKit. While he does state it's not strictly developer one, he still recommends it over nothing, which you seem to disagree with? I was considering the DevKit as another option as well.

It honestly boggles my mind that, with the wealth of indie projects and steam/desura/indedb making distribution easier, there really aren't better readily-available legal resources. I know I know "each project is different" but you'd think at least a few basic, plain-language templates could be gathered for the common free/hobby cases.

I think I saw a list of game attorneys in LA posted somewhere on the forums but can't quite find it right now, would you happen to have a link handy? Again, I am a bit reluctant to this given the hobby and nonprofit nature of the game, but if the cost isn't too steep then I might just bite the bullet and go for it to be safe. In any case it might be good to go through that once to learn of the process.

Edited by Koobazaur, 26 February 2013 - 06:42 PM.

Postmortem: one must die -  Political narrative-adventure game playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation

 

Check out my DevBlog for news on the next title!


#20 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8697

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

I think I saw a list of game attorneys in LA posted somewhere on the forums but can't quite find it right now, would you happen to have a link handy?

 

http://www.obscure.co.uk/directory/directory-legal/
http://charnelaw.com/
http://maientertainmentlaw.com/
http://thegameattorney.com/

http://www.kevinreillylaw.com/

 

The only ones who're in LA on that list are Kevin Reilly and Jim Charne.  I'd be delighted to have more L.A. game attorneys (even non-L.A.) if someone has'em.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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