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Incorporating an indie game company in Canada


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#1 Skinny Luigi   Members   -  Reputation: 366

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:52 PM

Hi everyone, I just had some quick questions about incorporating an indie game company in Canada. A friend and I are hoping to start our own game company and we're in Canada. We're a little clueless about a lot of things despite lots of research, and we're hoping to do all of this as cheaply as possible. I was hoping to get a few testimonials from people who've been there..
 
Questions:
 
Did you form a company first or a product first?
 
How soon did you copyright your company name (or did you?)?
 
Have you ever worried about people stealing ideas? Did you work out any legal stuff prior to releasing games, or did you just release them without worrying about it?
 
Did/do you hire professional accountants to do your business taxes or do them yourself? (I've heard costs up to $1000 which seems not unreasonable, but is this something you really shouldn't or can't risk doing yourself? What makes it so complicated, especially in the case of a very small and fledgling company?)
 
In what situations have you had to deal with (=pay)  lawyers?
 
 
 
I'm willing to spend the money when I need to, but I would just like to be careful and talk to a lot of people and see what path they chose.
 
Thanks for any random tidbits anyone can provide!
 
Kind regards,
M


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#2 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2696

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:02 PM

Did/do you hire professional accountants to do your business taxes or do them yourself? (I've heard costs up to $1000 which seems not unreasonable, but is this something you really shouldn't or can't risk doing yourself? What makes it so complicated, especially in the case of a very small and fledgling company?)

 

I cannot reference costs in Canada, but from my own personal experience -- costs in Australia for a small business utilising an accountancy service can go much higher and an annual figure of $4-5000 is not unusual. You might also check with regard the legal requirement for a "recognised" accountant to be utilised for reporting taxes/duties etc to goverment.



#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9099

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:09 PM

Skinny Luigi, on 25 Mar 2013 - 19:59, said:

1. I just had some quick questions about incorporating an indie game company in Canada.
2. We're a little clueless about a lot of things despite lots of research, and we're hoping to do all of this as cheaply as possible
3. How soon did you copyright your company name (or did you?)?
4. Have you ever worried about people stealing ideas?
5. Did you work out any legal stuff prior to releasing games, or did you just release them without worrying about it?
6. Did/do you hire professional accountants to do your business taxes or do them yourself? (I've heard costs up to $1000 which seems not unreasonable, but is this something you really shouldn't or can't risk doing yourself? What makes it so complicated, especially in the case of a very small and fledgling company?)
7. In what situations have you had to deal with (=pay) lawyers?

1. You need business and legal advice about incorporating a company, period. It sounds like your research may not have looked at business incorporation beyond the game market.
2. I hear Canada is very business-friendly, and that they have government agencies that can advise small businesses for free. Have you looked into that?
3. You do not copyright a company name. You trademark it. Your "lots of research" apparently missed a lot of intellectual property basics.
4. Sure. Everyone has.
5. You should copyright your game before releasing it, and maybe trademark it too (ask an attorney, do more research).
6. You may want to hire a professional accountant the first time you want to file business tax, just so you can see how it's done. 
7. The first time signing a big contract. You should hire an attorney to help you draft your first legal agreement. You and your friend-slash-partner should at the very least execute a collaboration agreement.  I think I posted a link in this forum's readme.


-- 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.

#4 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 28496

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

1) Did you form a company first or a product first?
2) How soon did you copyright your company name (or did you?)?
3) Have you ever worried about people stealing ideas? Did you work out any legal stuff prior to releasing games, or did you just release them without worrying about it?

I'm not in canada and I'm not a lawyer wink.png

 

1) You should probably make the company first.

Firstly, without a company or legal agreement, any IP that you and your friend create remains your own. Selling a product that you both make is legally grey, as there is no one owner of it's copyright.

If you produce the game as employees of a company, then the company is the owner.

Also, if you become a shareholder of a company, then that acquisition might count as 'income' as far as the tax office is concerned. It's better to become an owner of a company that has zero worth, than to become an owner of a company that actually has assets.

Registering a business should be very cheap (excluding legal advice).

 

2) You don't copyright company names.

Any creative work is automatically the property of it's as soon as it's created (and is protected under © copyright law).

As soon as you're trading a product using that name, the name automatically becomes a trade-mark (and protected under ™ trademark law).

 

3) You can't stop people stealing ideas. You can write up Non-Disclosure Agreements to try and force people to keep secrets, but you can't enforce the agreement, you can only (attempt to) sue someone who breaks it.

Actual implementations of an idea (art/code/etc) are protected by copyright, as above, automatically. 






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