Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Member Since 01 Jan 2010
Offline Last Active Nov 19 2011 09:19 PM

#4849089 Intellectual Property: Who owns what.

Posted by on 14 August 2011 - 03:04 PM


If you don't want to sell your IP rights for money, then don't sell them for money!

Fair enough.

That depends a lot on the specifics of the publisher/developer deal.
Sometimes a studio won't get any money at all from the sale of a game -- they simply get paid a lump sum for making it.
Other times, the studio/publisher's contract will specify an amount of royalties that they'll get per sale. Sometimes there's conditions on these royalties, such as the game having to sell X copies first, or the game not being late, or the game receiving a certain meta-critic score, etc...

Publishers practically rule the game industry. Not only can they squeeze IP rights from devs, they can also charge players for second-hand games. That is just pure greed.

I think you misread Toms quote. Only if the publisher demands it, and then the developer agrees to it, such as is common when a publisher hires a studio to work for them.

Yea, I did.

There's no 'standard' contact that says that publishers always end up owning all IP rights. Plenty of studios own their own IPs.
There's even some very strange cases, like with Operation:Flashpoint, where the deal involved the publisher owning the name of the IP, but the development studio owning the rights to make sequels. This meant that their sequel legally had to be named "Arma" instead of "Flashpoint 2".

That is interesting. So developers do have some leverage against publishers. But that raises another point: normally, when you say "sequel", it usually looks like "Something Game 1/2/3/4"; or it can look like "Game X: The something else", "Game X: The other thing" and such. The Flashpoint series stayed true to the second type of sequel naming. On the other hand, if you name the sequel "Arma", first time players wouldn't even know its a sequel (or the second game of the series if they played Arma first). If you take the name away, is that really a "right to make sequels"? Or am I missing something here?


Well, they're agreeing to be "screwed". The publisher is offering to bankroll them, they can turn down this offer freely.

If you turn away and you do not have sufficient resources to develop the IP on your own, your IP is worthless. If you bow down to the bankrollers, your IP gains value, but you lose the IP. A hard place and a rock, eh?

It depends. Books and music can be commissioned (e.g. the score for a film). Even if you create the work yourself, you can end up signing away IP rights when want your book/album to be published.

Seriously, publishers have it good, taking IPs left, right and center.

This reminds me of Team Bondi and the whistleblowers. If their story is to be believed, there are people who worked on the game, couldn't take the pressure, decides to leave, and have their names removed from the credits. Is that even possible? Shouldn't they get partial credit for the work they have already contributed to the game? I refuse to believe they signed a document saying "you can remove my name from the credits if I quit halfway through the project". That is just nasty.

3) I misread that. I thought you meant the one retaining the IP in the second half was the publisher, not the developers. My bad.
On the artist part, I think the artist still retained the right to reproduce copies of the same painting, so he don't really have to get back his first painting. On the other hand, the publisher/developer relation is akin to being paid for the painting produce and then being forbidden from reproducing it. If the developer refused to give up his IP rights, he doesn't get work. It may be legal, but somehow I cannot see this as being ethical/morally right. The developer just don't seem to have a valid choice. Its either draw or die. And their compensation is a pittance compared to what the publisher earns from the developer's work.
(Now that I look at it this way, maybe I should retract my previous statement about being fine with giving up my IP for the things I was paid to make.)

6) I like to read and I am inherently curious, so if there are any citations at all I would love to click those footnotes and see what new things I can find. I started with a simple RAGE reaction thread and end up going into some law-ish reading materials. Fun stuff.

7) Point taken.

8) You're saying I might still have a claim despite the IP being held under the studio's name?

#4848842 Intellectual Property: Who owns what.

Posted by on 13 August 2011 - 09:12 PM

Unlike books and music where the creator is the IP owner of their work, games are made by studios. The question is why does the IP rights to a game belong to a studio and not the creators?

Think of it this way: If I go out and make a game all on my own, from art to music to programming to gameplay and every other component, the game belongs to me. Is that assumption correct?

If it is, then how does it change when studios come into play? Lets assume that a studio has one artist, one programmer, one audio guy (I have no idea what they are called) and one game designer. Does the game belong to all four of them in equal parts? If no, why not?

Also, how does a music band work? If a band has 4 people in it, and one leaves, does the person leaving still get 25% of all royalties from all the song he was involved with before he left?

Another relevant question is who owns the IP rights for original movies?

When replying please provide source where possible.

#4830236 Online Card Game - What is too much - automation

Posted by on 01 July 2011 - 11:26 PM

I've played the following card games - Pokemon, MTG, YGO and WoW (yes, they have a card game!).

1) It doesn't necessarily need to have a "reaction" window. Go to Kongregate and take a look at 2 flash card game there: Elements and Tyrant. Neither game allow "reactions" from the player on an opponent's turn, but they are still fun to play with. The thing about online card games (or any computer-run card games) is you must code every single possibility of card interaction. Just take a look at YuGiOh's and MTG's single-card-ruling section. A majority of those cards with effects (in fact, I dare say all cards with effect) have specific rulings with regards to how it interact with certain cards. Player creativity will always trump whatever ruling you can come up with. Playing physically, players can pause their game and look up rulings when they encounter a problem. However, with an automated client running it, I can't fathom what would happen if players come up with a really good "combo" (and it is legal to play it) only to be foiled by the client because the "combo" wasn't programmed into it. (Or, god forbid, the client crashed due to the combo. Worst case scenario)

2) Besides those two mentioned above, I have Pokerstars installed as well. I also use Yugioh Virtual Desktop to play YuGiOh. The client has very little automated actions. All card "movements" (draw, putting cards into play, putting cards into graveyard, etc) are manually done by the players. This type of "manual client" allows for more freedom between player interaction, simulating a live play, but you run the risk of players cheating in the game (if there is a reward involved in your gameplay) since every action is controlled by the player, and the opponent cannot stop them from cheating.

With regards to cash purchase, no. I didn't spend a single dime on these games.

3) It depends. Live play and online play is different. In live play, you (probably) know your opponent, and you don't mind waiting abit before they make a move (and you are allowed to smack them if they take too long, a big advantage over online play :) ). In online play, lag and latency issue coupled with random disconnections will turn off a player. Its made worse if there is a reward system for winning.

I used to play Gunbound (Worm-ish game, but with pretty looking "tanks") which runs on a turn-based system. No problems when the game runs smoothly, where winning and losing is determined purely by player-action. The problem with the game is when the lag hits and freezes the game completely (which happen every once every 4-5 games). The game will not resume unless the winner is determined (meaning everyone on one side leaves the game). Imagine a 4v4 situation, where you are on the winning side. You have 3 players still alive, while the opposite side only have a single player left. The opposing player will die in 1 hit. Lag hits, game freezes, and no one can move. The honorable thing to do is for the losing team's remaining player to leave and give the win to the other side with 3 players still remaining. But no, 9 times out of 10, the losing side will simply stay in the game, forcing everyone on the winning side to leave because the freeze is wasting their time. Reward goes to the player who did not deserve it. How can you solve such problems?

Now, Pokerstars is abit different from these card games. If you have made a substantial bet in the game, the game will not fold your hand. Instead, you remain in play, but your share of the winnings are calculated from the pot before you timed out. That is a good system because the timed-out player does not automatically lose due to connection issues.

However, both MTG and YGO runs a different stack system. MTG allows you to respond and target any card within a stack (assuming its legal). YGO, on the other hand, only allows you to respond and target the newest card added to the stack. This is apparent when activating triggered abilities and using counter-traps. If you choose to pass and not respond, you cannot later come back and respond to it/target other cards on the chain. Once you miss the window of opportunity, thats it (yes, there are exceptions, but they are few in numbers). Another thing about these games is that you can leave yourself defenseless and respond to threats from your hand (in MTG) or your trap/magic zones (YGO). That means a player does not die just because he appears defenseless.

How is this different from Pokerstars? In these type of games, "Burn Decks" are a viable choice. Burn decks force the opponent to respond all the time. Failure to respond can result in a game over. The same applies to "bluffing" players, who choose to leave his/her board empty by choice to lure the opponent into overcommitting. If the timer runs too fast, it may rob the defending player the chance to defend him/herself. If the timer is too long, the attacking player is left with a long wait time whenever he/she summon a creature or cast a spell. And then there is ambiguously worded cards like "return target creature to its owner's hand". If my monster somehow attracted too much attention and its getting targeted by destruction spells or another monster's attack, I would like to have that card target my monster-in-danger to save it for some other purpose later on in the game. I'd be damned if I can't do that when I need to if the card was worded in such a way.

P/s: I disagree that you have nothing to worry about in cause/effect system because everything is visible. Your opponent's hand is not, and they are full of surprises. Cause/effect system is much more complicated than it looks. It also forces you to play better. Its just like chess, but with extra pieces in your hand to surprise your opponent.

P/p/s: With regards to "drawing the best card", the problem lies with the game designer and their method of balancing cards. Its not the players fault if the designer themselves created such an uber-powerful cards that wins the game every single time. Uber-powerful cards are just like game-breaking bugs. They need to be squashed before the game goes on sale.