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Legal stuff...

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Does anyone know if you need to own or be apart of a company to secure your intellectual property or ideas from infringment? Or can you slap your name on the game and call it yours? Thanks.

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Though I''m no expert on legal stuff, intellectual property becomes copyright the moment it is created. That is, if you create a game it belongs to you. If you can prove in court that you created it and that you didn''t give rights to someone using your game or its media, then you''d win.

Have a look on google for copyright laws, you should fine something more official than my explanation.

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My company uses a service called Pre-Paid Legal Service. It is a great resource for this exact thing, and it won''t break the bank. I am not an attorney by any means, but I had to do some research on this to protect our game documents. This is a long post, but I hope it helps you out!

They told me the exact same thing that RuneLancer mentioned, however they took it a step further. Because we will post our projects for other developers to work on, we needed to look into the "work for hire" issues that arise when you transfer your knowledge to others. Unless the people working for you are actual employees, you might want to look into specific work for hire agreements in addition to a nondisclosure agreement.

Here are some articles that discuss the issues. You can also check out my site to see samples of the agreements we have put together. They are listed in the Projects section of the site.




Your other option is to pay for a copyright of your specific work. Here is some information on how to apply for copyright protection:

You can register your copyright by filing a simple form and depositing one or two samples of the work (depending on what it is) with the U.S. Copyright Office. Forms and instructions may be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office by telephone, (202) 707-9100, or from their website at: http://www.loc.gov/copyright. The cost is currently $30 per work. If you''re registering several works that are part of one series, you may be able to save money with "group registration".

The street address for the copyright office is:
U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

Bill Goetz

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To paraphrase what I have heard from people in the industry/seen quoted in industry mags, a lot more energy is spent on protecting IP than it is on ripping it off. Publishers have so many people with ideas working for them, and so many people coming to them unsolicited with ideas, that they have no reason to steal them.

I also hear a lot of advice about double indemnity NDAs that protect both sides (developer presenting proposal/publisher seeking proposal) from lawsuit in the event that one side or the other develops a product that might be construed as stepping on someone else''s (that is involved in the NDA) IP. Example: developer X proposes a game and has a demo that is almost exactly the same thing as megapublisher Y already has in development. With the NDA, both sides are protected, and can bring their respective products to market.

In general IP only gets stolen when there is a shortage- this very forum is a tribute to the fact that there is not, and never will be, a shortage of good ideas for games.

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