Sign in to follow this  
Drethon

Development via beta versions

Recommended Posts

I'm working on an MMORPG which I want to put online as a free test version while I'm working on it. I'm wondering what the legal implecations are for this. Is there anything I need to do for copyrights since I'm hoping some day to turn the game into a pay for use? Thanks for any answers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the law is different for every country, so I might be wrong about this, but I'm fairly sure that you get all copyrights by default. However, this is complicated if you put something up on a website, as it can be argued that by doing so you implicitly implied that it was okay to copy it (otherwise why put in on your website?)

There must be some website for the usual policy for demos, betas and for shareware that must apply here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Drethon
How does copyrighting work when the software is continuously changing?


You theoretically recieve copyright by authoring the work. However, in practice it doesn't usually work unless you have copyrighted it with a goverment.

I would just copyright at the begenning of beta, and then at the end. It is more to establish your 'right' to the 'work' rather than to be completely up to date.

I'm not a lawyer tho, but that is what I would do if I didn't/couldn't hire one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
... I'm fairly sure that you get all copyrights by default. However, this is complicated if you put something up on a website, as it can be argued that by doing so you implicitly implied that it was okay to copy it (otherwise why put in on your website?)

The first part is correct, the second part is not. Publishing something on the web or in a book or magazine in no way implies that it is ok to copy it. That is the purpose of copyright. To allow you to publish while still retaining control over how your creation is used.

Quote:
Original post by KGodwin
You theoretically recieve copyright by authoring the work. However, in practice it doesn't usually work unless you have copyrighted it with a goverment.

Nothing theoretical about it. Copyright exists. Registering the copyright with the government (if you are in the US) gives added protection on top of that which you already have.
See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#hsc and
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#hsc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One other question then, being this is an MMORPG, it will have both server software (can only be seen if I'm hacked) and client software that the user will have. The copyright will cover the entire server/client package of software?

Thanks for the help

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Each of the two are automatically protected by copyright. IF you can afford to register copyright then do so. However, although registering gives added protection, it is only useful if you actually have enough money to pay a lawyer to take someone to court. If you can't afford to prosecute anyone it becomes rather an accademic discussion.

One other issue is confidentiality. Do you want people on the beta to talk about the game in public forums or only to you? If you want to restrict people to only discuss the game within your own closed/private forums then you need them to agree to a non-disclosure agreement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still fleshing out how it would work but mostly I think all the discussion online would be about game development from a high level, code would possibly never be shown. My major concern with this actually was about any complications in releasing a non-profit version of software that may eventually be sold for profit. Mostly just checking if there were any major implications to take into account...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There aren't any legal issues related to switching from free to paid. Just because it was free doesn't mean you must always supply it for free (unless you entered into a legal agreement to do so).

The main issue would be business related. How do you get people who have played for free to start paying. The most common way is to introduce a load of new features when you switch from beta 0.98 to v1.0 and to offer discounts to existing beta testers. Alternatively introduce value added features (as GDNet do with GDNet+) so people can play for free but buy added extras.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this