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Licensing of software technology

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Hey all, I've just been approached by an individual about licensing some technology i've created. I've been working on a virtual aquarium for 1.5 years and this individual wants to use it to create a 12-screen wide super-panoramic virtual aquarium for a company lobby. Sounds cool. Here's the agreement i was thinking of: I'm no lawyer, but I'm thinking I would grant them the rights to use my existing software in exchange for exclusive rights to the content (aquatic environments) that they create for this lobby - that i would own and sell these aquatic environments as part of my product. As well i would get an hourly fee for any programming required to accomodate their project. Does that sound reasonable or realistic, or perhaps stupid? Does anyone have experience in how much a project like this would be worth, and if i should charge some kind of licensing fee for my technology, and how much that might be worth? You can check out my virtual aquarium here: www.dreamaquarium.com thanks, any advice would be much appreciated. alan kapler

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Most contracts I've signed grant the user a non exclusive license to use my software in exchange for something, almost always money, but if your fine with their content then good on you!

The non exclusive portion is important. This means you can license your software to other people without their permission.

Cheers
Chris

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Sounds like a reasonable deal, presuming they want to make some fishy content that you'd be interested in.

You might also add that you can use their name in your own adversiting on your site. A photo of the aquarium in-action at the hotel would be a good ad on your site.

In a similar vein, you might negotiate the rights to tuck a little "www.dreamaquarium.com" in the corner of the display, so any hotel passersby who like the look can get it themselves.

Good luck with it. Sounds like a good opportunity. . .depending on the hotel :)

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Talk to a lawyer, and have them review the agreement with you.

It will probably cost around $100-$200 depending on tons of factors. Call around to a few lawyers in your area and describe the two paragraphs you gave. They'll tell you if they handle that type of work and what they charge. Pick someone you feel comfortable with, and email them a copy of the agreement you were thinking about before visiting them.


In the Grand Scheme of Things, it's not a lot of money. You will learn quite a bit for the small amount of money. If you don't understand the nuance of contracts, you might end up signing an deal you'd be unhappy with, with perhaps requirements that require you to support your project longer than you want, or to get less money than you deserve for the rights you give away.

Oh, and congratulations!

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Quote:
Original post by frob
Talk to a lawyer, and have them review the agreement with you.

It will probably cost around $100-$200 depending on tons of factors. Call around to a few lawyers in your area and describe the two paragraphs you gave. They'll tell you if they handle that type of work and what they charge.


I think it'd be far better to talk to a lawyer with experience in the game biz, like Jim Charne or Tom Buscaglia. Just one man's opinion...

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Since its a more general software product rather than a game, IMHO, I think any lawyer with software and contract experience would do, no need to limit him.

Unless I missread the OP and in that case I'm in full agreement.

Cheers
Chris

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Thanks all for your good advice. Looks like i'm getting a lawyer. This project, if it goes through, will actually be for a major Las Vegas hotel!

I just found that out. Las Vegas - where their motto itself is an agreement of non-disclosure.

:)

alan

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Quote:
Original post by spiralmonkey
This project, if it goes through, will actually be for a major Las Vegas hotel!
Whatever number you were thinking of multiply it by 20 ;)

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Actually, after talking more the deal isn't quite what i thought. Turns out they'd probably want ME to create the content (fishtank) or just use what i have. Boils down more to a licensing fee plus time worked on it. So my question becomes, what would a reasonable licensing fee be, and what's to stop them from just buying a copy for $20 and playing it in their lobby?

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Quote:
and what's to stop them from just buying a copy for $20 and playing it in their lobby?


I would say a contract, checked by a lawyer (like already suggested by other people). I'd say 20 usd is pretty little if they want to display it in their
lobby...

I would suggest to give them a base-contract (eg they can use it in
their lobby, 1 running instance) with additional licenses required
for each instance they want to run simultaneously...

... and you might also want to provide optional 'content-packs' in
the future, for once they get bored by the one or two default packs
included :)

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Quote:
Original post by spiralmonkey
and what's to stop them from just buying a copy for $20 and playing it in their lobby?

1. That they don't know they can do that, or
2. The out of the box version doesn't do what they want.

Quote:
So my question becomes, what would a reasonable licensing fee be,
Depends on a number of issues
1. How long they want the license to run for
2. What their requirements are and how much work it will be to implement them (will additional coding be needed, how much content will be needed etc)
3. Any additional costs (will they want you to visit to oversee installation
4. Will there be an on-going support contract
5. Will there be on-going updates (either code or content)
6. Who the customer is, how wealthy they are and how much they want it.

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