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Hi Joseph, you wrote:
>The problem is I don't know the legal issues of using their work in a tech-demo for funding purposes.
>I know that this forum is no replacement for legal counseling, but I will hire a lawyer once the company is established.

Why are you waiting to hire the lawyer if you have legal questions right now?
Have you looked at http://www.gamedevkit.com/ (the game developer legal startup kit) yet? If not, why not?
Your work agreements with those external people absolutely need to state clearly and in no uncertain terms who owns what rights in the work you pay them to do.

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I just re-read your post, Joseph.
The fact that the company doesn't exist yet doesn't mean you can't contractually take ownership of the IP prior to the creation of the company.
And if the company not existing yet is being a problem, why the delay? And why no lawyer yet?
List of game lawyers at http://www.obscure.co.uk/directory-legal/

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Quote:
Original post by XisZ
...I'm in the process of registering a company...

Well hurry up and finish the process - it doesn't take long and it costs next to nothing (compared to the amount you will need to spend to get your project finished).

Quote:
Would I have to aquire the copyright of all work done?
You don't HAVE to but you would be awesomely stupid not to because it could lead to a multitude of very very expensive problems further down the line.

Quote:
do I already "own" the copyright as a work-for-hire...
Only if the contracts you have with these people include a clause which assigns the rights to you.

Quote:
(even though the company isn't founded yet)
Well I assume the current contracts you have are between the workers and you personally. In which case the company's status is unimportant. You just assign all your rights under these contracts to the company when it is set up - assuming you have a clause in there that allows the contract to be transferred.

You need a good games industry lawyer and you need them today. Without proper contracts in place that give you ownership you are lining yourself up for some very expensive problems in the future.

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Thanks everyone for all of your help.
First of all I must appologize for my grammar, I've been on the road for 1 week- 2,000 miles of driving...ugh I hate these business trips.

Anyway,
I have contacted my accountant and she will be handling the registration of the company and it should be founded by the end of the week.

Also, I've skimmed through my yellowpages and found a ton of Copyright lawyers, and a few media lawyers.
When I get back I will also go through the list of those game lawyers.

And yes the cost is almost nothing compared to the cost of development, even though my budget isn't very high ($40,000~$60,000 USD)

I will take any more advice anyone has to offer, thank you all very much :)

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