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jamesd128

License needed to give a demo to a publisher?

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I have a game that I would like to send to a small games publisher to see if they like it. I'm using WiX to make an installer, but the default license it puts on the installer gives the recipient the right to redistribute or basically do whatever they want with the software I'm giving them. Is there some generic demo license that I should use instead?

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Original post by jamesd128
I have a game that I would like to send to a small games publisher to see if they like it. I'm using WiX to make an installer, but the default license it puts on the installer gives the recipient the right to redistribute or basically do whatever they want with the software I'm giving them. Is there some generic demo license that I should use instead?

There may well be such a license but I don't know of it as I have never bothered to attach a license to any demo sent to a publisher over the years. A copyright notice and possibly a non-disclosure agreement should be more than sufficient - otherwise I suggest you consult a lawyer and have them draft a license for you.

However, before doing that you need to ensure that you are actually allowed to change the license. I have not read the WiX license but it may be that it can only be used for projects that are freely distributed/open source - in which case you would need a different installer package not a different license. Again a lawyer would be able to help you check this.

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IANAL In response to the above poster, I read the WiX licence, (well, briefly skimmed it) and its the IBM CPL. The IBM CPL has no such requirement that software USING (not linking) to the code must also be under the CPL. Therefore I doubt highly that your code would have to be CPL because you are packaging it with WiX.

To my knowledge, in fact, there are NO open source licenses that are approved by OSI that restrict normal USAGE of the software to be open source, as that would violate provision 6 of the OSD http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd .

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I don't believe WiX has any such restrictions. I'm definitely not going to hire a lawyer since to be honest I think the odds of the game being accepted by a publisher, even a small one, are remote at best and will more likely be distributing it freely. You mentioned a copywrite notice or NDA, are there general licenses like that on the internet that I can just stick onto my installer? Lacking that, is it a terrible idea to just send them an installer with no license attached to it?

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IANAL:


If you are going to send it out, at-least get a formal copyright. I think they cost about 30 dollars.

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Original post by Noctrine
If you are going to send it out, at-least get a formal copyright. I think they cost about 30 dollars.

Putting a copyright notice on the front page IS a formal copyright. Copyright exists automatically in your creative works. Doing anything more than that is unnecessary for a demo, especially one the OP doesn't think the publishers will be interested in anyway.

1. A publisher won't "steal" a demo - it is of no use to them. If they want the game then they will deal with the creator because otherwise they have to go and find another team to do it.... why bother when there is one already willing to do it.
2. Ideas can't be protected by copyright so if a crooked publisher did want to steal the idea (as opposed to the code and art) there is nothing you can do to stop that.
3. If a crooked person is willing to ignore a clear Copyright message on the front screen then having that copyright registered with someone won't make any difference.
4. Copyright infringement must be defended in court using an expensive IP lawyer. It will cost tens of thousands of $ to even start a fight and hundreds of thousands to go all the way through court, all for a demo that has little or no actual value. There is no point in paying $30 to register a copyright if you don't have the money to go to court.

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Original post by Obscure
Quote:
Original post by Noctrine
If you are going to send it out, at-least get a formal copyright. I think they cost about 30 dollars.

Putting a copyright notice on the front page IS a formal copyright. Copyright exists automatically in your creative works. Doing anything more than that is unnecessary for a demo, especially one the OP doesn't think the publishers will be interested in anyway.

1. A publisher won't "steal" a demo - it is of no use to them. If they want the game then they will deal with the creator because otherwise they have to go and find another team to do it.... why bother when there is one already willing to do it.
2. Ideas can't be protected by copyright so if a crooked publisher did want to steal the idea (as opposed to the code and art) there is nothing you can do to stop that.
3. If a crooked person is willing to ignore a clear Copyright message on the front screen then having that copyright registered with someone won't make any difference.
4. Copyright infringement must be defended in court using an expensive IP lawyer. It will cost tens of thousands of $ to even start a fight and hundreds of thousands to go all the way through court, all for a demo that has little or no actual value. There is no point in paying $30 to register a copyright if you don't have the money to go to court.


You don't even have to put a copyright notice, and a license is unnecessary since there are effectivly only two types of licenses,
1) Distrubition licenses (Grants distribution rights, without one the publisher isn't allowed to redistribute your work)
2) End user licence, used when selling licenses rather than copies of the software. (only needed if you care about things such as how many machines the publisher installs it on or how many of their employees get to try the game)

These days almost all software sales in the proprietary world are licence sales, (Copy sales almost only exists in the free software world where the primary licenses used are distribution licences)

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At best the NDA is an acknowledgement that your pitch is "confidential" and subject to the applicable trade secret staututes in your state. If the publishers you intend to approach have a formal submission process, then you will sign their form NDA. Paying for your own form NDA may be premature unless you intend to ramp up and hire more employees/contractors who will have access to your unpublished ideas. Before submitting, ask for a mutual NDA and then go from there. However, beware of any document which transfers ownership of the submission to the publisher. Good luck!

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