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Keeping your IP safe

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Hi everyone!

Just recently, as if struck by a vision or so, I've decided to aim at game development. Now I know that I should not quit my job now, nor should I think too big for the start and yes, I am aware it will take a lot of time and patience to get the thing properly rolling. My main cocnern about cooperating with other people is each members Intellectual Property. We have no reason to distrust each other, but without the comfort of law behing our IP, making a game may prove even more difficult than it already is.

My question therefore is - what measures should be taken to protect our work from outsiders and group members that may prove unloyal? I've already browsed some legal advice sites - I've discovered a non-disclosure agreement that could probably do the job, but I'm no lawyer and at best can understand things the hard way. Does a not handwritten signature make such an agreement valid? Does a company need to be physically established in order for it to take effect? Or can it be made between the group members?

Also, is there any other way we could protect our work from others? By our work I mean game ideas, stories written, a custom game engine produced by our programer, models and textures, all that game stuff that we make ourselves.

Any guidance in the above matters would be deeply appreciated ^^

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An NDA isn't enough. You also need some form of partnership agreement that gives the team the rights to use any IP created as part of the project. This is so that, if someone leaves, they can't take their work with them and scuttle the project.

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Figured as much. Lots of painfull stuff related with trying to have fun while making games ;/

So you think it would help to establish a kind of an organisation? I read through the non-profit one profle and din't like the need to have an independent director board - that equals more people and if we would want some money for our work we would not be able to be refered to as "establishers" or so... Any alternative to that? I'll try and get help from consultants soon, but due to my working hours and them closing early I have a feeling it will be a long process, hence my plea for some more online content to consult or maybe advice from you guys :)

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Have you read this very recent article on gamasutra: [url="http://gamasutra.com/view/news/32949/Analysis_The_Business_and_Legal_Issues_Surrounding_Game_TeamBuilding.php"]The Business and Legal Issues Surrounding Game Team-Building[/url] It was written by one of this forum's moderators.

One of the two 'illustration" stories seems describe your situation, and what you can do about it.

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Yeah, thanks, that was very informative :)

But still no direct "do this, sign that" manual can be found xD Meh, guess I'll seek legal advice with a consultant. Thanks for the help guys!

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