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rpiller

Getting team members and NDA

10 posts in this topic

Before I start looking to team members for a project I have, what do I need to know about NDA's? I don't want anyone I accept to join the project to be able to take my idea and/or code and go on their own and duplicate it. Is there some pre-made NDA's for this kind of stuff? Does there need to be anything more formal than just a document? Can they "digitally" sign this, ie just type their name on it?

 

Another question would be around content created for the game. I'm a programmer looking for an artist but anything the artist would create for said game I want to remain property of said game and not have the artist be able to some day say to me if I use their art they would sue me or something.

 

This would be for an indie non paid job. I want to work as a team with someone that's interested in the project I'm doing, but I also don't want to lose potentially months of work if the artist one day up and quits and tells me I'm not allowed to use the art they created for the game.

 

Thanks

Edited by rpiller
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1. I don't want anyone I accept to join the project to be able to take my idea ... and go on their own

2. Is there some pre-made NDA's for this kind of stuff?

3. Does there need to be anything more formal than just a document?

4. Can they "digitally" sign this,

5. ie just type their name on it?

 

 

1. That's unlikely, but an NDA is reasonable. 

2. Yes. https://www.google.com/search?q=NDA+template  But it would be best to have an attorney's help rather than use one you just found online, especially if you've never signed one before.

3. Nobody needs to put any blood or shrunken chicken heads on the document, if that's what you mean. 

4. Yes.

5. That's not a good way.  https://www.google.com/search?q=ways+to+sign+contracts

Edited by Tom Sloper
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Check this out: http://www.scribd.com/doc/91894008/

 

It's a sample NDA from rocketlawyer, you can then customize the document

and have your team members sign it digitally through their services.

 

However, keep in mind that the document doesn't really prevent people

from stealing your ideas or artwork. It's more of a promise not to and if they break

that promise, you personally will have to pursue damages in a court of law

and use the NDA as part of your evidence I suppose.

 

I would recommend instead to find trustworthy people and lead them in such

a way that does not give them any reason to consider robbing you blind.

 

Hope this helps

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RPiller, 

 

Having read your post, my first suggestion would be to really ask yourself what your purpose in creating this project is. If it's to learn about game development, then I'd ditch most concerns about the legal stuff at the door as it will just get in the way of making games. If learning is not your goal, and if you haven't already developed several games for yourself, I'd suggest changing your goal. Even within the industry, the hit/flop ratio for active industry professionals with years of experience is rather low. 

 

As a programmer, your job is to get good at what you do, so that you can produce great quality code on any project at the drop of a hat (more or less). So stop worrying and get to programming. 

 

 

[quote name='rpiller' timestamp='1357151206' post='5016781']
what do I need to know about NDA's?
[/quote]

 

There are multiple articles around the web about why getting people to sign a non-disclosure agreement isn't really necessary or even a good idea, outside of the traditional Publisher/Developer relationship. So I wouldn't worry about it. 

 

[quote name='rpiller' timestamp='1357151206' post='5016781']
I'm a programmer looking for an artist but anything the artist would create for said game I want to remain property of said game and not have the artist be able to some day say to me if I use their art they would sue me or something.
 
[/quote]

 

What incentive does an artist have to provide you with artwork for free, without getting any say in its use? This is not legal advice, and I am not qualified to provide it, but unless you sign a contract with someone you are working with, you are entered into a Defacto partnership - meaning 50/50, or whatever any lawsuit comes out to. So basically, if by some fluke chance of luck, you end up making truckloads of money with your product, why WOULDN'T the artist want their artwork in your game? If you're not making money with it, does it really matter so much?

 

[quote name='rpiller' timestamp='1357151206' post='5016781']
I want to work as a team with someone that's interested in the project I'm doing, but I also don't want to lose potentially months of work if the artist one day up and quits and tells me I'm not allowed to use the art they created for the game.
[/quote]

 

Since you would just be losing the artwork, you wouldn't be losing any time, just the artwork. You could always find another artist to produce the artwork for you if you wanted. Or you could program the game in such a way that does not require great artwork (and plenty of successful indies have done just that). 

 

 

 

So in summary - stop worrying and get to coding!

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I would recommend instead to find trustworthy people and lead them in such

a way that does not give them any reason to consider robbing you blind.

 

I agree, which is why, at first at least, I'm going to look for an artist first. They will not see the source code and only make/tweak the art. However, I still would like some kind of agreement that the art they make for the game will always be able to be used by the game. Is there anything that can help with that?

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The question was edited to contain further information while I was writing my first reply above:

 

6. anything the artist would create for said game I want to remain property of said game and not have the artist be able to some day say to me if I use their art they would sue me or something.

7. This would be for an indie non paid job. I want to work as a team with someone that's interested in the project I'm doing, but I also don't want to lose potentially months of work if the artist one day up and quits and tells me I'm not allowed to use the art they created for the game.

 

6. An NDA is nowhere near enough for what you want to do, then.

7. You need a collaboration agreement.  Look for Mona Ibrahim's excellent article on collaboration agreements at http://maientertainmentlaw.com/ (I'd give you a precise location, but it keeps changing*).  And read http://sloperama.com/advice/article58.htm

 

*Edit: The article was written in November 2008 - you can find it under Archives/2008 and also under Topics/Contracts.

Edited by Tom Sloper
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What incentive does an artist have to provide you with artwork for free, without getting any say in its use?

 

 

Sorry I phrased my comment wrong. I wanted to remain in control of the art they made in the case the artist leaves before deployment (people come and go all the time on indie projects). If the game makes money then they would make a certain % of the profits for sure.

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If the IP rights of someone works transfers to you in some way, California requires you to pay for their time(min-wage to market prices depending) if you ever end up in a court dispute with them for any reason. Other states and countries have similar laws hidden around as well.

Really an NDA works both ways since you're acknowledging time/effort. At some levels.
__________

As for a personal level, if I'm given an NDA for "hobby time" I pretty much just laugh in real life then send a polite E-Mail saying I'm not interested. While it's unlikely an NDA is ever used at the "free indy" level, they can be Interpreted as the "owner" of the NDA having monopoly rights in particular fields against the person(IE: I'm putting myself at risk if I make another RPG, even if I never contributed to yours or used anything or yours because I signed an NDA).
___________

That said if you're doing something for money, it's going to involve money and legal work.

If you're working with Hobby Time just work with unrestrictive licenses for all work(CC, WTFPL, or whatever else), and plan on disputes over ownership/similar/direction in the future(Really people usually just disappear). Edited by lithos
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I am in a very similar situation where I am working on a non-commercial game and looking for unpaid artists. HOWEVER, unlike OP, I don't mind the artist retaining rights and reusing their graphics/music in their portfolio or even other projects, provided they do not end up giving an exclusive license to someone else that would retroactively affect the game.

 

Basically I just want to avoid either someone pulling out of the team near completion and taking the art with them, or us having to pull down the completed game in the future because they decided to give exclusive arts to the same art to someone else. 

 

In this case, do you think a formal contract is warranted, or would it still be going overboard given the noncommercial and unpaid nature of the project? I was thinking of something like complete, perpetual and irrevocable, but non-exclusive license, with the artists retaining the original rights. Should I go straight to an attorney or are there any good online templates I could use (still looking through the links posted in the thread so apologies if I missed what has been already posted).

 

Thanks!

Edited by Koobazaur
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