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nr_clark

Game project potentially corrupted by programmer?

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Hi all,

I'm a developer part of a small team designing a sandbox MMO. It's just a collaborative team (all in the US), meaning that all members just contribute their free time to advance the project. 

Well, a programmer booted from another (very similar) MMO sandbox project wanted to help out with our own, even after knowing our project was collaborative (I'll call him Bob). According to our current programmer (I'll call him John), Bob has very advanced skills in multiple syntax, and Bob's supposedly-self-made script packages & suggested tweaks to John's existing code have really helped John advance the sandbox mechanics.

From what the team understands, Bob was rumored to steal code from the other project, after calling the project's other programmer out for being unskilled, and in turn that programmer (who was favorited by the project manager) turned the team against him in the most political fashion. 

Even though the team was nervous on recruiting Bob, Bob was very pushy about obtaining a programmer role. For now, we've added Bob to the Unity collab to access the project. The project has a git repository setup which keeps all added code intact and secure. 

I'm just a 3D modeler/sound designer, so while I cannot elaborate on the project's coding specifics, I do know potential implications something like this could cause. Bob's existing script packages could be copyrighted, from what I understand. Also, I felt suspicious when Bob wanted to jump into our project so quickly. If it makes any difference in the legal sense, Bob lives in the UK. What would you recommend would be the best approach to this situation?

TIA.

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The best approach is to not hire or collaborate with people that you don't trust. There is no good way of working with someone in these conditions. Once they start committing code it is impractical to be able to 'unpick' it later if it turns out that there is a legal problem.

You can get him to agree in writing that all the code he commits is legally his own work, but unless you're willing to enforce that in court later, it's basically worthless. Since he lives in a different jurisdiction and you have no company funds which which to pursue such a course of action, you are not going to be able to do this.

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