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Found 33 results

  1. Hi Everyone, My name is Zac Rich I am the founding partner of Press Start Legal, a law firm created for providing legal services in a digital age. Our Clients range from video game developers and publishers, tech startups, online and e-commerce businesses, content creators and social media influencers. My practice areas include marketing and advertising law, privacy law, intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights) and contracts. Ask me Anything! Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be considered legal advice, everything posted here is my general opinion as facts of your case may vary. This post does not create an Attorney-Client relationship, and as such, I strongly advise you do not post anything confidential. If you have a question you don't feel comfortable asking here, please direct message me or we can set up a free consultation.
  2. Hello, I know non competes are usually used for for ensuring a person doesn't compete after a job, but what about during? A few of my team members say they can't help because someone at their company said, or had them sign something to say they aren't allowed to work on any other projects while they are part of the company. This worries me, because if I ever get an official job in the industry, they might ask me to drop my current project. (We are mainly hobbyists.) I'd consider it, but I'd prefer not to be put in that situation to begin with. So how common is this? I understand the point of making sure people aren't working on other projects on company time and resources, but what about if your working on a side project at home?
  3. The Concept is simple, The user can load .mp3 files from a folder into the game at runtime. After loading, the user can animate the lights in the game based on the music. Once done, The user can play the music while playing the game during online multiplayer too. If the user hosts a server, he/she can play the loaded audio files from his/her computer, if the user is a client then there is an option to send the user's audio files and lighting animation to the host So the host can play them. Everyone the on the server will be able to hear the music. So, my question is, If the user places .mp3 of a song by an Artist which I don't have license to(because I can't tell what the user will put in the folder) and then plays the music during online multiplayer, Will it be a copyright infringment? Can I get sued for licensing issues? Even if I didn't provide those music files with the game? I need to decide whether to put this feature in the game or not. Thanks for your help.
  4. Terry Nagy of Apogee Software discusses lessons learned in operations, legal, business development.
  5. Nice to meet you! First of all, it is a pleasure to be around and thank you for the available help! Basically, I am working on a new project and I would like to share some concept arts on my Twitter. The point is I am quite confused as to what I need to do to protect the general game idea, assets, and my company logo from being stolen/used unproperly by other people. I will definitely make great use of such information!
  6. I've read that it's a bad idea to use brand names in a game. My game character says "I like the movie Idiocrazy." Is this already illegal? or sue-able?
  7. Questions :- To sell a C++ game library/framework/engine, does it usually have to be open-sourced? For a C++ template class (real template), it is quite hard not to be open-sourced, correct? If it is open-sourced, how to protect the copyright? How to enforce people to just use it, but not copy? ... I think it is practically very hard, because people can see the source code, and "rewrite" it. Does a shop like Unity's asset store make thing safer? If so, how? Arrogant assumption :- The game library/framework/engine is high-quality, well-documented, and it would be marvellously sell well. Besides some free libraries like Bullet and Ogre, it is developed all by myself. The library/framework/engine is not bound to any legal obligation (e.g. the most restriction is MIT). I have these questions after reading a news :- Muhagames develop a game named Thea Awakening (C#). The company use its own Honey Hex Framework (C#) as a library to develop the game. The company sell Honey Hex Framework via Unity's asset store to boost its financial position. There are also others old examples e.g. Unity itself or Unreal, which is now open-source ... How do they protect it? Actually, I don't plan to sell any library. I am just curious.
  8. I have some graphics from a graphic designer of full screen gameplay mock-ups. Unfortunately he is no longer available to work on the project but I still like his concept. Would there be any problem with myself or another graphic designer using his design mock-ups as the basis to create the actual graphics for a game? Essentially it would mean copying / recreating the individual graphical elements to use in game. My instinct is that it should be fine but I don't want to step on any legal toes.
  9. Hi guys, As the title reads, I built a game with some other people during college and I'm trying to get it published on appstore and google play. The team agreed they would give me the rights to publish the game under my own business and receive 45% profit share. I now just need to know what contracts I need to write. These are the conditions they agreed to: Game will be put up for free with ads Net Profit split: 45%(me), 15%x3(ppl), 10%x1(person) 2%x0(ppl) every 6 month if game net profit exceeds $250 for 2 years If the games Total Net profit after 2 years does not exceed $2500, all shares will go to me so I don’t have to do legal stuff anymore. If the total net profit exceeds $2500 we do the same business but for 1 year. Everyone keeps rights to their own IP, however I get rights to the IP indefinitely for the purpose of publishing the game under my business xxxxxxxxxxxxx. I'd appreciate any help because I worked hard on this game and I would really like to get it published but being in a team has made it very difficult. Cheers
  10. Hi all, hope this is okay to post here. There seems to be a myriad of open source licenses these days and then multiple versions of each one so it begins to become confusing as to which you should use and when. My scenario is I have been working for some time on a rogueish engine that I've always intended to open source when the base engine is finished and release to whomever is interested in it. People would be welcome to use it to make their own (non-commercial) games out of it as per the norm. The engine is very modable before you even get to the source so its flexible for multiple types of project. To that end, in the back of my head I'm thinking one day I could REALLY polish it up and make something commercial with it as the base engine. But do I lose my right to do that if I've given away the source as "open" for other peoples non-commercial ventures? Would I be obliged to share my changes, if any, to the base engine? It seems obvious that if someone else submitted code to the open source public repository that i COULDNT use that without permission and thats fine. But what if someone contact me and said hey I really like the work, could I license this to do something commercial? I'm guessing I could license *my* version of the source as long as it had no one elses contributions included? This project is not in the wild yet for what its worth, I'm just trying to get a more solid understanding of what actually happens to your rights as author after you've declared "open source".    Thanks for your time! :) 
  11. Tom Sloper

    Game attorneys

    http://www.ielawgroup.net http://charnelaw.com/ http://thegameattorney.com/ https://morrisonlee.com http://www.martindale.com/Louise-Nemschoff/law-firm-67382.htm http://www.sheppardmullin.com http://glwllp.com/ https://odinlaw.com/practice-areas/video-game-law/ thordsenlawoffices.com 714-662-4990 sthordsen@lendinglaw.com https://www.newmediarights.org https://www.gamedev.net/profile/258871-eugeniusays/ https://pressstart.legal/ Zac@PressStartLegal.com
  12. grumpyOldDude

    Legal Does NDA really work?

    Apart from glancing over the first page, I haven't search much so I don't know (and apologies) if something similar has been asked recently,   Anyways ....   NDA is suppose to allow you to discuss confidential details of your ideas, products or business with outsiders with the knowledge that the signatories would be deterred from being sued if they 'copy' or 'use' what is being discussed.   But what if the signatories pass it (or sell it) on to 3rd parties who, though covertly linked to the signatories, has no links that can be proven in a court of law. And of course these 3rd parties would also claim their ideas, though similar, was developed independently.    There may even be other ways of circumventing NDA, like modifying or tweaking the idea, with some core remaining the same, and passing on to 3rd parties.    To me NDA doesn't seem to worth as much as people make it to be , what do you think? 
  13. Hello, this is my first post, and originally I wasn't going to even join this community, but I thought it would be a good idea. Especially because the people at Reddit ignored my post completely. Being a Minor (I am about to be a sophomore in high school), I have about three years of coding experience. I also have been composing music, and I have many friends who do many other things that happen to coincide with game development (I will get to this next). Currently, me and two friends are wanting to start a development company. I have had a good amount of experience in Unity, and I am well versed with JavaScript, as well as learning C#. I have a friend who does a lot of art and pixel art, who also is well versed in JavaScript (no experience in anything other than Pocessing.js) and a friend who has the same if not more experience with JavaScript, as well as advanced GameMaker skills. In terms of technology, coding levels, music, art design, and pretty much everything else that actually creates the full game experience, we are set and ready to go. The problem is legal issues. My parents are not too fond of me starting a company now, because they think school is more important (I go to a special program at my school, which is similar to STEM mixed with avid, but includes all classes, which I could easily do this for projects), and legally, none of us are old enough to actually create a company (I have researched into LLC's, DUNS Numbers, Apple Developer, and a lot of the other publishing/marketing stuff we'd need for a company and actually publishing the apps). I know, if we continue, we will probably need legal advice from an actual attourny (especially because laws vary by state so a lot of information might not be correct on the internet), but I was wondering if any of you either have experience starting a company/software development company as a minor, or if any of you know anything that might help us on our endeavor legally so we can have our own business. We already have options of people who are above 18 who will help us with this and will more than likely help us with being the legal organizer of the company, but other than that, we are a little blind. If you have any information that would be helpful, that would help us so much! Illegal Seagulls LLC (Hopefully at least!)
  14. I have several Unity Assets I'm planning to publish through my current employer to the Unity Asset Store. But I'm worried about legal protection. I'm not really sure how to protect myself or my company from potential law suits. Not that I'm expecting them. It seems like I need to hire a lawyer to draft a EULA, but I'm wondering if there is some standard EULA that basically says use at your own risk. Or if there is an article that talks clearly to this topic. - Thanks. The products will be 100% self developed code, and self developed models, no fan art With Source Code included
  15. Can somebody explain why some fan-made games (Pokemon, Yugioh,Dragon Ball) get taken down while others don't? I just don't get the logic of it? Does favoritism play a role in the decision of ip owner taking legal action? Is there a bar fan-made games must not pass? I would like to know because I am contemplating on making a fan-made card game based on an anime. I've already read the legal portion of sloperama document and am aware of the legal actions that can be taken and why i original is the best way. I just want to know why some popular fan-made games make it and other don't? I've have seen many Pokemon fan-made games using copyrighted material and never get shutdown. And they have been up for 5-10 years. 
  16. Anyone who was thinking of "honoring" Nintendo IP with a fan game, do something else instead. http://twinfinite.net/2016/09/nintendo-dmca-500-fan-games/ http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/09/nintendos-dmca-backed-quest-against-online-fangames/ http://bgr.com/2016/09/02/nintendo-dmca-fan-games-game-jolt/
  17. Hi I am UK based and I'm recently forming a team to develop a game. I'm the lead developer and will be bringing on ~5 other artists to create content such as models, textures and music.   For the moment, I have not formed an official company, to avoid the time sink of all the paperwork, contract writing and so on. But without agreements/contracts/licences in place as I understand it, an artist on my team could pull out at any moment and reserve the right to take all their content with them.   To prevent this, I would like to have them upload their content to my website when they are done with it, and to include a licence in that directory that says something along the lines of   "By uploading your content files to this directory, you agree to transfer ownership of your files to the lead developer Alex Lynch, in exchange for payment from the revenue of the game".   I hope this would be enough, until I form a real company and get signed contracts from them.
  18. 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.
  19. Serghei Tricolici

    Can I copy a game?

    Hi Guys, My name is Serghei, I live in Moldova and I have a question: Can I copy a game's functionality legally? What I mean is that I want to make a game based on another game's idea/functionality. The game I am referring to is http://utopia-game.com initially my game will be 90% the same, in the future I will make changes and it will become slightly different, but initially I want to keep it simple. I don't want to copy the game's graphics or soung, just everything else Thanks for your time, have a nice day
  20. Hello, I am developing my first game which is a serious game about renewable energies. Basically, my idea is to sell the game usage rights(of a branded version) to a National Electricity Company (in a small European country aka Portugal). Then use the core mechanic to produce a paid (PC) version to sell worldwide. This version will have different graphics, different in-game goals, more depth but the same core mechanic. What do you think about this? Does this route make sense to you?
  21. I live in central Europe, but I don't want to have anything to do with the country I live in due to its highly corrosive, socialist nature (the taxation/theft is so astronomically high that it is basically communism at this point - with predictable consequences of dilapidation and mass unemployment). If I were to publish a game on Steam, would I even need a legal entity for international release? Mainly I would just want to protect the game's name, but if establishing a legal entity is reasonably priced I might do that as well. Perhaps it might come handy if I wanted to hire someone later(for a virtual studio, everything would be done remotely). The game would be oriented towards English-speaking audience and culture anyway. Or would just this be enough, for trademarking the game. Of course, for trademarking a game company I would have to get another one. P.S. Does anyone have a filled example of this form?
  22. Hi. I wanted to make a fan game, and I requested permission via email to use a character. The copyright owner allowed me to use his character, as long as my game is not commercial. Now, I have seen that he is considering selling his rights to a publisher or a bigger studio. If he sells his rights and I release my game, could it be taken down by the publisher, altough I got permission from the previous copyright owner ?
  23. I came across this great post this morning for indie game devs, especially those who are newer to the industry. I would hate to have to learn some of this stuff the hard way, so I thought it was a good intro post of things to keep in mind when you're starting out. Definitely always weigh the pros and cons of iffy situations before you go too far in any one direction :)   https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/5pxldd/ultimate_as_promised_guide_to_legal_needs_and/
  24. I have a game developing business that is a sole proprietorship and am considering if it should be a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, or corporation as I grow nearer to releasing the game.   A corporation is treated as an entity and protects you from some personal law suits.  It is also costly or time consuming to report the taxes.  And it costs money to set up the corporation.   I am concerned mainly about law suits and I do not have a lot of money.  Such as my software causing costly problems on people's computers.     Secondly,  Is getting additional insurance for protection against law suits possible and how is it done?   Thank you,   Josheir    
  25. To understand where I'm coming from, let me explain my situation. I have a project in the early works. One of my main features is allowing a player to create his own game world to play in, all the way to atmosphere control (lighting, fog, ambient noise, etc). Iwant to give preset values for these that create "common" atmospheres. For example, "Clear morning," or "evening mist" etc. Being color blind, I don't feel I'm the right person to say "yep, those are the appropriate mixtures of color for that!" God forbid my gray fog actually be pink:-) So,knowing that, I have a few people I've shared my project with that are excited for it, and would be willing to test out the settings to find good preset values... how could I legally accept this sort of volunteer help without being bit in the rear should I be fortunate enough to later profit from the game? I have no problem offering compensation to those who donate substantial help, but this is comparatively minor, and I feel giving them a free copy of the completed product would be sufficient. Is there any standard way to formalize an agreement that either: 1) this work is strictly voluntary and I'm not obligated to pay, or 2) the fact I'm going to give you a free copy of the game on completion IS fulfilling that obligation?
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