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View Full Version : The importance of Copyrighting your work



Sleepless
06-07-2010, 06:54 PM
It's come to my attention that many people on the course have started creating small development companies to create games together and although this is great; it helps everyone better learn the material that were being taught and put it into practice, there are certain issues that need to be taken into account:

1. are any of the games going to be sold?
2. what are the agreements that you have with the other designers / developers / audio guys when it comes to payments?
3. has a contract been put together to prove that you are employed by the development company?
4. How are you going to protect your work from plagerism?
5. How can you guarantee that you are going to get payed for your work (and how and when will this happen?)
6. Do you realise that if your profits reach a certain threshold you are liable to pay tax on said profits
7. Is the company legaly registered?

If your only making free to play games at the moment you can pretty much dissregard the items about payment, however you should still make sure to copyright all of your assets. This can be done via:

www.copyrightservice.co.uk

for a one off fee (as long as you zip all the items that you want copyrighted).

the next thing to take into account is that you need to give permission to the game company owner for the use of your assets via a terms of use agreement. The reason for this is that because in all likely hood you havent signed a contract making you a full time employee of said company you are effectivaly working freelance. Because of this, for the legal safety of yourself and the company you and the owner of the company should have a signed copy of a licensing agreement that states that the assets that you are providing can be used for a set amount of time and you exspect x amount for the use of them over a period of time. (examples of these can be found on the internet ....you dont need to speak to a solicitor to have one of these written up.)

Lastly, for the people thinking of starting their own game studio, do take into account that the moment you release a game that is for sale you must register with H&M Revenue and Customs and give them details of all revenue gained on the sale of your games as well as information about employees etc.

Anyway, im not an expert on all of this, but its just a few things that i though everyone might want to consider.

ps. sorry about the massive amount of typos, in poland on a polish computer atm and it wont spell check british words.

DrDeth
06-07-2010, 07:06 PM
Thanks for the info Sleepless. I'm sure this will come in handy to a lot of people.

Another handy place to find legal info is here: http://www.indievision.org/?cat=50

Shadows
06-07-2010, 07:09 PM
Great thread Sleepless! Some very helpful information.

yaustar
06-07-2010, 09:11 PM
It is worth noting that anything you release/produce is automatically copyrighted by law. The problem comes when you have to prove it which is why copyright services exist. It be worth checking on how good the service you are intending to use is at proving something legally belongs to you before handing money over.

bhmediamarty
06-07-2010, 10:15 PM
Great thread Sleepless! Some very helpful information.

Indeed, and a nice link from DrDeth too, fairly sure that'll help a lot of people who are worried about the legalities of what they're doing and in protecting their input into any projects.

Sleepless
06-07-2010, 10:15 PM
Very good point Yau, however, when writing a terms of use agreement it is a good idea to include a copy of proof of ownership of the items that you are licensing, this can be easily obtained from companies like The UK Copyright Service, however as you have stated it might be worth shopping around for other companies. This site, however, has some great resources for more information on copyright law, and provides a service for international copyright of your assets.

oh and great link DrDeth, I'll have to have a proper read through the different articles on there at some point.

Sleepless
06-08-2010, 09:20 PM
one site to check out for legal document resourses is:

http://www.business-in-a-box.com

it has loads of free templates for anything from creating contracts to other highly relevent legal documents.

Vampire Duck
06-09-2010, 09:00 AM
Nice work again Sleepless!

Good collection of resources in this thread now :)
Is it worth stickifying now maybe?