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Thread: Intellectual Property

  1. #1
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    Intellectual Property

    Anyone been in this situation?

    I work for a large UK gaming company and I sometimes am asked to make games for them. I also freelance in my spare time for a number of different clients.

    Well, I had a great idea for a game and I developed it in my own time. I then brought it into work and adapted it slightly to add their logo on. I then showed it to the head of content and he was impressed and asked me how much I wanted for it. I told him to make me an offer and he went away to think about it.

    Now, I have just heard that in the last management meeting, they went this game to go live ASAP and have asked me to integrate it with the backend.

    "Well, you've not bought it off me yet!" I replied to which a rather smarmy and smug management vulture quirped "We don't need to, there was a court case last year blah blah blah you work for us, you have no personal rights to the game!"

    Well unfortunately, I am a rather stubborn and argumentative young man and will not be spoken to like that, especially as intellectual property laws are not worth the non existant paper they're written on.

    So what would you do? As far as I know, the company has a right to use the game as I have brought it into work but they will never have sole rights to it, i.e. I could sell it to another company as well.

    What would you do? Thanks peeps!
    Living the dream

  2. #2
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    I'll claim for overtime for the game (sundays are double time) and mark it up so I'll get my asking price anyway, its just the smug attitude of a management muppet that has got my back up and is gonna cost him dearly.
    Living the dream

  3. #3
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    thats an awful way to treat an employee.

    start by insisting, but in WRITING, NOT EMAIL, that this game has not been bought. And insist that it is yours.

    This is company politics friend and you need everything in writing. I mean everything. signed and dated.

    Do not back down so fast. Write the letter to the individual in charge of that meeting were your game was discussed, not the arse. Indicate that you are willing to charge a resonable price ect... but that you did this work in YOUR FREE TIME AT HOME. Express your total shock over the threat of legal action if you do not hand the game over. And ask why a member of staff is been treated this way, especially having shown iniciative. bla bla bla ...

    you start to get the picture.


  4. #4
    Monkey Wrangler monsterfx's Avatar
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    On your side:
    - While you put their logo on it to show them the concept, they cannot prove you actually developed the game on "their time".
    - The original person (same as the current muppet?) you talked to asked how much you wanted to sell it for, showing an assumption that you owned the game.

    On their side:
    - I'm assuming you don't have any documentation of the conversation where the person asked how much you wanted for the game.
    - There is a version of it with their logo on it.

    Unknown:
    - What is the exact wording of your contract / employment agreement? Are you full time or a contractor for them?
    - Did you create this on their equipment or on your own computer?
    - Have you done anything similar in the past? If you have a history of developing games on your own and selling them to the company, that will strengthen your case.

    I would stick with your plan of "bill 'em until they bleed" with the OT to make up your cost. That will be the easiest way to get your money. As far as selling it to others, I would think through some of the unknowns above and how strong you think your case would be if they raised a stink over it. I know in the US the burden of proof would be on them if they wanted to stop you from selling the game, but I don't know about UK law.

    -monster.

  5. #5
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    I can't answer this question and keep a civil tongue in my head, so I'm just going to back away slowly.

    drag that p**** who came up with the snivelling 'we own you' comment out the front door and make 'em bite the curb, if you know what I mean.
    Stand by for emergency synapse rerouting

  6. #6
    Banned vampstko's Avatar
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    wow razor that sux.. what would i do.. first...never have brought it in..i had a boss that he asked me to bring in everything i made at home..i was new wanted to show off if i could.. ok he said..put that stuff online.. <shrugs> it wasn't cool... i told myself i would never bring nothing in again unless it was paid for by him in advance..that never happened.. let them come to you mate.. if i was you..i'd start another site with just your games and post them there

  7. #7
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    - What is the exact wording of your contract / employment agreement? Are you full time or a contractor for them?
    I am full time for them, been here about 8 months. They treat me well, had a payrise two months ago. The problem is not with my immediate boss or even the Director above me, its with this new fella they've brought in to shape the online dept of the company.
    - Did you create this on their equipment or on your own computer?
    All the flash was done at home on my own machine. I used photoshop (in work) to create the interface for the game and to apply their branding as a demonstration.

    - Have you done anything similar in the past? If you have a history of developing games on your own and selling them to the company, that will strengthen your case.
    Yes, before I worked for them, I created games for their competitors and other gaming providers. They took me on full time because of that reason.

    I would stick with your plan of "bill 'em until they bleed" with the OT to make up your cost. That will be the easiest way to get your money. As far as selling it to others, I would think through some of the unknowns above and how strong you think your case would be if they raised a stink over it. I know in the US the burden of proof would be on them if they wanted to stop you from selling the game, but I don't know about UK law.

    Yeah, selling it to others wouldn't make me popular in the company and I really like my job so I'm gonna leave that for the time being.

    Charlie, thats an idea I've had myself, I've been thinking of what to use my site for (been dormant for about 2 years now) and have decided I am going to create a gaming site that not only lets you play games for prizes (trapping emails), it will also be a showcase for my work. Cheers mate.

    Thanks everyone for their opinions. One of the blokes upstairs is coming down to discuss this with me in the next few days so I'll keep you informed of whats happening.

    Muchos Gracias

    Bruce

    Living the dream

  8. #8
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    oh, and cheers monsterfx
    Living the dream

  9. #9
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    I know the case your boss was refering to and if you were indeed a full time employee, it is highly likely that if you went to court they would end up owning the game, especially if you did ANY work on company time, or even discussed the concept on company time. Even if you didn't you are on shaky ground... Basically if you want to create stuff while you work somewhere, keep it completely separate. Also if possible document this separation...
    You might have rights as originator, but all that really means is you get to show in a portfolio or stop someone else from making the porno version...

    good luck, and try to get all the bucks you can

  10. #10
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    yes best of luck,

    i hope all goes well.

  11. #11
    Monkey Wrangler monsterfx's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RazoRmedia
    Yeah, selling it to others wouldn't make me popular in the company and I really like my job so I'm gonna leave that for the time being.
    IMO that's probably the best call. Hopefully things go well with the suit from upstairs and things are happier. Also hope this new guy gets comfortable in the new position soon and stops trying to be the alpha male.

    Good luck Razor,
    monster.

    PS - What part of the UK do you live in? I ask because I have a good friend who now lives in Newton-Abbot (and no, I don't think the world is small enough that you have met him ).

  12. #12
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    Originally posted by monsterfx

    PS - What part of the UK do you live in? I ask because I have a good friend who now lives in Newton-Abbot (and no, I don't think the world is small enough that you have met him ).
    I now live near Wigan, work in Liverpool and used to live in Edinburgh (Scotland).

    I have also worked in Dunfermline and Preston but haven't ventured South much.

    Newton-Abbott you say, whats his name ?
    Living the dream

  13. #13
    Banned vampstko's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RazoRmedia
    [B]
    Charlie, thats an idea I've had myself, I've been thinking of what to use my site for (been dormant for about 2 years now) and have decided I am going to create a gaming site that not only lets you play games for prizes (trapping emails), it will also be a showcase for my work. Cheers mate.

    [/COLOR]
    right you let me know ..well run some traffic to ya

  14. #14
    Monkey Wrangler monsterfx's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RazoRmedia
    Newton-Abbott you say, whats his name ?
    Mike ****. Works at http://www.di3.co.uk/di3.html .

    {edit - thought better about having the full name on there. I'll PM it to you.}
    Last edited by monsterfx; 02-07-2003 at 12:01 AM.

  15. #15
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    cheers monster

    nice one vamps. will be done by next month
    Living the dream

  16. #16
    Old Member gecko2's Avatar
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    That's gobsmacking that an employer can do that!

    Is it the same ****wit that you were on about in a previous thread that was annoying you Razor?

    In my opinion it's your development, so what if you gave them a look at it with their logo on? It's showing them what you've done, if they want it they can pay for it. I'm right behind you on this one, let us know how you get on.
    Keep it rural.

  17. #17
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    yes gecko

    thanks for all your support people, still no news
    Living the dream

  18. #18
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    One important question:

    Do you freelance and do contract work after your full time job? Have you been doing it since working with them and is there a contract you've signed that said you can't do freelance work?

    If the answer is that you do freelance and there is no stipulation, they have no chance in court. Discussing it with them on company time or not, development was done in freelance. They have no ownership rights to it.

    If you do not freelance still and it is not in your contract that you can or cannot do freelance work, it can go either way. They will spend a heck of a lot more money pursuing it legally if they really want it. Much more than you'd probably charge. Therefore, it'd be in their best interests (and legal advice probably) to just suck it up and buy it from you.

    If you don't freelance and you've signed a contract saying you can't work as a contractor (which is very rare I might add), then you're up $h!T$ creek.

    best of luck to you,

  19. #19
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    In case you haven't already, do consult a lawyer. It'll cost you 100 but it'll be worth it, if you care about the game. The lawyer will know more about it than you expect.
    We're all in it together

  20. #20
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    UPDATE

    Okay, they have now asked me to start integrating the game with the secure backend and they have asked me to change the game mechanics slightly.

    The person who requested these was from the content team and is generally okay. I asked him off the record if they are going to pay me for all my hard work. He struggled, looked uncomfortable and said (again off the record) that the Bloke in charge was unwilling to pay for it, he wanted everything for nothing.

    Okay I said, I'll claim overtime for it then.

    He then replied I should claim overtime for it and he'll see if he can sort something out (unlikely).

    I then asked my immediate manager if I was able to claim for overtime from previous months, she said she'll see.

    The last I heard, it was with the IT director and he wasn't happy about the situation at all. He's seen the game, likes it and wants to use it. He doesn't want it to come out of his budget, it should come out of interactives budget.

    ahh, the joys of having 700 managers!
    Living the dream

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