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  1. #1
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    What I've been doing lately.

    I haven't posted work here for a while as some of you may have noticed (okay, maybe not.) This is because for the past month, I've been working on a project for some independent developers in Europe. We're kind of a small team who are working on something which I am not at liberty to discuss and I was wondering if anyone could help me out with some advice.

    This product that we're developing is sort of a side project for everyone since everyone seems to have regular day job, though they seem to be very serious about it and has expressed multiple times that they expects to sell it to a publisher and make money off it. The project director's even told me that he had hired a lawyer to draft contracts for everyone involved so should this be sold, we'd all eventually be paid. Right now, an NDA and a contract is in transit to my home and I was wondering what is a fair agreement for something like this. The idea is that a price for my efforts will be agreed apon by me and the director in the event of the sale of the projects license. If the project is not sold or is cancelled, I retain all of the rights to my work done for it.

    I must say, through all of my interactions with the project's director, I'm conviced of his legitamacy and that he's very serious about what we're doing and his intention to make money from it. Before I sign any none disclosure agreements or contracts, I'd really appreciate some advice on how this type of thing should all work. Thanks.

    -Noel


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  3. #2
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    Okay. It's been a while and I've since signed just the nondisclosure agreement but no contract yet for some reason, though I've shown them multiple sketches. I'm beginning to wonder if this is normal as the subject kind of slipped everyone's mind and work is being assigned. Technically i still retain ownership of whatever I produce for now but, again, I'm a little confused by the lack of a contract.

    Please, seriously, any advice from someone who's been through this or knows how these transactions are supposed to occur would be very much appreciated.

    their website is at www.stormforge.dk
    Last edited by N D Hill; November 9th, 2003 at 04:38 PM.

  4. #3
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    Hi,

    Probably, if there was no contract, the rules of the general copyright laws apply.

    In Holland, if you create something that you do not explicitly give away the rights of OR they are bought from you for some price (be it money or something else) they are not 'sold', and thus remain your property to do with what you like.

    I hope this NDA has a clause that renders it invalid after some conditions, e.g. the project is canceled or other circumstances that make you want to quit. In that case there will be the chance you won't get anything out of it but you will be able to use your own work.

    Any judge will probably find this reasonable, because you entered in the relationship with this director expecting certain things from the relationship (i.e. money, fame, whatever) and are willing to put an effort into it as a counterbalance. When the things you expected (and should put in writing) are not met, the relationship is terminated.

    But, working without contracts is dangerous! I would, if i were you, simply send a clear e-mail setting out what you want to put into and get out of the relationship, and keep a copy of it. Get the director to approve this e-mail (and keep that too!) and you're basically in the clear.

    But i'm no lawyer, so to be sure you'd have to ask one!

    E.
    Power is nothing without intelligence.

    Sketchbook!

  5. #4
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    Good idea

    Yeah, thats a good tip with the email. Print it out with the directors approval of your requests.

    I'd also contact your professional guild/union. Become a member and they usually have free of charge lawyers at hand.

    I've worked on plenty of "speculation" projects that sounds like the one your in right now.

    I've even sued in one case and won.

    Anyways, here's how I figure.

    Work out how much money you need every month to live a decent life.
    Don't forget to add all the costs of a real grown up life. The house, the car, the kids, the wife, the loans and so on. Add everything you expect from life and want to be able to afford.

    Now double that. (If you don't double it, at least raise it by 20% for profits margin. I use profit margins for those bad times when there ain't any work out there).

    Now add all the taxes that your country demands of you.
    Now add the sales tax for your country.

    That's what you should pull in every month.

    Multiply that by the amount of months that you've been working on the project.
    That's what you should get paid.

    Now add direct sales royalty of say 20000 USD. That's to say if the owner of the game sales it to the publisher the owner of the game must pay you 20000 USD as soon as the deal is signed.

    Which means that if you were 5 people who made a kickas demo then the owner of the game demo must pay the others 100000 USD when the deal is signed.

    Which also means that the owner of the game demo must add 100000 USD on the price to the publisher. and so on and so forth.

    Hoped this helped.

    Cheers,
    Leo

    Portfolio www.fabpics.com/leo

    PS Drop me a line and I'll scrutinize the contract for you, no strings attached, just as a nice thing to do for someone.
    www.fabpics.com

    "To achive the impossible you have to attempt the absurd."

  6. #5
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    Contracts aren't worth the paper they are printed on if you don't have the attorney and the money to enforce them.

    Neither are NDAs.

    General copyright laws fluctuate between countries, and cannot necessarily be relied upon. Depending on the originating point of creation, what was made in the USA may not be protected against use in Europe. Japan and China have a bad rep for ripping work off the internet and using it on packaging.

    I've had collegues find their work splattered on hardware boxes originating in China, and they had no clue it was being used.

    It takes a bit of faith, a decent amount of client control and a buttload of client relationship building to feel comfortable with any working environment, but particularly international projects.

  7. #6
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    The only thing you need to back up your contracts in a legal case is to be a union member or a member of your local illustrators guild. They have attornies that can and will handle your legal affairs.

    I have sued a client and won, and it did not cost me a dime because i was in the illustrators guild/society.

    Please check your facts before you publish them…

    Cheers,
    Leo
    www.fabpics.com

    "To achive the impossible you have to attempt the absurd."

  8. #7
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    I am in a similar situation at the moment, and by coincidence happened upon this thread. thanks everyone for the wise words, you've really helped.

    bob

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