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Thread: ubisoft VS. EA

  1. #1
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    ubisoft VS. EA

    http://www.gamespot.com/all/news/news_6076016.html

    yikes!!
    so what do you guys think about this clause that doesnt allow an employee to go work for another company for a whole year--i guess its limited to the area...(in this case montreal) . but still , the whole idea is prett scary IMO

    ty


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  3. #2
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    BTW--this happened over a year ago

    but i was still hoping to have an open dialog about this "contractual obligation". anybody got any other stories regarding this type of contract?

    ty

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    I don't really like EA and Ubisoft has been making some excellent games...

    But this time I agree with EA. This is heinous! What an aweful policy... to basically force them into unemployment from the games industry for a full year is just ridiculous.

    Ugh...
    Ubisoft... what the hell were you doing??

    -toasty =(

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    I heard that EA actually tried to sue the original artists who made the medal of honor series for doing the same thing, or even for quitting! This video game industry is really fucked up. WTF do these corporate idiots think they are? This industry imop is ass-backwards. The talented, dedicated, underpaid, people who make these games are at the absolute botttom of the food chain.

    It makes me absolutly sick to see such hard working talent get walked over all the time. I think this industry needs a union just like the entertainment industry has. WTF are game artists the only group not protected from this kind of shit??
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    Unfortunately this type of clause isn't restricted to the video game industry. In fact it's a pretty common addendum to any corporate employment agreement these days.

    The reasoning behind it is to stop disgruntled employees from quitting en force to start up a competing company or for already established competition from hiring the talent away.

    Fortunately the courts usually find in favor of the defendants as, stated in the article, forcing someone out of gainful employment is a real leagal grey area, and something which this type of contract does... twice. Once when a potential employer requires you to sign the thing to get hired and the second when you quit and they won't let you work in your specified field.

    I personally have signed any number of these agreements in my various employs, (both in and out of the games industry) and I'm still working with no law suits pending. I'm not saying you should feel entrirely comfortable signing one, but I am saying that you shouldn't lose any sleep over it if you did.
    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck

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    In Holland this is actually a normal clause. The effects of it have been reduced however by a new law that says that the new employer can pay the old employer for this, since a professional would not be able to do any work if held to this law... I personally think this whole practice is ridiculous since in the long term it helps nobody.

    It does reduce the free worker to a bound drone though...
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    I also understand that EA did sue the old medal of honor team. In turn the team turn around and came out with CALL OF DUTY. Which is available at fine retail stores such as best buy, e b games among other fine stablishments. pick it up and enjoy. Your friends will think you're cool. Remember if you don't buy the game they win,man, they win.

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    Bad move by EA, Did they forget that they are in California? They lost big, and the fact that they would SUE over this makes me sick. Big ass EA suieing some little video game artists, (who are underpaid, and never recieve royalties) is wrong. You would never see this in the movie industry. SAG would be all over this shit. It's like telling an actor who played a certain role they could never play a similar role like it. WTF? Competition is what makes a healthy market!!...these fucking puiblishers need to let the slave drive go.

    But as long as artists stay ignorant, complacant or usless to these "so called normal cluases" then they all are pissing away their futures.

    If you ask me, actors have a more promising career than a game artist.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

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    Since we are talking about EA...

    15 graduating computer animation students from Ringling were picked up by EA this year. 5-8 graduating illustrators were also picked up.

    Completely unprecedented...

    (Go Ringling!)

    -toasty =)

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    After readfing this thread...is that somthing to be proud of? I don't get it. :confused:

    I guess it's freash blood.

    BTW, regarding the quote" it's common in most corporate environments"

    This is not true. Working for a company, then soliciting to their close customers directly after you leave could be an issue. But to be hired by their competition is NOT. We live in a free, and competitive market. People go where they are in DEMAND. To sign a contract that will keep you unemployed after you leave a company is stupid.
    Last edited by otis; May 10th, 2004 at 10:54 AM.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    - H.D. Thoreau

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    From the huge brouhaha we get about it here since a year, the EA in question is the Montreals' brand spanking new office vs Ubis' Montreal office. EA apparently went marauding in Ubis' employees which is the source of the fight... Even tho the workers are being sued, I really don't think anything will stick (unless there were stolen code/assets/etc). If anyone will get some blame it'll be EA itself for the aggressive recruiting techniques... But it's always easyer to scare everyone and make waves against someone that doesn't has a ready battalion of seasoned lawyers.

    I just read Ubisofts' new employee contract (should I, shouldn't I..) and they added an interesting "clause" on the non-competitivity paragraph.
    There has always been the "thou shall not work for a competitor on this continent for one year after leaving the X company", but it was NOT enforcable in any court of law. Not for the kind of salary game industry people are getting.
    The new added line is very interesting and goes something along the lines that you DO condisder fair the fact that company X is asking you to sign this and thus agree not to work for a competitor in (example) north america for one full year. The key ? To make you agree that it is reasonable.
    I don't know how it'll make this part valid or not but it sure gives amunition to the big developpers/publishers.

    There's are also a few disconcerting stuff in the new version of the contract.... :scared: :eek: :emb:
    Always be VERY careful of what you sign !

    All this certainly isn't enticing talented people to stay in the industry and even less to go work for Ubi. It creates a very gloomy atmosphere.

    Aline, pondering wether or not to sign, in blood, on the dotted line at the bottom...............

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    otis--what do you think artists should do to protect themselves? are you gonna be at teh workshop otis? i would be good to hear you speak on this subject with everyone else around to share incites.

    is a UNION the only answer? id love to bring this topic up at teh workshop

    ty
    Last edited by tyboogie; May 10th, 2004 at 10:56 PM.

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    if the dudes that decided to leave were regular employees, there wouldn't have been any fuss. it is just that the upper position these guys had, prevented them from easily leaving, as they probably had a lot of knowledge to share. at least that's what ubi's point of view on the matter.
    EA had decided to come up here in montreal because of the advantages it represented. and there are some 3d schools here that produce quite a bunch of talents. salaries here in montreal are not high at all too, at least compared to paris.

    this story has been going since last year, but now we don't ear about it much now. personaly it doesn't bother me at all, because in that particular case, quite a bunch of competent and well informed guys left all at once. and ubi treated the problem as a whole, probably the bad way. but when a problem has to be treated urgently, i suppose you legally do everything to solve it as fast as possible, forgetting about any negative image it will give.

    what i know about this specific "for a year" close, is that the person is supposed to be paid during the period she's being put "out of the buisness". (at least in france)
    if the company did not want to see a talented dude to go to the "enemy", she had to pay for it.
    i guess it is the same in the states...

    sparth

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    For once i have to say that I agree with you Otis man.

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    BTW, regarding the quote" it's common in most corporate environments" This is not true. Working for a company, then soliciting to their close customers directly after you leave could be an issue. But to be hired by their competition is NOT. We live in a free, and competitive market. People go where they are in DEMAND. To sign a contract that will keep you unemployed after you leave a company is stupid.
    I'm sorry, I'm not quite clear what it is you're trying to say here. My point was that it's quite common for large corporations to "force" the signature of such contracts before hiring an employee. I totally agree that it's a "stupid" practice and one that we shouldn't have to deal with but the fact remains that of the last four jobs I've had in the art and graphic industry, both in and out of video games, I've had to sign three of them.

    Not only that but according to egerie they're getting even more nefarious.

    Ranting about how we need a union or how the talent goes completely underrated in the video game industry is all well and good but how do you suggest we go about implementing/changing these truths?
    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck

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    Grooveholmes, I didn't even know we ever disagreed before?

    I first suggest that we look into the federal laws regarding employent rights. A lot of these companies put these ridiculous clauses in their contracts, knowing most will not fight it and just go along with it. (Becuase it is the "norm")
    I believe you can write ANYTHING up in a contract, and as long as it is signed..there is nothing the law can do.

    But what makes us go along with these "clauses"?

    Now lets face it, being employed by the same company in this industry is hard to come by.

    Then you add all the "video game schools" that crank out fresh blood, who will work long hours for almost NOTHING every year,... we have a volitile , typicaly low paying industry we all work in today.

    But the movie industry has unions that adress these issues. Hell most animators at Disney had a career w/ the mouse spanning over 10-29 years! Why does this not happen in games?
    Becuase.....
    Passive people like us, grudgingly except it. I still get pissed off about the fact that we concept artists HAVE to "work for hire." There isn't one proffesional illustrator in commercial or advertising that "works for hire" . When you have your work on the cover of TIME magazine, ..it is still yours!!!

    Actors at least get royalties, and personal recognition for contributing to a movie. But most art directors, production designers have to get permission and be gratefull to even show their work in a portfolio.

    There are unions that protect actors, animators, set designers, drivers, ....etc. But nothing protects video game artists.

    History lesson:
    Before Star Wars got big, the production designers who designed the characters recieved royalties. But when the first action figure came out, Lucas realized that he was sitting on a gold mine and had to change his contracts to capitalize on all this merchandise. Ask Feng if he gets any kind of royalty for a popular vehicle or charactyer he desigs today. Nope!

    Thanks to Lucas, all the other production companies and devlopers followed suit. I think the last artist in the game industry who gets to collect on his creation, is the artist who came up with Earth Worm Jim.

    All I want artists to know is that we concept artists and production designers contribute a lot to the games and movies we make. And even though the industry norm is to ignor this, we can at least make efforts to address it, and protect the few rights we have.

    If you think I'm ranting or ridiculous...then I guess nothing will change.

    Sparth, many top guys leave Disney, and Pixar every year to start up their own production houses. This is not illegal or uncommon. You just can't take specific tradmarked code or engines. You can use the skills and knowlege you acquired at your previous employer anywhere you go. Example: Why do you think Dreamworks animation and movies look soo similar to Disney's? Becuase they all came from Disney!!!

    Tyeboogie, this is a great topic and I look foward to chatting with you guys in Austin!
    Last edited by otis; May 11th, 2004 at 12:48 AM.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    Originally posted by otis
    Grooveholmes, I didn't even know we ever disagreed before?
    Only regarding Bush, mang.

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    Oh..oops,...all that was just for fun, ...I really don't know anything or even care about politics. I just like to play devil's advocate somtimes.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

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    Just out of curiosity, ...how do other concept artists feel about having to give up all the rights to their work, in a very unstable industry, where somtimes your art is the KEY to most developers selling their game to a big publishers, or even better / worse ends up making the company millions of dollars in merchandise and you not seeing a cent? Your design /art is used in million dollar ad campaigns, licensing agreements, happy meals, action figures, movies, ...etc.

    ...And all you get is the temporary job that covered your rent /mortgage for a couple of months.

    IMOP, this is bullshit. This is the only proffesion as I mentioned where artists work for hire on a regular basis. Does it make sense to you? Aren't we worth more than that?

    I believe that what a concept artist / production designer contributes, is more than just his / her time. We are creating the LOOK and IDENTITY to possibly the next big franchise everytime we paint.

    I just want to hear other's opinions.
    Last edited by otis; May 14th, 2004 at 04:01 PM.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    - H.D. Thoreau

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    otis> I doubt those companies are are eager to pay out more than they can, whether or not their employees deserve more. Usually, it's more of an issue of supply determining market pay, and I guess there are just a lot of artists around, and many more appearing every year. And, because of the salary disparity, contracting out work to artists in China, Philippines etc. are becoming more and more cost-effective.

    But..., I thought the US already pay artists good money? In my country, the market rate is about just US$1000 to US$2000 (depending on experience and skill) for a month of work for a decent artist.
    ...+1 exp

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    this topic covers some areas that I was marginally aware of but hadn't considered much when I think about working in the video games industry (I haven't yet). As the industry as a whole gains earning potential large corporations will naturally want a piece...I suppose we should assume them to operate in a "me first" attitude and protect ourselves accordingly.

    One interesting method of defense: perhaps we should either affiliate ourselves with the Graphic Artists' Guild (http://gag.org/)or create our own, similar union. the GAG publishes an annual guide to ethical pricing, offers health benefit group memberships, advice on taxes and contracts, etc. If we organize ourselves and educate new members on the likely content of contracts, it is possible to negotiate away from corporate policies that are harmful to the creative talent.
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    bwkeough,

    you hit it right on the head. The GAG does a great job in educating artists out there, I just don't know how active they are in protecting us. sombody should at least bring this to their attention.

    And yes, the game industry has become completely corporate. As this thread pointed out, w/ out proper regulations and protection for the artist in this industry, it will only get worse.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

  24. #23
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    If a concept art union was formed, id join.

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    if you live in arizona or texas (right to work states) then none of those contracts mean jack shit. they are unenforcable.

    free the people!!!

    heheh

    j

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    Woohoo, I live in Arizona, too bad their is jackshit for game companies out here. I need to move to Texas.

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    right now I work in the deli and our deli serves pepsi in the soda machine. The guy who delivers our store coke prouducts came to my deli asking for a soda. When he saw that our cups had pepsi on it, he said he couldnt buy it and bought a bottled soda instead... kinda related, not about art though....

  28. #27
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    Huh? Missed your point?
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

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    Just on the film post production side I can soundly say that there is a ton of inbreeding.
    Everybody where I work came from somewhere else. Hell, Doug Chiang used to work here a while back.
    We have a ton of freelancers that move on to other projects at different studios when their job is done here.

    It's a crazy world. That's why I've resisted moving around too much. The grass may be greener, but this feels more like home.

    Phil

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    Forced to be out of work for a year is pretty messed up. It's too bad many companies in the Videogame/Film industry have so much power over artists. I've learned that depending on the VidGame or Film company, artists have very little rights, and are basically completely owned by companies. In some cases, every idea and new artwork you create, whether that be from your home or not, is legally the companies property. Thats not fair at all. Your basically told to give up your sole to the company.

  31. #30
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    Yeah. When I started here I had to sign a lovely peice of paper that said anything I created during work hours on site would technically be the companies property.
    However, I work at a very flexible company and they pretty much let me do what I like with my ideas created in the "dead" time.

    I haven't heard of a company making you sign a disclosure or siezure of rights towards your ideas created while working at a place during non work hours. However, I could see that happening.

    You gotta find the place that's right for you I guess.

    Phil

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