I’ve just got a question that I would like to shed some light on. I’m figuring if I wanted a real solid answer I might need to hire a lawyer but it’s a question I’d like to find an answer to. I’m in the process of designing a game, I’m sure most of us here have great ideas that we’d like to implement in creating a dream game, especially if your more on the artistic side. I’m learning blueprints but thought it might speed up the process if I hire a tutor to teach me how to implement some specific features. I’m using the “Advanced Turn Base Tile Toolkit” by Knut.
It’s great for a framework that’s provided me with a lot of basic features and the ability to just quickly prototype some basic ideas. However, I’m at the point where I would like to implement my own ideas on top of the existing Blueprint framework he’s provided me with. That’s where I’ve thought about either hiring a freelancer or hiring a tutor for BP implementation.
The question is, if I hire a freelance to create blueprints for me that are added on top of existing blueprints I’ve brought from the marketplace, if my game was to be successful would I need to pay him royalties, or would any complications arise? (I understand some of this can be covered in a contract, but I’m just one guy, not a company.
Or if I was to hire a tutor, to teach me how to implement specific features, on top of the existing blueprint I’ve brought from the marketplace, the things that I’ve learnt from him since I paid him am I then legally allowed to use that in a commercial game. (As that was the intention and reason behind hiring him/her in the first place).
I guess the real question is as an Indie game dev, how would I go about protecting myself from copyright issues after hiring freelances or a tutor. If the game was to be wildly successful and they knew that part of the code was implemented by them (even though the features/idea themselves were conceived by me) could they then claim that they were co-owners to the product and ask for a share of the profit despite being paid for their services already? Hearing the lawsuit over the game “Spaceship Warlock” raised this question.
Just a quick excerpt:
“Two leading multimedia developers, Michael Saenz and Joe Sparks, have been in court since the fall of 1993 in a dispute about the ownership of the copyright in their successful game, Spaceship Warlock. The dispute focuses on whether Joe was an employee or independent contractor of Reactor, Inc. (Mike Saenz’s company) when they developed the game. If Joe is right in claiming that he was an independent contractor, he is co-owner of the copyright and has a right to half of the profits from the game. These profits could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Thank in advance!