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Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by fusionlab, Sep 28, 2004.
Just saw this across at Gamespress.com and thought it sounded interesting...
From http://www.playfirst.com/tos.html, emphasis mine
Does this mean what I think it means?
Gabriel, now you understand why I say "Hard to find a good publisher" ?
That clause is a joke, retaining such a policy is going to be detrimental to their success.
These people are a complete contrast to Grab.com (see in the news section of this site). I know who my money would be on to succeed and the likelyhood of dealing with
Forget playfirst, they should be honest and just call themselves match3colors.com
The clause is also pretty much illegal under UK law and would get them a sound hammering in court.
Their website is brown.
This is from guys that are veterans in submissions sites people. Ever heard of atomfilms / shockwave.com? John Welsh is the ceo there. Know a few guys with content on shockwave.com and they got nice deals. Probably simply covering their butts on all cases for legal purposes. Besides, if you submit a free demo what do you lose? One thing that's odd is the terms are somewhat different than from AtomShockwave...AtomShockwave Agreement... see # 8
I guess it depends on what derivitive works mean, screenshots and gameplay videos? I don't think any online publisher is dumb enough to actually ask for your IP. No one is going to bite if that's the case.
That's why they aren't asking. It's just stuck into the contract and they hope you won't notice.
I think it means if you give them your 'Super Puzzler' game, they can create a 'Super Puzzler 2' game out of the first. No ?
The first part of the agreement isn't too bad. It basically covers PlayFirst the right to market and distribute the game.
You hereby grant to PlayFirst a perpetual, fully-paid and irrevocable right to freely use, disclose, reproduce,
I don't like the perpetual and irrevocable aspect of it, but I suspect this is just par for the course when it comes to contracts. I don't know what fully-paid means either, but I'd have a lawyer look at it first in any case. But these bits:
modify, change the game? Take out the developers logo?
create derivative works of, create a sequel, use the characters in your game in another, in other words use your IP.
license, does this mean they could get another developer to make a sequel thus cutting you out of the profit stream?
and otherwise distribute and exploit the Games in any manner determined by PlayFirst, PlayFirst can do anything they want with your game in any manner,
entirely without obligation or restriction of any kind. and not ask you first for your permission, and perhaps without the obligation to pay you a thing.
They concern me. Now I am not a lawyer, so this may not be what is being said, but this is how it reads to me. It looks very, very one-sided in PlayFirsts favour, and I would suspect that if PlayFirst decided to take control of your game, the contract would give them no problems in court.
Hopefully any indies considering this will have a lawyer look at it first.
Not in any contract I've signed...
There should always be a material breach termination clause, and in my opinion a no cause termination clause (typically with a longer notice/wind down period).
Though I'm guessing their paper contract will be significantly more in depth than the demo submission thing.
Their offer starts to sound like cellular business where you have developers, middle-size content aggregators and max-size content aggregators. If you are not "branded" enough (or you don't have good relations with anybody in there), nobody from max-size guys will pick your game.
Since the mid-size aggregators are scared to lose the niche because of the thousands of cell developers, they cut off the copyrights from the developer (read: ElkWare) games so max-size (and operators) will not ignore the mid-size and will not go to the proven developer.
I see the same thing here. "Hey, your game is cool. We'll put it on namehugesite under our name, you'll get the money, we'll have the brand and even more money".
This is truly arrogant, but I hope these guys just try to scare-off crap-end developers (ms paint + visual basic) by such disclaimer.
Well they managed to scare even Photoshop+C developers
It looks like they've got plans to move into the networked console and mobile phone markets eventually...there's a Q&A with John Welch right here:
I've met John Welch in person before, he's a very sharp guy and didn't strike me as a rip off artist. Somtimes I think these Terms of Service are just copy paste from some generic source. Has anyone tried to contact playfirst for further information?
Why do people put such stupid terms in contracts. Developers arent thick (especially the talented ones) we can read, and we can say no. I've lost count of how many times I've ignored a publisher because they listed a load of legal crap that was totally one sided. And the amount of times I've had to ask for stuff to e taken out of contracts.
These people just try it on. If you have a good game with selling potential, you can pretty much get any clauses you don't want ripped out of your contract. They just hope you wont ask.
We've known John Welch for a while and he came by our office last week to talk about what's going on at PlayFirst. He's a great guy and we're looking forward to working with him in the future.
John is really pumped about getting his new company off to a great start and I'm sure any contract issues could be worked out quickly and easily with him and his team.
Sadly thre are enough people who do blindly sign, usually on the assumption that any deal is vital, and if they start arguing terms it will be taken away. There is no such thing as a 'standard contract' - it's really the first draft that shows what their ideal terms would be. You re-word it to show your ideal terms, and then discuss the differences and come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
Be prepared to spend 3 months or so discussing various points in any contract, and always get a good contract lawyer to check it out. If whoever you are dealing with is genuinly interested in you and your products then they will be flexible - it is a negotiation after all! If they are trying to take you for a ride then they won't be. Its a bit like asking for an advance to find out how serious they are.
As far as submission terms go, I wouldn't submit any of my stuff to them on the grounds of that. I have submitted to other sites, but they tend to have much fairer terms (explicitly saying that they will only use it for promotion & marketting, and that you can request removal with sufficient notice).
Its a jungle out there...