Aside from occasionally embedding community responses to open questions via Twitter, HobbyGameDev is almost entirely a single author blog (hi folks!) that’s strictly original content. I generally don’t reblog or blog about other people’s content.
However: MY GOODNESS, if you haven’t been reading VideoGameAttorney’s free legal AMA (Ask Me Anything) discussion threads in r/gamedev then you simply have been missing out. It’s inspiring, what a grand show he’s putting on in there.
Every few weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less) for months this lawyer has been answering dozens to hundreds of legal questions from game developers on the web.
Some of these are likely similar to questions that you’ve wondered about, or will run into. Through the magical power of community there are a ton of questions in there that you’ll spot and be glad that someone else brought up for you, because in retrospect it’ll likely apply to you but you didn’t even know to ask.
It’s like Wisdom of the Crowd but in reverse.
Granted, just as he indicates in his disclaimer every time at the top of the thread: it’s merely general legal guidance (or even “IS ATTORNEY ADVERTISING” – which is what the lawyer’s lawyers, not even kidding, demanded he start including) and it obviously cannot account for the specific facts of your situation. Reading through this treasure trove is no substitute for meeting with a lawyer, however it may help shine light on the value of finding one when certain topics, scenarios, or concerns become relevant to what you’re doing as a game developer. In most cases I imagine that his general legal guidance/”advertising” is probably better aligned with legal realities than your or my guesswork.
Even if you’re not trying to start a company or negotiate a contract with a publisher, legal matters can still affect us. Put ads in your game? Working with other people? Putting it on a mobile store? Distributing it online on a website? All kinds of things that we take for granted as normal or casual can have legal ramifications. It certainly can’t hurt to be a little better informed about what more of these considerations are, if only to keep them in mind moving forward.
Without further ado, one way to easily get a list of most of these, including some that may happen after this post, is to simply search for Legal AMA in reddit.com/r/gamedev.
To save you a step, in case you’re looking at this post while it’s recent, here are direct links to those of his AMAs that are available at the time of my posting this entry, including some which won’t come up in the search above on account of the title wording:
IamA video game attorney who has spent countless hours trying to educate game and app developers of their rights, for free. I also am part of the IGDA’s legal group releasing a statement on king.com’s actions. AMA!
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