Ryan P. Morrison’s Free Legal Q&A Threads on Reddit Are Amazing

Sep 29, 2014

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.

And though I hope it’s obvious here, I claim and deserve zero credit for any of this content. This is all via the intersection of ryanmorrisonlaw.com (@MrRyanMorrison on Twitter) and r/gamedev.

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:

FREE LEGAL AMA, all the way from Norway!

FREE LEGAL AMA! Stuck at an airport for five hours. Let’s do this, folks!

On a plane to Dublin. Wifi enabled. Means six hours of a FREE LEGAL AMA!!

They said it was too late in the day to start. To them, I said, watch me. FREE LEGAL AMA!

FREE Legal AMA! And an article on False Advertising in the gaming industry! Boomtown.

FREE LEGAL AMA! I’m on a bus for five hours with my phone, a charger, and legal knowledge. Let’s do this!

LEGAL AMA! And a Very Important Announcement From VGA

You think I make the front page and forget about you guys? Never ever <3 FREE LEGAL AMA!

IamA Video Game Attorney (it’s a thing, I swear) who just wrote an article on how Candy Crush is ruining the gaming industry. I’ve also helped /r/gamedev get informed and protect themselves! AMA!

Special Legal AMA! Immigration attorney, Stephanie Gibbs, joins me to answer your questions this week!

YOU: How does the law work? ME: Like this. FREE LEGAL AMA. Let’s have at it, amigos!

FREE legal Q&A! My hairline is receding, but my love for you all never will.

Have you received a ridiculous cease and desist? Let me help… FREE
FREE legal advice from a video game attorney. Come get law’d.

Let me Law You: Free General Legal Advice for My Favorite Game Devs

Ask-a-Lawyer Part 5: I helped /r/gaming, but I’m back for my first loves.

You asked for it, so here we go. IamA VideoGameAttorney AMA about trademarks, candy, crushes, and maybe even sagas!

Ask-a-Lawyer Part Four: Law You Long Time

OP delivers one more time! Over 50 questions asking the general cost of legal services…so here’s what to expect.

Ask-A-Lawyer Part Three! Let Me Law You

Ask-A-Lawyer Part Two: Now with karate chop action

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!

The first ever of /r/gamedev’s new weekly series: “Ask a Lawyer”

Brilliant.



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