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What license or contract type is normally used by independent developers, when outsourcing game resources like graphics or sounds? Is there something like a template floating around? How much ownership of the work can I demand?

I'm alone, so the contract is only between me and another person who's doing graphics, sounds or so on.

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4 Answers 4

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Usually, the person paying the bills is the one that gets the rights for the job.

If you are paying him for making the graphics, then usually you should have all the rights. He just gets money for his time.

Conversely, if he's paying you for your programming, then he should get all the rights: code and art.

If you are both investing - either with an initial inversion or by not getting paid until the game is released - then you both should share all the rights. A usual move would be creating a society, and giving the rights to the society. But it really depends on your local legislation.

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Usually contracts like that are work for hire. The person doing the work has no rights to what they create for you since it's yours.

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This really depends on the contract.

If the contract say that the buyer just gets a licence to use the work, then the rights usually stays with the creator who then can do whatever with the product. This is not unheard of in the games industry when producing non-hero assets, like city buildings and grass textures and such often needed "extra assets".

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I'd agree with this - if the work is major and bespoke (ie expensive), the rights will lie with the company or person who commissioned and paid for the work. If the work is off the shelf or minor, the purchase will buy the right to use it, not the full copyright.... Although in some cases the latter may be used instead, if the buyer requires exclusivity. –  Jon Story Oct 21 at 0:22

This depends on the wording of the contract agreement and the governing countries laws (some states you cannot sign away your rights). Best to consult a legal counselor when drafting contracts so as to iron out the details and not have any issues for later IMHO.

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