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Subject: Is this a Publishing Issue? rss

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Dylan Posthumus
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If i make a game on The Game Crafter and sell it online but have contacted a publisher who later gets back to me and is interested in publishing it, would there be any issues regarding me selling it myself before they get a hold of it?

So if i pitch a game, then sell it myself before they show interest, could this cause problems?

(all theoretical)
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Justen Brown
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My information only comes from comic book publishers but I'll assume all publishing is the same. It's common courtesy to inform potential publishers if you submitted material to other publishers or if you're currently selling the project yourself. You don't have to be specific, just say "I submitted by game to several other interested parties/I'm currently selling the game through my website."
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Dylan Posthumus
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jaybeethree wrote:
My information only comes from comic book publishers but I'll assume all publishing is the same. It's common courtesy to inform potential publishers if you submitted material to other publishers or if you're currently selling the project yourself. You don't have to be specific, just say "I submitted by game to several other interested parties/I'm currently selling the game through my website."


Thanks for the tip
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Philip Migas
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Many games have been self published before being picked up by a publisher.
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mike
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You need to look at the websites of the publishers you are interested in submitting your game idea to for several reasons.

1.To see if they currently accept outside submissions
2.To see if they accept outside submissions from designers or if they only work through agents (this is common with toy companies)
3.To see if they accept outside submissions from unknown designers ( See the recent Wizkids call for submissions, they wanted experienced designers)
4. If they do accept submissions they should have submission guidelines on the website, if they don’t they should have contact information.

When you contact the publisher you need to ask them what their requirement are for a submission, how long it will take to review the submission, if they will accept submissions that are already available through game crafter or your website, etc.

Some many not want a game that was already self published, others may not want you to submit the game to another publisher until they have had a chance to review the submission and determine if it fits into their lineup, schedule, etc.

I also wouldn’t assume that game publishing is anything like the comic book industry or the publishing industry in general, because it isn’t.
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Dylan Posthumus
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80sgamer wrote:
You need to look at the websites of the publishers you are interested in submitting your game idea to for several reasons.

1.To see if they currently accept outside submissions
2.To see if they accept outside submissions from designers or if they only work through agents (this is common with toy companies)
3.To see if they accept outside submissions from unknown designers ( See the recent Wizkids call for submissions, they wanted experienced designers)
4. If they do accept submissions they should have submission guidelines on the website, if they don’t they should have contact information.

When you contact the publisher you need to ask them what their requirement are for a submission, how long it will take to review the submission, if they will accept submissions that are already available through game crafter or your website, etc.

Some many not want a game that was already self published, others may not want you to submit the game to another publisher until they have had a chance to review the submission and determine if it fits into their lineup, schedule, etc.

I also wouldn’t assume that game publishing is anything like the comic book industry or the publishing industry in general, because it isn’t.


Its a wide variety of wants and needs.
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John "Omega" Williams
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It absolutely varies from publisher to publisher.

Many companies have specific rules that a submitted game cannot have been previously published or made availible on the net.

Other companies are perfectly fine with a game hitting small press or PNP and may actively hunt for such to pick up.

Allways read the fine print of a companies guidelines. And *ALLWAYS* read the fine print on a contract deal. A couple of the larger companies have rules that anything you create once they hire you - becomes soley theirs. Games Workshop and White Wolf being two known examples of that.
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Dylan Posthumus
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Omega2064 wrote:
It absolutely varies from publisher to publisher.

Many companies have specific rules that a submitted game cannot have been previously published or made availible on the net.

Other companies are perfectly fine with a game hitting small press or PNP and may actively hunt for such to pick up.

Allways read the fine print of a companies guidelines. And *ALLWAYS* read the fine print on a contract deal. A couple of the larger companies have rules that anything you create once they hire you - becomes soley theirs. Games Workshop and White Wolf being two known examples of that.


That sounds like slavery... Makes you not want to design unless they order you to?
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Nicholas Vitek
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It is called work for hire and can include anything. If a firm hired you to paint, anything you paint at work is theirs. If they hire you to design buildings, any building you design at work is theirs.
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Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
That sounds like slavery... Makes you not want to design unless they order you to?


Well... yeah. Bone up on patent disputes. Something like if you work for a company and file a patent, it's theirs, not yours.

If you don't want to be a "slave", publish it yourself.

Anyway, while submission requirements vary by publisher, any *smart* publisher will welcome someone who's selling their own game. Not only does it show business professionalism and dedication by the game designer, but if the game designer shows them the numbers, the publisher will now have proof of a sellable product. As I see it, self-publishing numbers are more "proof of concept" than competitive sales. How many BGG'ers only really notice a game when it's published by an established game company??
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Dylan Posthumus
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Nich wrote:
It is called work for hire and can include anything. If a firm hired you to paint, anything you paint at work is theirs. If they hire you to design buildings, any building you design at work is theirs.


What if you dont design it at work?
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John "Omega" Williams
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Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
Nich wrote:
It is called work for hire and can include anything. If a firm hired you to paint, anything you paint at work is theirs. If they hire you to design buildings, any building you design at work is theirs.


What if you dont design it at work?


Maybee the building was designed for ants? (or you have alot of work space at home?) whistle

aheh.

But yes. Some few game companies are like that. GW and WW are the only two I know of though. Theres probably more.

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Justen Brown
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80sgamer wrote:
I also wouldn’t assume that game publishing is anything like the comic book industry or the publishing industry in general, because it isn’t.

What I meant by that is nearly every publisher, regardless of the medium, expects the same common courteous IE if they're open for submissions then you should tell them your plans. It's bad form to talk business with a publisher only for them to find out you're dealing on the side or speaking to their competitors. All publishing venues expect clear communication with the people they could possibly be working with.
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Dylan Posthumus
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jaybeethree wrote:
80sgamer wrote:
I also wouldn’t assume that game publishing is anything like the comic book industry or the publishing industry in general, because it isn’t.

What I meant by that is nearly every publisher, regardless of the medium, expects the same common courteous IE if they're open for submissions then you should tell them your plans. It's bad form to talk business with a publisher only for them to find out you're dealing on the side or speaking to their competitors. All publishing venues expect clear communication with the people they could possibly be working with.


Ofcourse there should be clear communication, all i'm saying is that it wouldnt be nice to get a job and then your game designing brain becomes theirs. I understand that if you are working for a company that they would want you to publish your games with them but that shouldnt mean that you would have to only deal with them?

Viva freedom! Viva! You agree?
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J J
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Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
It absolutely varies from publisher to publisher.

Many companies have specific rules that a submitted game cannot have been previously published or made availible on the net.

Other companies are perfectly fine with a game hitting small press or PNP and may actively hunt for such to pick up.

Allways read the fine print of a companies guidelines. And *ALLWAYS* read the fine print on a contract deal. A couple of the larger companies have rules that anything you create once they hire you - becomes soley theirs. Games Workshop and White Wolf being two known examples of that.


That sounds like slavery... Makes you not want to design unless they order you to?


You should assume that this is the standard, because in the world of IP production it generally is. And to address your question further down the thread, yes, even stuff you do at home will be covered.

Basically, you sign a contract whereby you assign any and all intellectual rights for a specific range of products during a specified time to your (prospective) employer. Businesses will argue that they cannot operate any other way. They have a point, up to a point. Some other businesses (which you should note are a minority) will act as publisher, but generally a company working in IP will want to own what they are producing (for what should be obvious reasons).
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Justen Brown
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Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
jaybeethree wrote:
80sgamer wrote:
I also wouldn’t assume that game publishing is anything like the comic book industry or the publishing industry in general, because it isn’t.

What I meant by that is nearly every publisher, regardless of the medium, expects the same common courteous IE if they're open for submissions then you should tell them your plans. It's bad form to talk business with a publisher only for them to find out you're dealing on the side or speaking to their competitors. All publishing venues expect clear communication with the people they could possibly be working with.


Ofcourse there should be clear communication, all i'm saying is that it wouldnt be nice to get a job and then your game designing brain becomes theirs. I understand that if you are working for a company that they would want you to publish your games with them but that shouldnt mean that you would have to only deal with them?

Viva freedom! Viva! You agree?


This really shouldn't come as a surprise. If you're contracted to work on the next Warhammer game or D&D title you can't claim ownership to those properties because they were never yours to begin with. But if you've created a game and submit it for publishing the company may or may not demand exclusivity. There are instances where a game is dropped by one company and picked up by another.

So don't get discouraged or think everyone is out to get you because companies are only trying to cover their own asses. Just be sure to thoroughly read any pieces of paper ending in dotted lines. Even if you have to dig deep for a professional opinion you should always have a lawyer look over legal binding documents so you're 100% certain what you're getting into.
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Dylan Posthumus
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I understand that they are covering their own asses and getting a lawyer to read over some documents would be a good idea, since its alot alot of work designing a game. They cover their asses, we cover ours?
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Nicholas Vitek
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Depends on your contract. My contract states if i design or patent anything that is work related (to my industry), while working there, it is property of my work even if I did it at home. They are paying for my creative and technical expertise and provide a salary.
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Dylan Posthumus
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Nich wrote:
Depends on your contract. My contract states if i design or patent anything that is work related (to my industry), while working there, it is property of my work even if I did it at home. They are paying for my creative and technical expertise and provide a salary.


I just dont like the way that sounds...

Doesnt that make you not want to design anything other than what you are contracted to? And do they just take what you make or discuss it with you first?
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Nicholas Vitek
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I work on my projects, dream of stuff. I make systems and improve upon them.

Eventually, I will leave and take my accumulated knowledge and dreams and then publish for self.

I believe that they wouldn't enforce it as long as I prove I used no company resources, but that would be difficult.

I also believe it hampers the entrepreneurial spirit but if you are paid a salary for your creativity, you should give the company what they pay for. Just like fast food workers should provide 100% work ouput because that is what they are paid to do, not half ass it.

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John "Omega" Williams
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Depends on the work area and how well into the company you are. For some that whole creativity is going right back into their pockets in the long term. For others its a sort of dedication thing.

It usually doesnt stifle side work, it just tends to shuffle it into a nice quiet cave where the CEOs wont notice till you are long gone.

It is though why a few gaming and comic companies came to life in the 90s, so a designer could work on their own projects and actually retain rights to them.

Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
Nich wrote:
Depends on your contract. My contract states if i design or patent anything that is work related (to my industry), while working there, it is property of my work even if I did it at home. They are paying for my creative and technical expertise and provide a salary.


I just dont like the way that sounds...

Doesnt that make you not want to design anything other than what you are contracted to? And do they just take what you make or discuss it with you first?
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Trystan
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Whilst it's common practice in many creative industries that a company owns the rights to related projects their employees come up with (since arguably they might be paying for your training, some of the resources you use and that your work might well be a source of inspiration for your home projects) I thought having the stuff you create being the property of the publisher is a bit of a non issue in board games.

Publishers owning all future works would only really be applicabale to people who were directly hired by the publisher and there are I thought very few jobs like that, most publishers will make a deal (one time payment and/or royalties) with an author for rights to a single game and that's it.

In terms of the OP whether or not the game being comercially available before deciding to publish it would depend on the publisher and the game.
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Joe Mucchiello
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Is this really an issue? There's only a handful of companies that hire game designers full time. Most game designs are sold to the companies with or without royalties and in those cases, they only own that one game. What's the big deal?

I work in the computer industry and I'm handed "we own your brain" contracts everywhere I go. I usually cross them out and rewrite them to only include material I work on at work and only those materials that relate to the industries they are in. Why? So I can look at and contribute to open source programs without screwing up the ownership of "my code" in either direction. If a company doesn't like my changes, I don't work there.
 
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Dylan Posthumus
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jmucchiello wrote:
Is this really an issue? There's only a handful of companies that hire game designers full time. Most game designs are sold to the companies with or without royalties and in those cases, they only own that one game. What's the big deal?

I work in the computer industry and I'm handed "we own your brain" contracts everywhere I go. I usually cross them out and rewrite them to only include material I work on at work and only those materials that relate to the industries they are in. Why? So I can look at and contribute to open source programs without screwing up the ownership of "my code" in either direction. If a company doesn't like my changes, I don't work there.


Was just surprised to hear that they own all your ideas once you are in a contract, good to hear that you turn down the brain control contracts.


Sign Here Please___________devil
 
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Dilly Afterdeath wrote:
I just dont like the way that sounds...


Many game publishers will revert the rights to the games you designed back to you, but this sounds better as theory. Wiz-War is an excellent example. It took, what, TWENTY YEARS before Chessex finally gave Tom Jolly the rights back before FFG republished it? Also, see the Merchants of Venice brouhaha between Stronghold Games / the designer, and FFG / Hasbro.

If you don't like how a contract sounds, renegotiate it or leave the table.
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