Table of Contents
Course Materials: Intellectual Property
“The best way to familiarise yourself with IP law is to research contemporary case studies directly related to your own practice. Staying abreast of contemporary issues ensures you are not only aware of the laws but also the precedents set in your time. The breadth of issues covered by the mainstream media is vast, ranging from patent trolls to songwriters stealing melodies” (Falmouth University 2021).
IP is an interesting topic, the first thing that came to mind is this news I saw a little while ago: The Sinking City (Links to an external site.)
The Sinking City was delisted from Steam, Epic Games Store, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Why? The “Short version: We were forced to terminate the contract with our licensee for several breaches of our agreement. We urge you to read this open letter to our fans, journalists and people of the industry, to understand why this is happening and how you can still get The Sinking City” (Frogware Studio 2020). Essentially, Nancon stopped paying royalties to the studio, without the IP which (according to the studio) belonged to the developers. “Once again, BBI/Nacon does not own the IP – they are a licensee. They sell the game – not develop and co-create it. After we refused to comply, we stopped receiving financial contributions for over 4 months” (Frogware Studio 2020).
I chose this IP infringement because it’s a reminder of the many things that can go wrong when developing a game/product, working with publishers, signing contracts and so on. “Since the release of The Sinking City on June 27, 2019” (Frogware Studio 2020) the developers have been involved in court proceedings, which inevitably takes a toll on small studios and the people involved no matter the outcome.
IP asset inventory
“To complete this activity, you are required to create an inventory of IP assets held by the team. This can be undertaken by each team member asynchronously, or collaboratively with the whole team present at once. This is a speculative exercise so think of the project as if it were just about to be launched” (Falmouth University 2021).
Team Rock-it created our IP Asset Inventory in shared spreadsheet:
Valuation of the IP
Valuing our IP is a tricky business, with disadvantages and advantages to every choice. The income or economic benefit method suits our IP best, we are pitching for investment in a ‘big’ idea, with massive potential for profits in the future. “This method focuses on the revenue IP rights may generate for your business in the future. It considers both the future income, which a right may generate during its economic life, and the costs of generating that income. Risk and financial costs are factored into the equation. The end result is described as the ‘Net Present Value’ or NPV” (IPO 2016). The disadvantages of this model include estimation of income and life of the IPR but there are many advantages like the strength of the idea, changes and fluctuation to the market, size of the market and so on.
The IPR Valuation checklist:
The complexity involved in valuing the IP of something like our project may need the employment of a specialist service. For this reason, the team have not attempted to conduct a valuation ourselves.
The team have also put together a list of all third-party assets we have used for the project, on submission and in any marketing we will also include credits and/or a credit file.
SPACE is very much a team effort, I felt uncomfortable listing out where we owned each asset. The whole team owns every asset and the new team has shared everything we are doing along the way to the completion of this project. This means we have both had a hand in everything we share and publish and I feel that everything has been a true collaboration. Team Rock-it are now only two people which means coordination and collaboration has been considerably easier but that there has been a huge amount of work. To carry out our project we would need to expand and hire.
Falmouth University. 2021. GDD730 Co-Creative Design & Development Practice. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/913 [accessed 21 Jul 2021].
FROGWARE STUDIO. 2020. ‘Open Letter’ Available at: https://frogwares.com/the-sinking-city-is-being-delisted-heres-why/ [accessed 21 Jul 2021].
ROUSSEAU, Jeffrey. 2021 ‘Ubisoft Delays Rainbow Six Extraction and Riders Republic’. GamesIndustry.biz [online]. Available at: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-07-16-ubisoft-delays-rainbow-six-extraction-and-riders-republic [accessed 18 Jul 2021].
IPO (Intellectual Property Office). 2016. Valuing Your Intellectual Property. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/valuing-your-intellectual-property [accessed 21 Jul 2021].