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Feature: Game Audio Contracts

There will always be a need for audio professionals to help create unique and entertaining game worlds, and today's Gamasutra feature looks at the ins and outs of the game a
Audio plays a major role in the storytelling and fun factor for games, and there will always be a need for composers, musicians, sound designers, voice actors and audio engineers to help create unique and entertaining worlds. By contracting audio professionals the way the film and television industries have done for decades, developers and publishers can get high quality work without the expense of hiring full-time employees and equipping full-blown recording studios. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. But in today's Gamasutra feature, we focus on the bond that ties the professional audio contractor to a project: the Audio Contract. The legal contract defines who, what, where, how, when and why. Everything needs to be spelled out in this document to ensure a win-win situation. Although there are variations, depending on who wrote it and the scope of the work, contracts include the following: Who the agreement involves. The business name and representative of the contractor (or simply the name of the contractor if they do not have a business license); the business name and representative of the company hiring the contractor; and the addresses of each. Services. An overview of the services the contractor will provide (often with reference to specific schedules later in the contract). Also typically defines what rights the company has with regard to retaining the contractor's services.A detailed list of specific services is typically defined in a "Schedule" at the end of the contract. Ownership. Defines who will own the work when it is completed. Compensation and Payment. An overview of how the contractor will be paid and the rights retained by the company. Specific sums and dates are often defined in another "Schedule" at the end of the contract. Warranties and Indemnity. Defines the legal issues with regard to the contractor's capacity to enter into the contract, ability to transfer intellectual property (IP) rights, and duty to obey all applicable laws. The parties also define respective responsibilities if something goes wrong. There are more components than that, as well as numerous other issues. When do you need an attorney? What are other areas of concern? You can now read the full Gamasutra feature for further details and helpful tips (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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