In today's main feature, Gamasutra presents "Game Law," monthly column by veteran game lawyer Tom Buscaglia. In this latest edition, titled "Contracts 101," Buscaglia attempts to dispel some of the mystery surrounding contracts.
In this excerpt, Buscaglia explores the reason why contracts drawn up for game development tend to result in lengthy, oftentimes complicated documents:
"...most industry business relationships are complicated and not merely a simple bargained for exchange of goods for dollars. Even the basic employer/employee relationships often involve multiple issues that ought to be considered and resolved in advance. This is especially true in an industry based on intellectual property like ours. And since these are not simple purchase and sale agreements, the relationships that most industry contract addresses are ongoing over time and involve numerous mutual duties and obligations.
In effect, they describe the parameters for these ongoing business relationships and attempt to account for all of the foreseeable issues that may arise so that the parties’ expectations are met and there is a minimum of unknown risk throughout the relationship. We have all heard stories of the early days in the industry when a publisher would give several million dollars to a developer along with the simple directive, “Make us some cool games.” Now there’s a publisher contact any developer can live with. Unfortunately, those days are gone."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the topic from Buscaglia (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).