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Game on Retron 77 contract wants you to sign over all rights and copyright?

Am I interpreting this right?

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#1 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 5:31 AM

So to those who don't follow the retron77 thread, Hyperkin asked game developers if they wanted their game on the Retron77.

This seemed great to me, as its going to be very good exposure. However, the contract seems very demanding to me and it feels like I would lose all rights to make carts, offer it online, etc. if I sign this. 

 

Is this similar to the flashback contracts? It really sounds like a no-no

 

Contract in attachement. 

 

Thanks! :)

Attached Files


Edited by Coolcrab, Wed May 16, 2018 5:54 AM.


#2 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 5:40 AM

Wow! That contract is utterly and ridiculously demanding rights! :thumbsdown: I cannot even remotely imagine any circumstances that I would sign such a completely single sided "agreement".

OK, if that's the Hyperkin "style", I hereby forbid them to use my work no matter how. This includes providing the ROMs, using screenshots or videos, links to any of those and even mentioning my games or name on a game compatibility list.

Looking forward to something reasonable. Then I will happily support R77.

#3 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 5:48 AM

I really don't mind licensing them the game for free giving them the right to pack it onto the console, etc. Ofc getting something back would be nice, like a discount on the console for example. But none of us are doing this for the money (I think), so I can live with giving it for free.

 

But I really want to keep my own copyright, especially since I am going to sell physical copies via Packrat and want to keep the ROM available for free on here and my site. 


Edited by Coolcrab, Wed May 16, 2018 5:49 AM.


#4 atarifan88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 6:28 AM

How can they demand such a thing from homebrew authors when they can't demand rights to the original games?



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 6:47 AM

Maybe they are looking for attention whores who created terrible crap which no one else wants to promote?



#6 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 6:48 AM

That contract is insanely one-sided. Cross out that first entire paragraph and it becomes a lot more palatable. 

 

They have the right to ask not to be sued by you. Asking for all rights to your game, forever and without limits, while depriving you of copyright, is easier for them but unfair to ask. You could even agree to "exclusive" distribution if they think putting your work on other manufacturer's hardware would lessen the appeal of their toy.

 

WTF are they thinking?

 

Seriously, I would cross out the offensive stuff and tell them exactly what you will and will not be willing to sign. 



#7 Classic Pac OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 6:49 AM

No homebrewer should be forced into giving up their rights ever



#8 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:09 AM

Asking for all rights to your game, forever and without limits, while depriving you of copyright, is easier for them but unfair to ask. You could even agree to "exclusive" distribution if they think putting your work on other manufacturer's hardware would lessen the appeal of their toy.

 

WTF are they thinking?

 

You're absolutely right. Companies write these things this way because it's way easier for them to absolve themselves of any work or the issue of keeping track of rights down the line. That's the kind of paperwork and due dilligence companies want to avoid. But that's no excuse for an exclusive and permanent transfer of copyrights. It might be different if this was a PAYING gig, but since it's not, this seems silly. This is a first stab, and I wouldn't write them off because of this. Smells like lawyer work. If anyone wants to include their work, I'd encourage you to redline this agreement and send it back for some back and forth. Hopefully you can get a human being to work with you on something reasonable. It'd be nice to see the community's efforts showcased here. 

Would love to have Andrew from Hyperkin weigh in on this.

 



#9 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:18 AM

Reminds me of the contract I signed for Atari for the Pong Challenge; I created two new versions of BREAKANOID specifically for those reasons and submitted those so I could retain rights to distribute the original versions.

 

I doubt they will mind if you offer the submitted games for download (I do) or want to sell them.

 

Apple was more annoying with their developer license for the iPhone; I was the only one using an Atari 2600 virtual machine to write an Atari Pong genre game - the other contestants all used modern kit.

 

  



#10 jum OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:45 AM

Any contract like this is negotiable, so anyone engaging in said contract is free to edit the contract, get their lawyer friend to go over it, etc, and send it back and forth until both parties reach a similar level of acceptable dissatisfaction. Then sign (or don't).



#11 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:53 AM

Any contract like this is negotiable, so anyone engaging in said contract is free to edit the contract, get their lawyer friend to go over it, etc, and send it back and forth until both parties reach a similar level of acceptable dissatisfaction. Then sign (or don't).

Why would and should every homebrew author (and their legal department) go through this process one by one? It would be way easier if the initial agreement wouldn't be that bad.

 

I definitely have no intention to waste my time with legal discussions going back and forth.



#12 AndrewHyperkin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:59 AM

Guys, there’s no need to over-react. This contract is simply a draft from our lawyers, and if it contains any wrong parts, let’s talk about it. I’m not a lawyer myself, and to the best of my knowledge, that contract was supposed to be a simple “I’m the author and I give consent to bundle my game with the system” thing. We don’t want to take your games, and if our laywers made it sound like that - let’s edit that contract to make it reasonable and saying just that.

#13 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:59 AM

That would be ideal yes! 


Edited by Coolcrab, Wed May 16, 2018 8:00 AM.


#14 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:59 AM

The contract only mentions Hyperkin Inc by name, no other company details. While I wouldn't want to doubt its autenticity, I would wait for some official response whether that is genuine or a hoax circulating before judging them.

Edit: Ok, I got one right at the time of posting, saying it is a draft.

If it is a draft, probably the lawyers worked from the point that normally they buy the rights for a certain, non-zero amount of dollars. In this case the standard texts about transfer or rights collided with the fact that they actually offer zero dollars, and the person(s) drafting the contract didn't question if these two conditions really work together (which we see right away that they don't).


Edited by carlsson, Wed May 16, 2018 8:05 AM.


#15 Karl G OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 8:00 AM

It may be negotiable, but they should have a more reasonable starting point.  If they want to play nicely with the homebrew community (and they seem to want to do so), then they need to have a much less draconian(*) contract.  I would be willing to sign something giving them permanent rights to distribute my work with their products for no compensation, but I wouldn't dream of giving up my own rights to my own work in the process.

 

I'm sure it's standard legal boilerplate stuff, but it definitely needs to be fixed.

 

(*) - No pun intended



#16 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 8:08 AM

@Andrew: Not only giving up all the rights is critical in the current paper.

 

Also many (if not most) homebrews were created by multiple people. And many were also partially the result of public discussion and feedback. So please address this in the 2nd part of the license.



#17 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 8:15 AM

Terrible contract aside, I think it would be great to have them distribute games on their console(s?). Especially since they will reach many people outside of this community. Just like the flashback consoles. So when this get's ironed out, I think that all will be good again. :)

 

And to anyone doubting the authenticity of the email, I can forward it if you want or send a screenshot. This was the message BTW, just to show that it was not clear that the contract was negotiable. 

 

 

Hi Alex,

 

We would love to include the game with our launch console – please see the attached software licensing agreement – it is required to have the game included.

Main reason is to confirm you have the right to offer it to us

 

Best,

 

Chris [redacted]

Product Developer/Manager

 

@Hyperkin: I hope that we can still do business. No ill intent from my side. 


Edited by Coolcrab, Wed May 16, 2018 8:17 AM.


#18 Atari-Collector OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 8:38 AM

OK, if I read that thing right, and bare in mind i'm not running on much sleep, it say you give THEM all the right and you get zero money in return... ?

 

That's just moronic, stupid, rip off.

 

I've wrote shareware for many years, and I've had people try to get my source code different times,  One even tried insulting me to think my software wasn't worth paying for, so I was supposed to give them the code...  People have the right to make money for their work and not just give it away.   What really sickens me is the people to call stuff freeware then beg for donations to keep it free like it some bloody noble cause. So it's really just beg-ware. And worse getting people to contribute to something's development for free, while they are the ones collecting the money as "donation".

Sorry, stuff like this gets me in rant mode easily and I've skipped off topic a bit..



#19 AndrewHyperkin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:25 AM

Ok, again - I’m not a lawyer and I won’t try pretend to be one. My legal expertise doesn’t go much further than a bunch of Phoenix Wright games. But I spoke to our legal department, and according to them, that draft doesn’t restrict homebrew authors in any way. You can totally sell or reproduce the game in any way, and we don’t ask you to abandon your legal rights whatsoever (that would indeed be completely moronic and weird). We don’t want to own your game - that’d be wrong on so many levels.

Their main concern is that very often a game could be written by a lot of people, and they are afraid of situations when hypothetically someone shows up and says: “Hey, John Doe had no right to allow you publishing that game, and I actually own 70% of the code”. That sounds like a legit concern to me. I don’t know whether it’s properly reflected in that paper though.

Also, I should say that actually including homebrew games is simply our friendly step towards the community; a step that is intended to promote your game / studio / team and make it available for more people. I personally asked the management to allow that, because I thought that would be a great idea. We hardly will sell more units simply because we include your game (especially if people can just legally download it for free right from this forum), but we are risking a lawsuit in a hypothetical situation described above.

Please take that draft as a suggestion, possibly an overkill, but that’s what our lawyers saw as a “necessary evil” on their part (again, I’m not qualified nor trained to judge that); we are open to your suggestions, and if you don’t like it - you don’t have to sign it. If you have a better version - please share it. We are not some huge evil corporation with contract terms made in granite. It’s all flexible and negotiable, if you don’t like the terms - suggest yours.

I won’t have a lot of time to monitor this thread, and hopefully I made our intentions clear enough. Please address legal issues and send legal concerns to chris@hyperkin.com.

#20 PikoInteractive OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:29 AM

If I could suggest something to homebrew developers.

 

Nothing wrong with selling your game, just ask for the right amount.

 

I'd say however much you make on the game a year times 20, plus 25% more. That should be enough for a buyout. Unless you are hurting for cash, then yeah, whatever you feel comfortable with.

 

Or ask for a royalty % per unit sold with reports every month/quarter and the ability to audit them.


Edited by PikoInteractive, Wed May 16, 2018 10:37 AM.


#21 KaeruYojimbo ONLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:42 AM

But I spoke to our legal department, and according to them, that draft doesn’t restrict homebrew authors in any way. You can totally sell or reproduce the game in any way, and we don’t ask you to abandon your legal rights whatsoever (that would indeed be completely moronic and weird). We don’t want to own your game - that’d be wrong on so many levels.

 

Then surely there's a way to word the contract that can reflect this. Whatever your intentions are now won't matter later if someone else wants to go by the strict wording of the contract, which seems to say that if my game is on the Retron77 I can't distribute it on my own website or sell copies through AtariAge.



#22 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:48 AM

Ok, again - I’m not a lawyer and I won’t try pretend to be one. My legal expertise doesn’t go much further than a bunch of Phoenix Wright games. But I spoke to our legal department, and according to them, that draft doesn’t restrict homebrew authors in any way. You can totally sell or reproduce the game in any way, and we don’t ask you to abandon your legal rights whatsoever (that would indeed be completely moronic and weird). We don’t want to own your game - that’d be wrong on so many levels.

Their main concern is that very often a game could be written by a lot of people, and they are afraid of situations when hypothetically someone shows up and says: “Hey, John Doe had no right to allow you publishing that game, and I actually own 70% of the code”. That sounds like a legit concern to me. I don’t know whether it’s properly reflected in that paper though.

Also, I should say that actually including homebrew games is simply our friendly step towards the community; a step that is intended to promote your game / studio / team and make it available for more people. I personally asked the management to allow that, because I thought that would be a great idea. We hardly will sell more units simply because we include your game (especially if people can just legally download it for free right from this forum), but we are risking a lawsuit in a hypothetical situation described above.

Please take that draft as a suggestion, possibly an overkill, but that’s what our lawyers saw as a “necessary evil” on their part (again, I’m not qualified nor trained to judge that); we are open to your suggestions, and if you don’t like it - you don’t have to sign it. If you have a better version - please share it. We are not some huge evil corporation with contract terms made in granite. It’s all flexible and negotiable, if you don’t like the terms - suggest yours.

I won’t have a lot of time to monitor this thread, and hopefully I made our intentions clear enough. Please address legal issues and send legal concerns to chris@hyperkin.com.

 

Sorry, that contract is absolutely ridiculous, and while I'm not a lawyer, it certainly reads to me that people would be signing away their games to Hyperkin with no compensation in return.  Hyperkin would then be within their right to, for instance, prevent AtariAge from continuing to sell any games which appeared on the Retron 77.  I certainly would recommend that homebrew authors stay clear away from this contract as it is currently written. 

 

 ..Al



#23 TPR ONLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 11:14 AM

Guys, there’s no need to over-react. This contract is simply a draft from our lawyers, and if it contains any wrong parts, let’s talk about it. I’m not a lawyer myself, and to the best of my knowledge, that contract was supposed to be a simple “I’m the author and I give consent to bundle my game with the system” thing. We don’t want to take your games, and if our laywers made it sound like that - let’s edit that contract to make it reasonable and saying just that.

 

The way it is written, you are "taking their games."  It should be written so that the homebrew developer and Hyperkin have co-distribution, non-exclusive rights.  That way the homebrew publisher can have their work published by someone like AtariAge if they wanted to, or some other distribution format.  Especially when there is zero compensation given to the developer from Hyperkin.

 

The idea that homebrew developers are still making games for a 40 year old system in itself is an amazing feat and those people should be able to get their work seen by as many people has possible or at least paid a fair amount if you want exclusive rights.  This contract limits that distribution to only your system and gives the developer nothing.  IMO this draft needs to be changed quite significantly to protect the rights and content of the homebrew developer. 



#24 AndrewHyperkin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 11:26 AM

PikoInteractive, nothing is wrong with that at all. There are famous games and developers whose work sells quite well. They don’t need to rely on the Retron 77 at all. We are being realistic in thinking that we probably can’t afford getting those anyway at the moment. But there are many great games - less popular yet quite promising, that could benefit from being on the R77. We simply want to offer an opportunity to do so.

Albert, it’s a personal choice - to sign or not to sign. Or to offer us a better version if you disagree. One thing though. Adding games was a last-minute idea, and if for whatever reason we can’t come to terms in a timely manner - the system will simply come with no games. I’m gonna have to sign the SD card image off to mass production real soon to ensure we can release it on the designated date. After the production starts, we’ll only be able to include new games in future software updates.

#25 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 16, 2018 11:44 AM

Andrew, IMO you (Hyperkin) should really rework that agreement ASAP so that it matches what you write here. In its current state it gives a very bad impression about the company.

 

I have been confronted with a similar agreement a few years ago by a company which called itself "Atari". And during the following discussion they made absolutely clear, that they had no clue about the community and did not care at all. The current license agreement puts Hyperkin in a row with those people.






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