Given the current debacle over Star Wars Galaxies and the rights that Sony Online Entertainment may or may not have to go changing SWG into what some see as effectively a different world - Eric Zimmerman’s recent intervention into what it is to be a game dev is most timely.
Titled “A Bill of Rights for Game Developers” Zimmerman outlines 13 Points (summarized below but explained in full over at Gamasutra) that focus on the developer as an individual with a set of putative rights. It's a fine follow up to Koster’s famous Declaration of the rights of Avatars and an interesting take, from the perspective of people at the code-face, on a wide range of issues discussed over here at TN.
A Bill of Rights for Game Developers
- The right to full ownership of what we fully create.
- The right to be billed as the game creator in marketing and on game packaging at least as prominently as any mention of the game publisher.
- The right for every individual involved in creating the project to be given accurate and prominent credit within the game.
- The right to move freely between publishers on new game projects.
- The right to a fair and equitable share of profits derived from a game.
- The right to full and accurate accounting of any and all income and disbursements relative to our work.
- The right to promote and the right of approval over any and all promotion of our games and ourselves.
- The right of approval over means for distribution, as well as for licensing, merchandizing, and other derivative versions of our games.
- The right to a publishing arrangement that reflects the iterative nature of game development; one that recognizes that changing a game as it is developed is part of creating a game.
- The right to a publishing arrangement that results in a process that conforms to accepted standards regarding work hours, compensation, and labor practices.
- The right to acquire publishing rights to a game if the publisher has stopped distributing the game.
- The right to employ legal representation in any and all business transactions.
- The right to final say in creative disputes regarding the game.