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Old 11-13-2008, 07:31 AM   #1
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Default Whose IP is it Anyway?

Use this thread to discuss the article "Controversy in the Classroom: Whose IP is it Anyway?"
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:16 AM   #2
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Is it horrible of me to say that I haven't seen any IP from a student that seems worth the fuss? Of course, it could happen, but even then I'm not sure what side to take.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Is it horrible of me to say that I haven't seen any IP from a student that seems worth the fuss? Of course, it could happen, but even then I'm not sure what side to take.
What about Cloud? What about Narbacular Drop (which became Portal)? Crayon Physics Deluxe? The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom?

Even if you don't think there are any games "worth the fuss" doesn't mean that the students' rights shouldn't be protected.

I think it's fundamentally wrong for any school to claim all IP rights. The excuse that the school owns the hardware and software is not a valid point. Students pay tuition and lab fees for the explicit use of those tools. Artists, writers, film students, and so forth are all encouraged to make work while they are in their academic programs, and then go be successful with those works (more so at the graduate and doctoral levels).
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillduffy View Post
What about Cloud? What about Narbacular Drop (which became Portal)? Crayon Physics Deluxe? The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom?

Even if you don't think there are any games "worth the fuss" doesn't mean that the students' rights shouldn't be protected.

I think it's fundamentally wrong for any school to claim all IP rights. The excuse that the school owns the hardware and software is not a valid point. Students pay tuition and lab fees for the explicit use of those tools. Artists, writers, film students, and so forth are all encouraged to make work while they are in their academic programs, and then go be successful with those works (more so at the graduate and doctoral levels).
I couldn't agree more. Applying the same logic, any artist or writer who uses a Bic pen in their work, wouldn't the work created belong to Bic (or partially) because their tool facilitated it happening?

What about after they graduate? The teachers taught their students the necessary skills, so shouldn't the students work belong to the teachers because without them, the students wouldn't have been able to create it?

Students pay their fees to attend. They get taught, they have access to the hardware and software while there. It's part of the deal. Schools aren't charity, they exist to make money. It's sad to say but it's just a twisted way of trying to attain more profitability. This is generalized of course but certainly applies to the majority.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:57 PM   #5
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I had a feeling this might crop up again as it caused quite a firestorm of emails from the Education SIG.

I can see the argument regarding legal ambiguity over student and academic contribution to a project. However, I fail to see the arguments about equipment use, licencing and teaching. It is complete rubbish. As a student, you are paying the university a lot of money. This money covers, effectively, leasing equipment, specialist consultation and purchasing licences. Therefore, it should be a non-issue.

Fundamentally, however, I don't believe the legal fear justifies the abuse of intellectual property. As demonstrated in the Toblo Incident at the Slamdance Competition in 2007, universities do abuse their rights. Personally, I would hate this if it happened to me and I would not sit by quietly.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxtionHero View Post
I couldn't agree more. Applying the same logic, any artist or writer who uses a Bic pen in their work, wouldn't the work created belong to Bic (or partially) because their tool facilitated it happening?
That is not applying the same logic. Applying the same logic would be if you signed an agreement that stated that anything you wrote with the pen would belong to Bic, and then wrote stuff.

I would not do something like this, in the school's position, but the students agreed to work within the conditions laid down by the school. The students protested the decision, and the schools denied them. In my mind, the schools are perfectly within their rights, and the students are perfectly within their rights to change schools or develop their IP off the school's time.

To make my thoughts a bit more clear: I don't see the problem with the school owning the IP, but I do with them sitting on it, or working against the creator's wishes, but I don't see what can be done about that, or than protesting, which has, and is, being done. (And on second thought, I guess I would join in.)
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Is it horrible of me to say that I haven't seen any IP from a student that seems worth the fuss?
Well, what about De Blob? If the students who made that game (originally) hadn't owned that IP, the commercial Wii version could have never happened.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
I would not do something like this, in the school's position, but the students agreed to work within the conditions laid down by the school. The students protested the decision, and the schools denied them.
I am not convinced that students are made fully aware of the implications of the school seizing the IP. Even now I still get confused about copyright, patents, intellectual property and the subtle differences between different countries and states.

I wouldn't be suprised if the Toblo team didn't know that DigiPen could force them to enter competitions they didn't want to. Thus is the power of IP. It isn't exactly something that I would expected to have read in the prospectus nor would I expect it have been explained to students "we can do things with your work that you morally object to and you will have no legal grounds to stop us"!

Furthermore, I would also be interested in either legal alternatives to schools protecting themselves and their students, or simply how they could implement a strong policy that allows students to take advantage of the IP if they wish to develop it in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
To make my thoughts a bit more clear: I don't see the problem with the school owning the IP, but I do with them sitting on it, or working against the creator's wishes...
I would be suprised and shocked if a school tried to sue an alumni if they went ahead and developed their idea in the future anyway...you can't copyright an idea afterall. Especially if they are using the excuse "protects our image and quality of education".

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
In my mind, the schools are perfectly within their rights, and the students are perfectly within their rights to change schools or develop their IP off the school's time.
You're assuming that schools can only claim an IP off a student if it was submitted as coursework or physically developed on university property. This isn't true. While the vast majority of schools don't do this, there are several companies both inside and outside the games industry that will claim the IP on things you've developed at home and off the clock. This is something the IGDA has been working to stop for a while now.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:46 AM   #9
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As a Full Sail grad, I have no idea what the schools stance is on this (I'm going to try to find out). I think that the students should get the rights to their IPs and I hope this is the case since my final project is copyrighted by us.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrir View Post
I would be suprised and shocked if a school tried to sue an alumni if they went ahead and developed their idea in the future anyway...you can't copyright an idea afterall. Especially if they are using the excuse "protects our image and quality of education".
You can't copyright an idea, but you can copyright expression, and these days, everything involved in a game (including much of the code) qualifies. The upshot of this is that if you assign a copyright in your work to DigiPen or any other school, you can never use those assets again. Perversely, you cannot even try to recreate them from memory, because the result would most likely be an infringing copy of your own previous work (which your school could promptly sue you for).

Besides, there is no point in going to a game design school if you're not going to take the opportunity to create protectible, expressive works. No one needs a school to tell them what ideas they should come up with--it's all about producing them in a fixed medium.
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