concept art copyright

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red baron
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concept art copyright

Post by red baron » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:53 am

I co-founded a games company with a friend, both of us being directors,
he was gameplay design, i was art.

We were developing online games, i was still working in a fulltime job and doing all work in my spare time (over the last 15 months)

I worked on all artwork, concept and promotional, logos, business cards also, however he left his day job to work on setting up the company/find funding fulltime. i couldn't do that, so he felt i wasn't making enough progress quickly enough, so told me he wants to terminate our business relationship, with him taking over the company completely.

he seems to think that leaves him retaining everything, with me no longer involved. however i wish to retain the rights to all the artwork and designs i created. we never began trading, or released anything, we used the artwork for funding applications.

I was never paid, or signed anything to say the company we founded owned any of my work, so can i tell him if i am no longert a director, or involved in any way then he has no right (without my permission) to use any of the artwork?

he may get funding, or secure a publishing deal based on the artwork i created, then use it to his own benefit.

any advice greatly appreciated.

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:16 pm

Copyright will belong to the creator of the work execpt where the work is carried out as part of 'normal' employment (where it belongs to the employer), or if there is some other agreement to the contary.

Based on your description it sounds as though you do have some claim, though a solicitor may be able to advise you further if needed. To me it sounds as though the correct outcome is one of the following:
1. He stops using your work and creates his own.
2. You relinquish your claim to the work - i.e. you sign over the rights to the artwork in return for a financial settlement.

If neither of the above can be agreed I think that is the time when you should seek legal advice (i.e. contact a solicitor).

It may also be worth pointing out that if he continues to use your work and you do not pursue the case at this time (i.e. it is not worth the legal costs), if the company makes significant money it will be worth the legal costs at that point -- better to settle now.

red baron
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Post by red baron » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:58 pm

many thanks for taking the time to reply.

i will discuss it with him very soon, there was no falling out, or bad feeling between us, hopefully we can continue to keep it that way.

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