What do "publishing rights" entail?
December 5, 2005 9:36 AM   Subscribe

What do "publishing rights" entail? Game maker Acclaim is selling off publishing rights to over 200 games, and I was wondering what I'd get if I bought the rights to one. Basically: If I set up some kind of collective donation site, and we bought the rights to a game, could I then creative commons or public domain license it's content, or just the production (DVD, CD, etc)?
posted by zerolives to Law & Government (6 answers total)
This entirely depends on the contract between the owner of such rights and the purchaser. Publishing rights can be sliced as thickly or as thinly as the rights holder wishes. Due diligence is in order for all intellectual property transactions.
posted by anathema at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2005

The fact that this is part of a bankruptcy may further complicate matters. Many of the original licensing arrangements may have had contingencies in the event of bankruptcy. Also, many of these games incorporate famous trademarks into their titles. All of this on top of the copyright issues involved. I see many issues that I would want someone with a lot of experience in these matters to review.

I am an intellectual property attorney, but this is not legal advice, just a few very general observations.
posted by anathema at 9:51 AM on December 5, 2005

I have no answers, just a helpful link. Someone once bought the lapsed rights to River City Ransom and began work on a Game Boy Advance sequel. However, after the project had begun, the owner and his programming team found out that the first game's original staff were working on a sequel and nobody had checked to see who owned the rights. They just assumed it was still their game. In the end the legal owner of the rights (the guy) backed down even though he could have legally pressed onward. It's an interesting story and something to consider if you want to buy the rights to Iggy's Reckin' Balls (but why would you?).
posted by Servo5678 at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2005

Do these come with source code?
posted by jon_kill at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2005

I don't know the answer, but Re-Volt is one of the coolest games ever for the PC. Maybe we'll get a sequel/remake now!
posted by ontic at 4:52 PM on December 5, 2005

Indeed. Re-Volt rules, though I'm most tempted by the NBA Jam series. I may bid $5 to create a game where LaBran Jomes faces up against Mikhail Jardain.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:12 PM on December 12, 2005

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