Video Game Schools Claim Ownership Of Games Created By Students

from the your-first-lesson-in-copyright... dept

An anonymous reader submitted an interesting article about a growing controversy among students at various video game universities, over who owns the copyrights to the games developed by students. The well known DigiPen Institute, for example, makes it clear that all work created by students is actually owned by DigiPen, and this is upsetting some students. Even though DigiPen makes this clear (and even tells students not to submit anything they "hold dear"), it seems troubling for a variety of reasons. It makes little sense for DigiPen to retain the copyrights here. It is quite different than when someone is working for a commercial company and developing games for them as an employee. With DigiPen, these are students who are paying to learn to create video games. As someone notes, if you paint a painting in art school, the copyright doesn't belong to the art school.

DigiPen's reasoning does not make much sense, either, claiming that it needs to do this to "avoid misunderstandings" between DigiPen and the gaming industry. However, it does not explain what those misunderstandings would have been. The whole thing seems questionable, and as some folks note in the article, diminishes DigiPen's reputation. First of all, it likely does (as it should) scare off some of the better prospective students, who fear having DigiPen "own" their creations. Secondly, the way the program is structured, it makes it that much harder to learn if the school itself is telling students not to actually make use of their best ideas.

Filed Under: intellectual property, video games
Companies: digipen


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Michael B, 24 Nov 2008 @ 6:23pm

    This Ain't GPL, Folks

    While giving students' code away for free may be well and good, the fact of the matter is that they are basically taking intellectual property from a student without remuneration. The student is paying DigiPen to have their work not only possibly exploited, but it sounds like they are barred in perpetuity from using their code or ideas in future work, regardless of whether it's related to DigiPen or not. In short, the IP is being held hostage. The act of DigiPen not using the code to produce commercial games is a vague argument; there seems to be no reciprocal agreement that DigiPen certifies to the student that this will never happen. So, 5 years hence, if DigiPen decides to sell a student's creative efforts, there is nothing the student can do. Someone (DigiPen and whomever they sell the code to) can make millions, while the student twiddles their thumbs.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.