Conflict over game designers' status as originators: 4,300 signatures submitted; talks resumed

After the controversial exchange of views in the past few months, the board of the Game Designer Association (Spiele-Autoren-Zunft e.V.; SAZ) and its legal adviser met the board and other representatives of the Fachgruppe Spiel in Berlin for new talks on July 8th, 2013. At the beginning of the talks, the SAZ board handed over the list of more than 4,300 signatures on the petition "Accept game designers as authors and the SAZ as a negotiating partner!"

The publishers emphasized that they still consider the anti-trust law and the (in their opinion) unclear status of game designers in copyright law as the main obstacle to joint negotiations. The SAZ reinforced its position that game designers principally are originators, and that the association would be willing to have this clarified through a test case, if need be. After a partly controversial, but ultimately fruitful discussion, all participants agreed on the following points:

  1. To begin with, a comparative presentation of the essential points of contracts is to be generated, based on a significant number of representative agreements between game designers and publishers. Then, according to the participants' ideas, this comparative presentation is to serve as a basis for further joint deliberations.
  2. If applicable, this comparative presentation is to be compressed into a collection of examples of minimum standards for contracts between game designers and publishers.
  3. Furthermore, the office of the Fachgruppe Spiel will prepare a text on the subject  Games and Intellectual Property Rights and put it forth for discussion at their autumn meeting in October.

The SAZ board appreciates the restarting of constructive talks, and that the publishers, according to a statement by the Fachgruppe Spiel, also are interested in a definite clarification of intellectual property rights regarding games. Besides this, the participants discussed possibilities of committing themselves jointly to furthering the cultural assets of games.

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