Basic legal issues for game developers

I am creating this post for new visitors to the blog. As more and more posts go up, it gets more difficult to find the basic info on legal issues that game and software developers face. I’ve collected here the posts that will be most useful for first-timers. I will keep this page updated when new, informative posts go up.

Intellectual Property:

This is the big one for most people, and the one that generates the most questions. Here are a few posts that should help to explain the basics:

What is Intellectual Property? A handy roadmap for game developers

Start here to learn the basics of the four types of intellectual property and how they can affect or protect your project.

How strong is your brand? The five levels of trademark name protection

This post discusses branding and trademark law, very important when starting a new company or creating a product.

Five common questions about trademark protection

This post hits on five commonly misunderstood points about trademark law.

Idea vs. Expression – What is protected under copyright law?

The idea/expression dichotomy is often misunderstood but very important to understanding copyright law.

Copyright Myths – Post 1 and Post 2

These are a few myths that persist about copyright law. It’s very important for any developer to know the truth, especially about Fair Use (see post 2).

Forming a business:

This is another important topic for game developers who want to move beyond the “garage developer” stereotype into a business.

How do I choose the right business entity for my game development?

Information about the various types of business entity available for game developers, and why some may be better than others.

The three mistakes every game developer should avoid when starting out

Some common business-related mistakes that game developers should avoid.


Contracts are the lifeblood of business, and understanding what exactly you are signing is imperative for any developer.

Common Contract Clauses – Term, Territory, and Scope

Common Contract Clauses – Warranties and Indemnity

Common Contract Clauses – That “nonsense” at the end of the contract

My three posts on Common Contract Clauses can be very useful in helping you to understand what’s in your contracts.

The worst advice I’ve heard about contracts

This one is about why it is important to have agreements in place before the work starts.

General tips:

Seven (mostly) free legal resources for game developers

This popular post has some tips on free resources that every game developer can use. These can potentially save time and money on attorneys if used correctly.

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Zachary Strebeck

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