The Official Kunvay Blog

Learn how to navigate copyright and intellectual property ownership smartly so you own your work, and own your future.

4 Things Every Indie Game Developer Needs to Know About Copyright & IP

Photo Credit: Super Hypercube by IndieCade used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Super Hypercube by IndieCade used under CC BY-NC 2.0

If you’re an indie gamer and have yet to encounter copyright issues, don’t worry, they’re on their way.

Copyright is everywhere and the indie gaming world is no exception.

Though its rapid development has given it a bit of a pass in the area of copyright insurgence, the gaming industry is no stranger to copyright issues.

Take for example the case of Galoob Toys v. Nintendo in 1992, a.k.a the “Game Genie” case.

In this case, courts ruled that altering a game’s content in a certain ways did not violate copyright laws. It resulted in gaming giant Nintendo paying 15 million in losses to the little guy, Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc.

This case has a set a precedent in the gaming industry that basically means that all gamers, Continue reading

3 Selfie Copyright Photo Basics You Need to Know

Photo Credit: Selfie by Ginevra Bariosco used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Selfie by Ginevra Bariosco used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The selfie era has long been upon us.

Only a few can resist the urge to express the “exuberance of the moment,” as experts put it: social media and clever smartphone technology in particular have made it ever so easy to throw up a peace sign, strike a pose and voilá – selfie heaven for well-knowns and unknowns alike.

In fact, according to psychologists, the advent of the selfie era has to do with achieving a level of ‘intimacy-at-a-distance’ with those larger than life people and places we admire.

It’s a technological way to zero-in on the moment and place oneself right at the center of attention. This is all somewhat of a good thing from an intellectual property standpoint. The selfie raises a number of interesting issues – particularly in the realm of copyright. Continue reading

5 Questions VCs Ask Startups about Copyright & IP You’ll Need to Answer

Photo Credit: Zoosk Startup and VC Speed Dating at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2010 by Howard Greenstein

Photo Credit: Zoosk Startup and VC Speed Dating at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2010 by Howard Greenstein used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Situations where potential venture capital investors are grilling start-up management always seems to bring the T.V. show “Shark Tank” to mind.

I don’t know how many times I watched as one of the “sharks” on that show told some poor business bait that money would be offered to invest based on a plan to market a license on an app program that showed great potential.

The shark sure sounds like he knows what he is talking about. Or does he.

Because we know that before licensing anything a startup manager needs to have procured a solid copyright.

Getting a copyright for a program associated with an app, website or any other computer program is no easy task regardless of whether venture capital has been secured. There is a fundamental flaw with Continue reading

5 Things Your Web Developer Won’t Tell You About Copyright & IP Ownership That You Need to Know

Photo Credit: The Exemplary Programmer by Alper Çuğun used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: The Exemplary Programmer by Alper Çuğun used under CC BY 2.0

The United States Copyright Office defines a “computer program” as a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.

The Copyright Office tells us that “copyright protection extends to all of the copyrightable expression embodied in a computer program,” but no copyright protection is available for “ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems, methods, concepts, or layouts.”

A web developer may create and develop copyrightable code for a website or app commissioned by a client, but he may have no clue as to the process of copyrighting that code or licensing website content.

1. “I’m a web developer — not a copyright expert.”

A web developer may know everything possible that there is to know about computer programming, the development of World Wide Web applications and distributed network applications run from a web server to a web browser but he may be completely in the dark as to the Intellectual Property rights and interests that arise in connection with any program or web application that he develops for a client. A web developer shouldn’t be expected to provide legal advice as to the rights and responsibilities a client may have in regard to preserving and protecting intellectual property interests in the computer programs and web applications that he creates.

2. “If you don’t know what I’m selling, you probably don’t know what you’re buying.”

Clients of a web developer need to Continue reading

Copyright & IP Assignment Explained: What Copyright Transfer and Assignment of Rights Really Means

Photo Credit: Copyright by Maria Elena used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Copyright by Maria Elena used under CC BY 2.0

A copyright confers on its owner a bundle of rights and interests.

But before that copyright interest or right can be validly transferred or assigned to another person or entity, the copyright owner must be sure that they presently own in part or in full the copyright interest that is to be transferred.

Determining copyright ownership means going back to the very origins of the creation or work and tracing all the facts concerning copyright ownership going forward to the present in a “chain of title” search that is similar a real estate title search used to validate land ownership.

If the copyright has never been assigned or licensed or if a previous licensing agreement has expired then the copyright owner is free to assign or license his rights in his work.

Copyright Assignment vs Copyright License

The transfer of a copyright assignment and a copyright license differ greatly in measure and in finality. A copyright assignment occurs when Continue reading