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

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

Stop Web Content Mills From High-Jacking Freelance Writer Copyrights

Photo Credit: Content writer by Ritesh Nayak used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Content writer by Ritesh Nayak used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Imagine for a moment you have been working hard on your writing all morning.

You stomach is empty and your eyes are aching.

You step out for a break at the local coffee shop.

You have thirty five dollars in your wallet. You can almost taste the confections displayed in the glass case and you can smell the fresh coffee brewing on the bar.

Suddenly a threatening stranger demands that you turn the contents of your wallet over to him.

Would you quietly do as you are told only to go hungry and watch as he spends your money on a stack of tasty snacks?

Web content mills demand that freelance writers hand over their Intellectual Property, their copyrights, for free.

When a writer signs either electronically or on paper a “Writer’s Agreement” or similar so-called “contract” agreeing to submit work acting as an independent contractor or freelancer and that agreement includes a clause that requires that the writer upon submission release all copyright interests he has in his work regardless of subsequent approval and payment he falls prey to the content mill’s copyright high-jacking scam.

The copyright to a work submitted for approval and payment has significant value to a writer because Continue reading

3 Lessons You Can Learn about Copyright & IP from a Startup Founder Who Got Screwed Over by Innovation Exchange (IX) & The Clorox Company in a $45K Open Innovation Challenge

Innovation Exchange Logo FinalClorox FinalYou might think the founder of a startup that helps creatives, freelancers and their clients transfer copyright and intellectual property ownership online would have no problem when it comes to transferring IP rights to his own work to someone else, but you would be wrong.

As Kunvay’s founder, I know exactly what it’s like to run into problems transferring ownership of my work to someone else while getting paid fairly for my contributions.

Transferring and acquiring ownership rights to knowledge work is complex and can be frustrating to administrate.

In this post, you’ll learn three important lessons I learned from a recent experience that could be of benefit to you as well.

So let’s begin . . .

I’ve always been a fan of open innovation and crowdsourcing ever since reading Dan Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics.

No matter how big your organization is (whether you’re a boutique creative studio or Procter & Gamble), there are more smart people outside your organization than inside your organization so why not benefit from ideas and perspectives from the outside?

Today many companies routinely acquire solutions to business problems created by people outside their organization giving rise to intermediary companies like Innocentive and Innovation Exchange (IX) that provide a platform to outsource business challenges to the proverbial crowd.

These intermediaries consult with companies on business problems and then present those business problems in the form of sponsored challenges to solvers like you and me to solve. If a company likes your solution they award you a prize, and you transfer IP rights to your solution to the company. Continue reading

How Writers and Book Authors Can Avoid Common Copyright & IP Pitfalls in 4 Steps

Photo Credit: IMG_0859 by Nathan Gunter Used Under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo Credit: IMG_0859 by Nathan Gunter Used Under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It seems like every time you meet up with friends you are greeted with the news that one of them is releasing of some sort of book.

And it each time it happens your thoughts are pulled to that garret space about the garage where you have spent almost the last decade working on the next great American novel.

Lately you’ve been noticing that the neighbors keep checking up on you when they see the lights still on at three in the morning.

It’s probably to make sure you haven’t inadvertently left that old car running again with an oily rag or something stuffed in its exhaust pipe.

You’ve edited your creation again and again and then you edited it just once or maybe twice more in case you might have missed something somewhere.

You’ve researched every historical reference for accuracy, followed every story line to a resolution, assured story continuity with each character’s motivation leading to the achievement of a goal and allowed for a surprising and satisfying resolution of all of the conflicts including one or two of emotional epiphanies.

You figure your family will never recognize themselves in characters which they have inspired and even if they do you’ve prepared a response involving a convenient accusation that they are nursing some sort of narcissistic personality disorder.

You’ve never been more ready. You’re afraid of nothing and nobody. And then, a cold chill runs down your spine as you remember that you still have no literary agent and no publisher.

Your awareness switches focus to the coyotes howling under the summer moonlight and that bottomless pit in your stomach starts to churn and roll with horror as you recognize the fact that as of this moment you are just another unknown and unpublished genius.

Protecting an Unpublished Work

You comfort yourself with thoughts of how your literary hero, James Joyce, got countless rejection letters from publishers all over the world who couldn’t relate to the potential marketability of Ulysses.

The manuscript alone must have weighed three hundred pounds. Can you imagine the “synopsis letter” for that one?

And it is true that the first publishers of Ulysses were arrested and fined for their trouble. Mais avoir le courage, Aloysius, surely your work of art will inspire a far more warm and friendly reception. Right? It will, won’t it?

Step 1

Here is my advice Continue reading