IP Rights Whitepaper 10 Oct 2003
Intellectual property rights (IPR) are an emotionally-charged topic in game development. Some see the potential for aggressive and unethical use of IPR as the single biggest threat to independent game development – let alone the tech and entertainment industries at large.
In January 2003, the IGDA formed the Intellectual Property Rights Committee to discuss the issues relating to IPR in games. With a pragmatic and balanced approach in mind, anyone was welcome to join and contribute to the work of the Committee. The Committee’s current membership of forty includes developers, musicians, journalists, CTOs, CEOs, open source evangelists, students, academics and lawyers from North America, Europe and Asia.
The initial task for the IP Rights Committee was to create an environment were informed debate could take place. The purpose of this document is to provide definitions and information about intellectual property rights for everyone connected to game development, no matter what they do or where they are based.
This White Paper provides a neutral legal primer on the topic of IP rights – regardless of any particular viewpoint on the validity, appropriateness or moral use of various forms of IP protection.
Subsequent to this White Paper, the IP Rights Committee plans to discuss the ethical issues relating to IPR in game development. This will come through open discussion forums, additional information online, and a regular presence at developer conferences providing lectures and roundtable discussions on IPR issues.
Many thanks to all authors and editors that have contributed to this White Paper. As a volunteer effort, it is truly refreshing to see so many people share their time and knowledge with the game development community.
Read/Download Whitepaper: IP Rights Whitepaper  (PDF)