You Can Hire a Lawyer for the Little Guys of Game Development

Of course backing an independent game developer's Kickstarter is one way for a gamer to support that sector—albeit game-by-game. Benefactors looking for a broader approach might consider this project currently on Indiegogo: Pro bono legal assistance to independent game developers.


In addition to helping the little guys battle bogus copyright and takedown claims, New Media Rights also advises independent developers on matters of privacy, disclosure and contract law. They've already published 120 YouTube videos in a "season one" of "Legal Assistance for Game Developers." New Media Rights is looking for $16,000 to do a Season Two.

A-list names such as Valve's Gabe Newell and Obsidian's Chris Avellone have participated in NMR's first "season" of interviews; many others in the industry have as well. That, plus the five-year tenure of the project, speaks well of its intent and the good it's doing. Yet so far this fund drive has raised only $3,770 of its goal, with the deadline approaching on Friday. As a nonprofit, NMR reminds that any contribution is tax-deductible.

"In addition to the interviews that are already live right now, there are more original, non-interview segments ... that I'm extremely proud of," Shaun Spalding, NMR's assistant director, said last month when Reddit discovered the group's work. "These discuss practical tips on things like trademarks, independent contractors, nondisclosure agreements, and cloned games. We aim to educate indie developers on how to prevent legal problems by themselves when they can't afford lawyers."

The services offered by New Media Rights, an independent project of the California Western School of Law in San Diego, usually run between $300 and $500 an hour. The project is staffed by law students at California Western, they get real world experience in the fields they're studying. This recent profile in San Diego City Beat tells you a lot more about their purpose and who they've helped.

New Media Rights Games [Indiegogo]

New Media Rights [Official site]



Okay but what's the track record of this guy and/or guys? A free lawyer is no good if he's a bad lawyer.