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Marty's Game Sound Con Talk
By:Cody Miller
Date: 10/8/14 1:23 am

Marty did the Keynote speech at Game Sound Con today. He urged me to go after I got the wrong impression when his stance on work for hire came out. I'm glad I went, since I can't really disagree with anything he said when it was presented.

Marty’s talk was about helping audio professionals in the games industry start to come together to make work for hire contracts better. He started off by using the Goose with the Golden Egg metaphor. The games industry professionals are the geese, and the work they do are the golden eggs. They are golden because that’s the substance of the game that corporations sell to make money.

In the story, the owners of the Goose want more eggs, so they tear the goose open trying to get more, kill it, and are left with no more eggs. It’s not enough to not kill your geese though, you just have to keep them happy.

Additionally, he posited that corporations often worship the egg, instead of the goose that made it. Basically, companies focus not on the professionals that made the game, but on the game franchise itself. I think everybody can agree this is true in a large amount of cases.

He talked about a dinner he had in 2009 with a big publisher, who made it clear to him they don’t really care at all, twisting his goose metaphor by saying ‘Sometimes we just want some foie gras”.

All you really need to do is not be shitty to your creatives, but large corporations always seem to be shitty to the creatives.

Next, there are two types of people: creative and exploitive. Creative create, and exploitives exploit what the creatives create. Both are necessary. What good is a work if it’s not released or shown to people? Exploitives find a way to sell and get the work out there. Marty then urged everybody to study business a bit, and familiarize themselves with how being exploitive works. Creatives and learn to be exploitive, but not the other way around.

On the topic of work for hire, Marty said he has never worked under any other type of agreement. It’s not bad, because ultimately it lets games actually get done and come out. If you imagine that everything anybody did for a game was licensed, then if there is a dispute over anything, then that could keep the game from shipping. If it’s all owned by the publisher, then that’s never a problem.

The problem is that a lot of work for hire agreements are really bad and one sided. It’s common not to guarantee credit, PRO, future payments, give you no recourse to prevent your work being used against your intent (the company could use your music later in a porno, and you’d have no way to say no), and the big issue which is MORAL RIGHTS.

Tons of work for hire contracts require the audio artist to waive their Moral Rights. He showed an example of one such clause from a “major publisher”. Moral Rights are becoming common in Europe, in that even though you may sell your work to someone else, you still retain many rights by virtue of being the creator. Such as:

-Guaranteed credit.
-Protection from alteration of credits such as adding others or changing your title.
-Protection against deforming changes to your work.
-Prevention of False attribution.
-Preservation of intended use (you could say no to it being used in the porno for example).

Many publishers require these to be waived in the agreements.

I think Marty is asking that Work for Hire agreements be reworked to include these Moral Rights protections. Keep your geese happy, because then you get more golden eggs. Everybody wins.

As an aside, Marty’s a nice guy, and in person he’s pretty on the level and cool. I had this perception of him from media and the documentaries of him having a huge ego, but I didn’t get that sense. Unfortunately the press pass doesn’t come with drink tickets, which is a HUGE oversight seeing as how I would have gotten drunk in front of (or with) him in like 2 seconds.

Also fun fact: the iconic Halo theme was actually borrowed from the Finale of Myth 2.

Messages In This Thread

Marty's Game Sound Con TalkCody Miller10/8/14 1:23 am
     Re: Marty's Game Sound Con Talkhunt3r10/8/14 2:11 am
           Thanks, good report. *NM*DEEP NNN10/8/14 8:12 am
     Nice write up ...Kermit10/9/14 1:36 pm

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