HitRecord founder Joseph Gordon-Levitt has offered more detail on how contributors to Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be rewarded. Specifically, people will be paid if their work is used in the finished product, but not otherwise - payment for submissions would be "untenable", he said.
In a post on Medium, Gordon-Levitt attempted to answer questions about how community contributions will be handled in Ubisoft's Beyond Good & Evil 2. The main focus was to establish the difference between "spec work" and what HitRecord was founded to achieve.
"Spec work is when professionals work for free in hopes of getting paid later," he said. "In this digital age of crowd-sourcing, there's been a wave of corner-cutting by way of spec work, and freelancers have often been left feeling exploited.
"Honestly, this concern was sorta painful to hear. It's not at all how I think of our community's creative process. I do think that part of this disconnect is simple misinformation."
According to Gordon-Levitt, HitRecord has paid members of its community more than $2.7 million since it launched in 2010. Those individual payments can range from "tiny paychecks" to users who have earned "tens of thousands" from their contributions to various projects.
"When you upload original content to HitRecord, you grant our company a non-exclusive license to monetize and therefor pay you for it. You're always free to do whatever you want with it elsewhere," he said.
"I understand the comparison [to spec work]. But I do think we're substantially different... We don't pit artists against each other in contests with one winner; everyone is allowed and encouraged to build off of one another. We don't plagiarize unused submissions; anybody whose work is included or even influences the final product gets credit and compensation. We're not a marketplace for freelance gigs; we're a collaborative community."
Gordon-Levitt said that, in order to be paid, a contribution needs to be included in the final production, or to have influenced its direction. Payment for every contribution would be "untenable" due to the inevitable opportunism that would encourage.
"We have to draw a line somewhere, and it shouldn't be arbitrary," he added.
Ubisoft announced its partnership with HitRecord at E3 2018, where it called for music and art assets that could eventually be used in Beyond Good & Evil 2.