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Indies need to give up IP to get funding - RebelPlay

New UK digital publisher plans to bankroll 6-8 releases a year

Independent games developers need to be flexible with their intellectual property and give up rights to their creations if they expect to get serious financial funding for projects.

That's the view of new digital publisher RebelPlay, which intends to bankroll indie projects from conception to finished project in return for a share of profits and the rights to any future developments - whether games of through other media.

"Everyone has ideas at some point and if somebody is investing in an idea to develop it you have to expect that they are going to take some ownership of the IP," director and co-founder Leo Cubbin told in an interview published today.

Something we do with all our contracts is that by default all developers get first refusal on sequels and ports to do with that IP

Phil Gaskell, RebelPlay

"It's a partnership, we don't see it as a big issue and most developers we speak to don't either once they know how we work."

RebelPlay intends to release 6-8 titles over digital formats a year, and is in the process of raising a further £1 million itself after starting up with financial backing from the co-founders of UK movie production and distribution business Optimum.

Demands for IP control may at first appear to be a deal-breaker, but creative director Phil Gaskell said that any partnerships are about long-term relationships and future collaborations can be built into initial contracts.

"When we talk to developers they realise that the ownership of the intellectual property isn't as important as being associated with it and going on a journey with you when you exploit it," he said.

"Something we do with all our contracts is that by default all developers get first refusal on sequels and ports to do with that IP, so they are effectively intimately connected to that IP through its lifetime. They can exploit it with us and benefit with us."

"They get to earn off it whatever happens," added Cubbin. "So if it becomes a film they earn off it, if it becomes a toy they earn off it. I think a lot of people die with great ideas that are never developed."

The full interview with RebelPlay, where it discusses raising finance in the UK, its vision for digital publishing and more, can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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