This fall, I was honored to speak on a diverse matter of subjects to distinct audiences from the art, gaming, legal, and music communities. It was a panoply of panels and presentations.
The first weekend of October, the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) invited me to speak at their annual conference, the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE). This is the second consecutive year that I have been given this honor of representing the legal community at a gaming conference. I co-paneled again this year with T.J. Mihill and Rob Hassett. Our topic was basic intellectual property (IP) for game developers. Our panel was well attended more this year than last, and I hope that growth continues. Understanding the importance of IP in any creative enterprise is critical to success. Each year, we find individuals with a variety of learning curve, however the most frequently asked questions are what is the difference between a copyright, trademark, patent, and a trade secret. It gives me great happiness if any of our discussion clears the muddy waters of legal know-how for these enterprising entrepreneurs.
Of particular interest this year was a delegation of Swiss game developers and students, who proudly presented their projects the second evening of SIEGE. Both Geneva University of Art and Design and Zurich University of the Arts were represented. Games of note included, OKO, a puzzle video game that uses images from NASA satellites and is enjoyed on an iPad or other notepad device; Colorball, a new game from Apelab, and Niche, a genetics survival game, authored by Philomena Schwab. We winded down the weekend on Sunday evening at the gracious invitation of the Swiss Consulate of Atlanta, who hosted an evening of decadent Swiss cheeses and wines at the private home of the Consulate General. The food was spectacular, and so was the company. Clearly, meeting the Swiss team was my favorite part of SIEGE. I hope that they return next year!
Later in October, I served as an instructor for the Scrivener’s Quill, presenting to a group of lawyers seeking continued legal education credits (CLE). Each year, lawyers in Georgia must have 12 total hours of CLE in order to keep their law license current. The Scrivener’s Quill is a non profit organization based in Utah that fuses literature and law, entitling their series “Literature & the Law.” My portion, entitled, “Principles in Poetry,” drew from ancient philosophers, medieval bards, and modern day poets, from whose works I extracted lessons reflected in the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. To add a special twist, each lesson I crafted in rhyming pentameter or free rhyme, in 140 or less characters. This format was suggested by an old friend, international speaker and entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman. Presented at Georgia Lawyers for the Arts with colleague Meredith Ragains, the lesson was a wild success. “Principles in Poetry” may make another appearance in 2015. Be sure to subscribe to our Events calendar for updates here.
As November brought beautiful autumn colors to the sky, so my palette filled with vivid mixtures of people and places. The second week of November was the busiest on record, with four events in four days. The first was a CLE on the topic of franchising hosted by the Intellectual Property Section at the State Bar of Georgia. The second was a visit to Primal Screen with GGDA, where staff treated us to a delightful presentation on Pickle Panic, Primal Screen’s first foray into the world of interactive gaming. I am not sure what was more entertaining: the game itself, or the description by its designers of how it was conceived. Either way, a fun game for everyone!
The third event of November was my panel for the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP), Producing Hit Songs. One of the benefits in NARIP membership is working with people, who devote their time and talent to making this organization a great resource to the music business and community. This year, NARIP gave me two incredible opportunities to work with them to organize and moderate Music In Games, last June, and this panel. This event featured some stellar producers in Atlanta, namely, Billy Hume, Matt Still, Bradford Rogers, and co-moderated by myself and NARIP Board Member, Sean McPherson. The entire event was professionally recorded by the wonderful staff at the SAE Institute of Technology, so if you were not there, and missed out, then you can purchase a copy in the NARIP online store here!
Finally, I had the honor of being invited to speak to a group of graduate students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) on “Legal Issues in the Arts.” This was a free form discussion, and students were allowed to present questions in advance of the presentation. I enjoy casual conversations with eager minds that are at the cusp of enterprising careers. Many students had already started projects and were seeking information, while others had completed tasks and were curious about outcomes. Because the nature of these students’ works involve collaborations in a variety of artistic mediums, of particular interest was work for hire, assignment, and licensing agreements. As with all creative enterprise, a fundamental understanding of the nature of IP agreements is essential to having the edge in any start up phase. I do hope to return to SCAD on a regular basis in this capacity and serve as a resource for future generations.
I am always interested in opportunities to speak, present, or moderate a discussion! Please do not hesitate to email me directly with your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for your interest.