Thanks so much everyone for your support. This fundraiser is over but you can still donate here if you missed it.
What We've Been Doing:
New Media Rights provides free and drastically reduced-fee legal services to independent creators like game developers, independent filmmakers, startups and consumers. We also fight to change laws that hurt internet users.
For creators with financial need and innovative projects, we provide the same assistance that hiring a $300-$500 an hour lawyer would provide, but we do it for free, and we’ve been doing it for free since 2007. Recently, we’ve become an independent project of California Western School of Law: home of the California Innocence Project and other groups. Since we’re an independent project, we continue to rely on grants and individual donations to fund our work.
When we’re not assisting people one-to-one, we turn the information we’ve researched into educational guides and videos, and we advocate at regulatory agencies to make better laws for independent creators…
***Now, the $250 level comes with both SpaceChem AND Bush League***
What We Would Like to Do:
New Media Rights recently launched a video series called LAGD (a cute acronym for “Legal Assistance for Game Developers”). We’ve posted and will be posting 120+ new videos to our Youtube account for our “Season One.” It’s humbling to see the overwhelmingly positive response to the project we’ve gotten from Reddit. So now, we’d like to be able to make a longer “season two.”
The goal of the LAGD videos is to empower indies as well as people who want to enter the “mainstream” game industry with information on how they can prevent problems before they happen. Free access to this information up front, as well as access to direct legal services means that indie developers can spend more time making successful, innovative games and less time dodging legal threats.
In season two, we’d like to do episodes on some of these topics
- Cloning games: what you can do if your game has been cloned OR what you can get away with cloning
- Privacy policies and data collection in mobile games
- Putting together your own contracts without a lawyer in the indie games industry
- An introduction to contracts in the mainstream game industry
- FTC disclosure and advertising requirements
- Venture financing and mergers/acquisitions
To create a season two of LAGD, as well as to launch other informative video series, we need funding to both
- keep providing legal services and advocacy for game developers, filmmakers, internet users, and tech startups on a one-to-one basis. Working with people directly allows us to identify, research, and compile information that will be useful in our video scripts
- turn that specific research that we do for individuals into video guides.
Money from rewards will go to the NMR Fund to be used for program expenses. New Media Rights provides legal services to creators, consumers, and entrepreneurs in matters pertaining to intellectual property, media, and communications law. At the same time, NMR also provides California Western School of Law students with training and experience in these areas of the law.
And since we're a non-profit program, all donations are tax deductible above the fair market value of the rewards you receive.
When we started LAGD, we thought it was strange that there’s almost no well-organized video content about how to avoid legal and business pitfalls in an industry where almost everyone starts out with lots of passion but little money for expert advice.
We wanted to make series that weren’t just talking AT you... We want to encourage a community around this information. If people have specific questions that these videos can’t answer or situations that need an attorney to fix, we want to be fully available for people to contact us.
AND FINALLY, we can’t do this alone. We want to bring as many experts together as possible to help provide the information that will help up-and-comers achieve their dreams…
Who Has Been Helping Us Reach These Goals?
We’ve collaborated with the Harvard Berkman Center’s Online Media Legal Network, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla Foundation (we organized the 2011 Drumbeat San Diego event), Free Press, and the Government Accountability Project to accomplish our mission. Finally we're an independent project of California Western School of Law, a 501(c)(3), that we have a great relationship with.
For LAGD, we've had lots of knowledgeable, well-respected people volunteering their time and expertise to the project. Please support the following people who've made this possible and thank them for sharing their knowledge and expertise for free with the world. Just a few of the many people who have shared their time and expertise with us…
- Gabe Newell - no twitter - Co-founder of Valve, genius, and the man behind everything from Half-Life to Steam
- Zach Barth - No twitter - Creator of SpaceChem and Owner of Zachtronics Industries
- Chris Avellone - @ChrisAvellone - Creative Director and Co-Owner, Obsidian Entertainment, Inc. and all-around super-nice guy
- Edmund McMillen - @edmundmcmillen - Creator of Super Meat Boy and Gish and Co-CEO of Team Meat
- Rami Ismail - @tha_rami - Founder, Strategic Director and Developer at Vlambeer makers of Super Crate Box
- Adriaan de Jongh - @AdriaandeJongh - Creator of Fingle and Game Designer at Game Oven
- Jordan Weisman - no twitter - CEO at Harebrained Schemes LLC, renaissance man, and the person behind the Battletech/Mechwarrior and Shadowrun franchises
- Chris Plante - @ctplante - Game journalist and Editor at Large for Polygon.com
- Tyler Glaiel - @tylerglaiel - Creator of Closure and owner of Glaiel Games
- Shay Pierce - @IQpierce - Creator of Connectrode / Sole Proprietor and Dictator-for-Life at Deep Plaid Games
- Naomi Alderman - @naomialderman - Co-creator and lead writer for Zombies, Run! and Perplex City / Acclaimed Novelist
- Adrian Hon - @adrianhon - Creator of Zombies, Run! and CEO and Co Founder of Six to Start
- Peer Schneider - @PeerIGN - Games journalist, Co Founder of IGN and current SVP of Content Publishing at IGN
With special thanks to
Pamela A Eisen at Harebrained Schemes
Joel Hatfield at Valve
Kristen Sharbaugh at IGN
By assisting 100's of people directly each year, New Media Rights has built a diverse community of internet users and creators. These individuals, along with foundations like the California Consumer Protection Foundation and the San Diego Small Business Enhancement Program, have supported our work so far.
Let’s See Some Examples of LAGD
At first, we were going to make one pilot episode, but then we got carried away and made three! They’re all still rough around the edges, but we’re still proud of them because they were made with zero budget and the information is top-notch.
- Episode Three: Trademarks and branding
- Episode Two: Independent contractors
- Episode One: Non-disclosure agreements
There’s over 13 hours of interviews online that supplement our "theory" and provide real world examples. Soon, many of those interview segments will be integrated into Season One's episode playlists. Other interview examples:
LAGD and our other videos have been produced entirely in-house by the Assistant Director of the organization and volunteer legal clerks who have spent their time make all these videos. We’ve put in overtime way beyond our regular legal responsibilities, and our law student clerks have gone way beyond the call of duty.
Raising funds could allow us to hire someone or someones who can...
- edit and produce our video content. That way it won’t take 7 months for it to go online like Seaon One did
- make the videos look and sound better
- help us expand the scope of what we’re doing beyond sit-down interviews and talking head shows and do all of the other cooler, more interesting ideas we have.
Why did we choose to freely distribute LAGD?
New Media Rights was founded on the principle that the information that people need to stay out of legal trouble, launch their innovative ideas, and remain free from censorship should be freely, and openly available. This is why the videos associated with LAGD will also be freely distributed.
In fact, ALL of the content on the New Media Rights website is distributed under a Creative Commons license, so it’s freely available for others to repost and remix.
When the fundraiser begins, we will release LAGD under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommerical license.
- If we reach $20,000, we will broaden that to a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license.
- If we reach $30,000, we will broaden that to Creative Commons Attribution.
- Finally, if we reach $50,000, we will make Season One public domain.
Who is New Media Rights?
New Media Rights is Founder and Executive Director Art Neill, our Assistant Director Shaun Spalding, and our unsung heroes: the volunteer law student legal clerks from California Western School of Law and other schools. Our most recent cast of characters can be seen below.
How long have we been doing this:
New Media Rights has been around since 2007 and has helped on over 500 individual issues over the past two and half years alone. In addition to helping individuals, we've also been trying to reform laws...
In 2012, we fought successfully at the Copyright Office for mobile internet users right to use the services of their choice, and for remix artist's right to fairly reuse video content.
Also, as part of the successful fight against SOPA, New Media Rights cosigned a letter with the Mozilla Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation that urged Congress to not create another bill like SOPA.
In 2011, New Media Rights led early efforts to encourage California regulators to review the AT&T – T-mobile merger, and brought the observations of consumers too often overlooked to the FCC. We did not support the merger, and the merger did not succeed.
In 2010, we filed comments to the FCC supporting net neutrality and participated in the Future of Media proceeding discussing the "impact of the digital age on local media."
How You Can Help:
The money you contribute to the program will go straight to helping New Media Rights continue to provide services to empower creators and to defend an open internet. We can only make more episodes of LAGD if we also do the direct assistance necessary to research and write the scripts.
NMR is also looking for the following:
- Anything you’d like to contribute as a potential Indiegogo reward that fits Indiegogos's requirements and our mission statement
- Ideas and offers to collaborate on other video series
- Monetary or non-monetary collaboration with like minded organizations
- Introduction to grantors with invitation-only programs like Zero-Divide
For example, Beachtek was gracious enough to donate one of their DSLR audio recording solutions. Now, we’re able to record audio outside of the studio and expand the types of content that we do. Forward-thinking conferences like Vidcon and New Media Expo have invited NMR to contribute to their communities in the past. These types of contributions are what allows us to make videos like LAGD on such a small budget.
Since we're a non-profit program, all donations are tax deductible above the fair market value of the rewards you receive.
If you’re interested in donating something you think we may need please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss details.
More about the rewards:
Our rewards are the fruits of some the creativity that is encouraged because of our work.
Creative Commons Mixtape
We openly license our educational materials and regularly encourage creators to consider Creative Commons, so what better reward than a mixtape celebrating Creative Commons licensed songs. These hits are curated by the New Media Rights staff, and we guarantee only the highest of highs and the lowest of lows coming from your stereo.
SpaceChem – by Zachtronics
WATCH THE TRAILER: Link
SpaceChem was made by LAGD interviewee and project lead Zach Barth. SpaceChem is an obscenely addictive, design-based puzzle game about building machines and fighting monsters in the name of science!
Take on the role of a Reactor Engineer working for SpaceChem, the leading chemical synthesizer for frontier colonies. Construct elaborate factories to transform raw materials into valuable chemical products! Streamline your designs to meet production quotas and survive encounters with the sinister threats that plague SpaceChem.
Bush League is a character-driven ethnographic survey of a tiny village in Northern Malawi. Intimate dramas unfold in the lives of four villagers who are all members of the local soccer team.
Chatwa, the team captain, is an ambitious farmer who is in deep with the local bank but torrential rains are destroying his crops. Jake, an American Peace Corps volunteer who sponsors the team, is pushed to his limits when the politics of the game affect his school construction project. Jacklyn, the head cheerleader, suspects her husband of cheating on her and is concerned he’ll give her HIV. Mlawa is a midfielder and an expectant father who is gravely concerned about the infection growing on his leg. Each must face individual challenges as the team battles to win the local championship.
New Media Rights' LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: An engraved 300 Baud Modem
Instead of a lame engraved plaque, any large donations of $10,000 or more will receive a vintage 300 Baud* modem engraved with your name and signed by the New Media Rights staff. This symbol represents the humble beginnings of the internet and the rise of unfiltered information and unfettered creativity. It is the reason why New Media Rights exists, and you can display it proudly on your coffee table.
*or similar speed
Since we're a non-profit program, keep in mind, all donations are tax deductible!
What others say about New Media Rights:
Don’t take our word for it, some of our organizational partners and people we've assisted have these great things to say about us:
[ Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency ]
I'm a pop culture critic who produces an ongoing web series of video commentaries exploring and deconstructing representations, myths and messages embedded in our media. You can find all of my work at FeministFrequency.com...
Art was incredibly helpful, supportive and understanding, if it wasn’t for his advocacy work I might still be caught in YouTube’s autoresponding feedback loop. New Media Rights is an amazing organization that offers quality one-to-one free legal assistance on copyright and online publishing, how-to and legal guides on new media and blogs about the latest media and internet laws. If you have a problem similar to mine or any others with your videos being taken down off of video hosting websites you can contact New Media Rights for pro bono legal advice and assistance.
[ Ben Hoffman, former legal clerk ]
I am still amazed at the number of "thanks" we received on almost a daily basis. It is what motivated me to keep working hard because the appreciation that we received from our clients continued day in and day out. The harder I worked, the more I learned and the more support and encouragement I would receive from the NMR staff. NMR is more than just a non-profit law firm, it is a family of IP nerds dedicated to helping the little guy. I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything.
[ Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project ]
What is particularly impressive is that New Media hasn’t stayed on the sidelines, content merely to report a story. It has been on the solidarity front lines with those of us fighting for stronger free speech rights and more transparent government.
NMR is in the trenches helping individual citizens express their free speech rights, many times helping filmmakers and journalists tell important stories that would otherwise go untold. We support their work and value their contributions to making legal services available to those who need it most.
[ JD Lasica, Founder, Socialbrite: Social strategies for nonprofits ]
In an age when assaults on citizens' digital rights take place on a daily basis, New Media Rights has provided a bulwark that's sorely needed. New Media Rights knows their stuff, and has continually fought the good fight on behalf of citizen media, open source projects and greater participation in democratic institutions.
[ Jeff Hermes, Director of the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society ]
Funding New Media Rights is an investment that helps ensure that their exemplary resources are available to assist innovators and creators in overcoming the legal and technical hurdles involved in publishing and sharing content online. We support New Media Rights’ efforts as a public interest legal project to meet the exponential growth in demand for legal services of a broad array of online publishers, innovators, and internet users.
[ Josh Stearns, Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director, Free Press ]
The demographics of journalism are changing with more and more of the critical events in our country and our communities being covered by independent reporters, freelancers and citizen journalists. New Media Rights is on the front lines of protecting independent creators and media makers on the ground, but is also an important public interest voice in national media policy debates like the FCC's Net Neutrality proceedings, the Comcast-NBC merger, and the AT&T-Tmobile merger.
[ Laura Patrick, former legal clerk, recently passed the South Carolina bar! ]
I sincerely hope that I will be as successful in creating the intimate and positive work environment that exists at New Media Rights, as well as help as many people as they have over the years. Art and Shaun aren’t just great lawyers, they’re great mentors. I was extremely lucky to work with them at New Media Rights and I am very proud to have been a part of such an amazing and useful organization.
[ Courtney Byrne, former legal clerk, law student ]
Art and Shaun are talented and passionate about their work and committed to providing affordable assistance to the community. They truly inspired me to think in new and exciting ways about many important issues that touch all our lives.