Poll: Should Video Games Enter The Public Domain?

Earlier this week, Rock Paper Shotgun posted an editorial in response to some Twitter comments made in response to some comments written in an earlier post about GOG's Time Machine Sale. In that post, RPS Editor John Walker wrote:

As someone who desperately pines for the PD model that drove creativity before the copyright industry malevolently took over the planet, it saddens my heart that a game two decades old isn’t released into the world. Even ignoring the chances that anyone involved in the development of a game made in 1989 is seeing a penny of it, it engenders this belief that for creative products there should be some inalienable right to keep making money on some work you did decades ago, like a plumber demanding a fee every time you use the tap he installed in 1992. Yuck, stop it.

In response to comments made about how John didn't want developers to get paid, he wrote a follow up editorial which concluded this way:

And just in case, let’s do this one more time: I love it so much when talented people get handsomely rewarded for their great creative work. It brings joy to my heart when I see stories of the likes of Garry Newman or Marcus Persson becoming fantastically wealthy in response to their brilliant creations. Little makes me smile more broadly in an average day at work than reading the indie developer who’s reporting their game’s sales mean they can give up their day job and focus on what they love.

Copyright is a controversial issue in the games industry with topics such as piracy, DRM and YouTube videos making up much of the discourse. Yet, the public domain has never really entered the conversation as video games have never been subject to it.

So with this being part of a much broader and controversial issue, it sparked a few editorials from various developers. There was one post on Gamasutra made by Steve Gaynor, one of the developers of Gone Home, who wrote about how income made from older works help fuel the creation of new works.

Another was a post from Paul Taylor, Joint Managing Director of Mode 7 Games, who wrote about how living creators might feel when the works they created are used for purposes they don't approve of. 

I also tossed my hat into the ring with a post about how games that don't enter the public domain may be lost to many modern gamers. I included quite a few graphs to illustrate this point which you should check out. This post even sparked a great conversation on Gamasutra. 

All of this leads into this week's poll. Should video games enter the public domain? If so, how many rights should the original creator hold over those works? How long should it be before games enter the public domain? If the poll doesn't have an answer that fits your opinion, or you want to expand on what you picked, please respond in the comments or send an email to us at SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com. 

Andrew and I will discuss this poll and all the responses we get in the next Super PAC Podcast.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from Oklahoma, GamePolitics Contributer E. Zachary Knight

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