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Society & Culture
Virtual Legality Episode 74

Is Ubisoft "Exploiting" a Legion of Watch Dogs Artists with HitRecord?

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2y Jul 17, 2019
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When Ubisoft announced that it would be working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's HitRecord crowdsourcing platform to solicit 10 community music tracks for inclusion in its 2020 open-world hackathon "Watch Dogs: Legion", it no doubt expected the announcement to be met with a certain amount of positivity.

But at Kotaku, IGN, Eurogamer, GameDailyBiz, and a host of others, that was very far from the case.

What is HitRecord and what is Ubisoft offering in exchange for the rights to the 10 selected songs?

Why do some view the HitRecord deal as "exploitation" and what have they said in defense of such stance?

How can economics, including the laws of supply and demand, inform our understanding of the parties at issue?

And why is Ubisoft's primary argument regarding the autonomy of artists actually pretty compelling?

We'll never exploit you in...Virtual Legality.

#WatchDogsLegion #HitRecord #VirtualLegality


Discussed in this episode:

"Ubisoft's HitRecord partnership continues to draw ire for 'exploitative' work"
GameDailyBiz - July 15, 2019 - James Brightman
(https://gamedaily.biz/article/1040/ubisofts-hitrecord-partnership-continues-to-draw-ire-for-exploitative-work)

"Ubisoft Invites Fans To Make Music For Watch Dogs: Legion, Sparking Exploitation Debate"
Kotaku - July 15, 2019 - Ethan Gach
(https://kotaku.com/ubisoft-invites-fans-to-make-music-for-watch-dogs-legi-1836389136)

Definition of "Exploit"
Merriam Webster Website
(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit)

"Game Devs Speak Out Against Ubisoft's HitRecord Partnership On Watch Dogs: Legion"
IGN - July 15, 2019 - Joseph Knoop
("https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/07/15/game-devs-speak-out-against-ubisofts-hitrecord-partnership-on-watch-dogs-legion")

"Watch Dogs: Legion fan compositions "completely voluntary", Ubisoft says"
Eurogamer - July 16, 2019 - Emma Kent
(https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-07-16-watch-dogs-legion-fan-compositions-completely-voluntary-ubisoft-says)

"Nintendo deletes level from top Mario Maker 2 player for mysterious reasons"
Polygon - July 16, 2019 - Patricia Hernandez
(https://www.polygon.com/2019/7/16/20696382/super-mario-maker-2-grandpoobear-level-deleted-kaizo-nintendo)


PODCAST VERSIONS AVAILABLE AT

Spotify: (https://open.spotify.com/show/3qsDhQ7h6BR2wLyNQYDWB4)

iTunes:
(https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/virtual-legality/id1448785539?mt=2)

SoundCloud:
(https://soundcloud.com/user-510342404)

Google Play Music:
(https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/In3d7qersx72lvzehxo7gu6cd5u)


"Virtual Legality" is a continuing series discussing the law, video games, software, and everything digital, hosted by Richard Hoeg, of the Hoeg Law Business Law Firm (Hoeg Law).

Rick has practiced for more than a decade at some of the country's largest law firms, representing IT, software, video game, and other technology companies, as well as the individuals and institutions which fund them.

DISCUSSION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN THE LEGAL TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS VIDEO SHOULD CONSULT WITH THEIR OWN COUNSEL.

Any and all feedback is appreciated. Let us know what you think!


Blog, "Rules of the Game", at https://hoeglaw.wordpress.com/

On "Help Us Out Hoeg!" a regular segment on the Easy Allies Podcast (formerly GameTrailers)

(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrxXp1reP8E353rZsB3jaA)

About Hoeg Law

The Hoeg Law Firm is a business law firm with big law experience and a small firm approach focusing on start-ups, technology, financing, and everything else a business might need.


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