Colibri, Amanita und Daedalic äußern sich zu Lace Mamba
Letzten Monat ging der Entwickler CBE Software mit der Pressemeldung publik, nach ausstehenden Zahlungen und fehlenden Abrechnungsberichten ihren Vertrag mit dem britischen Publisher Lace Mamba Global aufzukündigen. Kurze Zeit später machten auch andere Entwickler über Twitter oder Facebook ihrem Ärger über ausbleibende Vergütungen für Spiele, die über Lace Mamba veröffentlicht wurden, Luft (wir berichteten).
Laca Mamba reagierte daraufhin mit einer Meldung, dass der europäische Managing Director Jason Codd seiner Position entbunden wurde und das Problem nun von einem neuen Führungsteam in die Hand genommen würde. In einem offenen Brief reagieren nun die ebenfalls betroffenen Firmen Amanita Design (Machinarium), Colibri Games (The Tiny Bang Story) und Daedalic Entertainment (Deponia) auf die Sachlage.
Darin berichten Colibri und Daedalic über ausbleibende Garantiezahlungen, angeblichen Ausfällen im E-Mail-System des Publishers und den illegalen Weiterverkauf nicht eingeräumter Rechte ihrer Produkte in andere Länder. Durch die Androhung einer Verfolgung wegen organisierter Piratierie habe Daedalic und CBE aber mittlerweile alle ausstehenden Beträge erhalten, Colibri erhielt eine Teilzahlung der Schuld.
Weiter geht der Streit hingegen für Amanita Design. Hier verweigere der Publisher mit Verweis auf das recht verworrene Firmengeflecht und die Zuständigkeiten der einzelnen Unternehmen weiterhin die Zahlung. Der Entwickler strebt nun eine Klage vor einem britischen Gericht an, um die Zuständigkeiten von Laca Mamba Global, Mamba Games und der Lace Gruppe zu klären. Genaueres ist dem offenen Brief zu entnehmen:
An open letter from Amanita Design, Colibri Games and Daedalic Entertainment
This story may remind you of the Digital Jesters story from just a few years ago, because it is essentially the same: a number of studios signed up with a British publisher/distributor; the said British publisher/distributor has neither reported to the developers nor paid the guarantees and royalties under the contracts; and the studios fought back.
Today, we’re going public with the story below as a warning to other studios: please learn from our experience and do not make the mistake of working with a group of people who are known for systematically not fulfilling their obligations towards development studios.
In November of 2009, Amanita Design signed a contract with Mamba Games Ltd., which allowed Mamba Games Ltd. to publish and distribute Amanita’s Machinarium in certain territories on the condition of a minimum guarantee to be paid, followed quarterly reports and royalty payments.
In June of 2010, Daedalic Entertainment signed a contract with Lace Mamba Global Ltd., which allowed Lace Mamba Global Ltd. to publish and distribute Daedalic’s Deponia, The Whispered World, A New Beginning and Edna & Harvey: The Breakout in certain territories on the condition of a minimum guarantee to be paid, followed quarterly reports and royalty payments.
In April of 2011, Colibri Games signed a contract with Lace Mamba Global Ltd., which allowed Lace Mamba Global Ltd. to publish and distribute Colibri’s The Tiny Bang Story in certain territories on the condition of a minimum guarantee to be paid, followed quarterly reports and royalty payments.
MISSING REPORTS & PAYMENTS, UNAUTHORIZED SALES
Following the execution of the contracts and delivery of game masters to Lace Mamba Global Ltd., neither Colibri nor Daedalic have received the full amount of the minimum guarantees that Lace Mamba Global Ltd. agreed to pay in their contracts with the studios. At first, promises to pay were made by Jason Codd, LMG’s European Managing Director; then Jason Codd completely disappeared from the correspondence and numerous reminders were ignored by him as well as by his colleagues.
At the same time, neither Amanita nor Colibri nor Daedalic received from Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. the royalty reports that have been due under the contracts on a quarterly basis. We found ourselves in an uncomfortable position of having a third party exploit the results of our creative work in a totally uncontrolled manner where we did not know when, how and with what result our products were being manufactured and sold into the market.
Finally, in a meeting with industry colleagues during GDC 2012 in San Francisco both Amanita and Daedalic with a great surprise found out that their studio’s products are without any agreement or authorization being distributed by Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. in the territories where no rights were granted to these companies. Moreover, in some instances Mamba Games Ltd. went so far as to sell to the local distributors the right to manufacture our games for a flat fee, not only collecting such revenue in breach of our rights, but also damaging our games with a model that we would have never agreed to in the first place, no matter who would be offering it.
“LATER” BECOMES “NEVER”
After months of trying to resolve the issue of missing reports, payments and unauthorized sales via email, we decided to terminate our contracts with Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. so that at least the company no longer has any rights to manufacture any more copies of our games. In July 2012 and in November 2012, Colibri Games and Daedalic Entertainment sent the official letters of termination to the address of Lace Mamba Global Ltd. specified in the contracts with the studios.
It’s worth noting that in later conversations with the representatives of Lace Mamba Global Ltd., they claimed that the letters – despite being delivered with confirmations of the receipt – were never seen, and that their email system was ‘malfunctioning’ exactly on the days when copies of the same termination letters were also forwarded to the company’s email address – despite these emails being successfully delivered without any error messages in response.
UNITED WE STAND
In January 2013, another developer – CBE Software – went public with the similar story: no reporting, no payments, no response from Lace Mamba Global after giving over the master of their game (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... ccusations) – and our studios decided to make one last collective effort to resolve the mess created by Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd., contacting not only Jason Codd, who was the director that originally initiated all of the contracts, but also all the other people from Mamba Games and/or Lace Mamba Global whom we knew: Damian Finn, Adam Lacey and Campbell Lacey.
Such collective action bore fruit, and we advise other developers in similar situation to resort to the same strategy, joining forces to defend your rights together: after a week of heated discussions involving such entertaining topics as Crown Prosecution Service and possible imprisonment for organized piracy, Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. provided Daedalic, Colibri, CBE and Amanita with a work-in-progress ad hoc royalty report.
Moreover, as of February 11, 2013, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. has paid all of its outstanding debts to CBE and Daedalic Entertainment and also paid to Colibri the remaining part of the minimum guarantee that has been due for many months before, signing with Colibri an additional written agreement to pay the remaining debts by March 15, 2013. Finally, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. delivered to Colibri the unsold units of Colibri’s game that were in its possession, and promised to deliver the same to Daedalic.
We were also informed that Jason Codd, the person who negotiated all of the original contracts and who was the main point of contact for our studios on the side of Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. , has been ‘fired’ from his directorship of Lace Mamba Global Ltd. (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... md-resigns).
NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T
At the time of writing of this open letter, Daedalic has no outstanding financial issues with Lace Mamba Global Ltd., its contract with Lace Mamba Global Ltd. has been terminated earlier in 2012 and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. now recognizes this termination. Lace Mamba Global Ltd. also recognized the termination by Colibri Games, from 2012, and the companies now have a newly signed agreement according to which the remaining debts will hopefully be paid shortly and the mix-up with the rights will be cleared in a matter of days. With a collective sigh we are so very happy to put this case away and to focus once again on the creative process.
However, a radically different approach was applied by the representatives of Mamba Games Ltd. to the resolution of their issues with Amanita Design: after years of missing reports and lack of due payments, and after selling Amanita’s Machinarium in countries and to companies where and to whom Mamba Games Ltd. had no right to sell the game, Adam Lacey – the CEO of Lace Mamba Global, a company whose logo is clearly displayed on the retail boxes of Machinarium, told Amanita that in fact Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. are two different companies, and that Lace Mamba Global Ltd. is not responsible for reporting and payments due on the side of Mamba Games Ltd., which is said to be fully owned by the same Jason Codd who was just a few days ago a director of both of these companies, and who completely disappeared from the radar, nor responding neither to emails nor to phone calls.
Interestingly, Mr. Lacey sometimes signs his emails as the CEO of Lace Mamba Global Ltd., and sometimes as Managing Director of Lace Group (whatever that means), while his colleagues involved in the dispute with our studios use emails form domains such as @mamba-games, @lace-mamba, and @lacegroup. Moreover, Mr. Lacey writes that Jason Codd has been the director of Lace Mamba Global Ltd. while Jason Codd himself writes that he was never officially the director of neither Mamba Games Ltd. nor Lace Mamba Global Ltd., even though he sometimes signed as a European Managing Director of Lace Mamba Global Ltd. (but not of Mamba Games Ltd.). Also, it was Mamba Games Ltd. which wired some of the payments due under the contract with Lace Mamba Global Ltd.
Of significant interest is also the fact that the boxes of Amanita’s Machinarium, illegally and without any approval released in retail in Poland and in Sweden, bear the logo of Lace Mamba Global – even though Mr. Lacey claims that Lace Mamba Global is “just a sub-distributor” of the game, while Mamba Games Ltd. is the original publisher. Mr. Lacey could not explain the reasons as to why Mamba Games Ltd., a publisher, would not place its logo on the box of the game, but would rather place a logo of its subdistributor – both of these entities conveniently headed by the same person.
THE WAY FORWARD
It seems that the only way of defending the rights of Amanita is to engage a professional law firm that would be able to take the issue to the British courts in order to establish the precise relationship of Lace Mamba Global, Lace Group and Mamba Games, as well as the positions and responsibilities of these companies and their management as far as Amanita’s contract and breach of such contract are concerned. It is a long and windy road but the studio is willing to take it to establish the truth, so that other studios are prevented from being harmed in a similar way in the future.
As for now, we kindly ask you to distribute this open letter throughout the industry so that at least in the short term, fellow developers pay more attention as to whom they sign with, and whom they send the masters of their games to – as one the master is out of ones hands, unexpected things may happen. We stay united in our disapproval of the business practices described above and we hope that our experience prevents other developers from making similar mistakes.
Jakub Dvorsky, Managing Director of Amanita Design Andrey Arutyunyan, Managing Director of Colibri Games Sergei Klimov, Director of International Publishing of Daedalic Entertainment
Frohike: So, Mulder, where's your little partner? Mulder: She wouldn't come. She's afraid of her love for you. Frohike: She's tasty. Mulder: You know, Frohike, it's men like you that give perversion a bad name.
_________________ Der Erste und Einzige hier im Forum, der die englische Version von Tungi hat. Der Zweite, der eine von Poki handsignierte englische Version von Edna & Harvey the Breakout hat. Mit gezeichnetem Harvey auf der Rückseite!
"But these days it seems like adventure games are almost a bit of a lost art form. They exist only in our dreams, in our memories and in Germany." Tim Schafer
Wenn man sieht, wie systematisch das geschehen ist, dann ist die Frage sicher nicht unberechtigt, ob die Entwickler von Spielen wie Pahelika, Casebook, Darkstar, To the Moon, Rhem 4, The Lost Crown, Book of Unwritten Tales, Jolly Rover, Alchemia... usw nicht exakt die gleichen Probleme haben/hatten...
Wer hoch hinaus will, fällt oft tief. War doch irgendwie abzusehen, dass die sich mit ihren Billigpreisen in Großbritannien nicht lange halten können, wo dort ohnehin kaum jemand PC-Spiele, geschweige denn Adventures spielt.
Dem Bericht hier nach sind auch noch andere Entwickler betroffen. Unter anderem meldet sich Luke Reid (Casebook) zu Wort und auch von Jonathan Boakes ist die Rede. In seinem Blog berichtete er bereits vor 2 Jahren von seinen Problemen mit dieser Firma.
Naja, Headup Games ist da im Moment recht aktiv, Daedalic tritt ja auch immer mal wieder als Publisher, zumindest im deutschsprachigen Raum auf, ganz so schlecht sieht es zumindest hier nicht aus.
Von ein paar der oben von Axel genannten Entwickler weiß ich, dass sie immer noch mit LMG in Kontakt stehen und ihre Forderungen durchsetzen wollen. Wenn Lace Mamba bis nächste Woche nicht aktiv geworden ist und Reports rausschickt, wird noch was nachkommen.
Und ob es nutzt, nur einen Typen zu entlassen oder ob dass nur vorgeschoben ist, würde ich auch gerne mal wissen.
Lace Mamba stellt es zumindest so dar, dass die Probleme bei "Mamba Games" entstanden sind, die von Jason Codd geleitet wurde und schon vor Lace Mamba existierte. Mamba Games hat dann ihre Produkte an Lace (Adam Lacey) weiter lizenziert und unter Lace Mamba Global (wieder Jason Codd) in Großbritannien vertrieben. In anderen Ländern vertrieb Mamba dann über andere Partner (z.B. Koch Media). Ob Codd nun bewusst für die dreckigen Praktiken zuständig war oder ob Lacey von den Aktionen seines Partners wirklich nichts ahnte, ist aber schwer zu sagen. Lacey selbst kommt eigentlich aus dem TV- und DVD-Geschäft. Kann schon sein, dass er zu Codd gesagt hat: "Keine Ahnung von dem Business, mach mal du!". Genauso wundert es mich aber dann, dass trotz der Beschwerden erst so spät von ganz oben reagiert wurde und scheinbar niemand einen Blick in die fehlenden Abrechnungen der eigenen Division geworfen hat. Eins habe ich aber nun verstanden: Die "Hart-Aber-Gerecht"-Werbung vor den Filmen auf den DVDs gilt garnicht den Endkunden sondern den Vertrieblern.
In reply to the open letter written by Daedalic, Amanita and Colibri on 11th February, Lace Mamba Global would like to comment.
In January of 2010 Mamba Games Ltd, an existing company, run by Jason Codd and Robert Neilson, formed a partnership with Adam Lacey of Lace International, with the intention of forming a new games company, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. This partnership was widely reported in the media at the time. As this was a partnership deal, Mamba Games Ltd continued to trade as a company in its own right, retaining its pre-existing contracts that were signed prior to the formation of Lace Mamba Global.
Mamba Games sub-licensed some of its pre-existing contracted product to Lace Mamba Global for distribution in the UK and Eire. Where Mamba Games product has been sold to other territories, this was done directly by Mamba Games, selling Lace Mamba Global branded product to international distributors for which Mamba Games were paid directly. Lace Mamba Global recognise that Mamba Games (Jason Codd) pre-existing contractual obligations are not being met and we will do all we can to help developers to ensure Mamba Games are held to account.
As per our previous statement (http://bit.ly/12rw1PZ), Lace Mamba Global also recognise that there have been some reporting and accounting issues in the past which we are actively working to resolve. We are pleased that those companies who we have been working closely with over the past few days have acknowledged that we have resolved their outstanding issues and we continue to work with and contact our other partners to ensure all of Lace Mamba’s contractual obligations are being met in full.
Lace Mamba Global are committed to regaining the trust of the gaming industry, we value our partnerships and will endeavour to resolve all the issues currently facing us. We would like to thank all developers for their continued patience while we review our contracts and report accurately.
Lace Mamba Global would like to state that we will not publicly discuss individual contracts or issues out of respect for confidentiality.
Mitglieder in diesem Forum: 0 Mitglieder und 1 Gast
Du darfst keine neuen Themen in diesem Forum erstellen. Du darfst keine Antworten zu Themen in diesem Forum erstellen. Du darfst deine Beiträge in diesem Forum nicht ändern. Du darfst deine Beiträge in diesem Forum nicht löschen. Du darfst keine Dateianhänge in diesem Forum erstellen.