Union for Gamers is the brainchild of Donovan Duncan, who's also the vice president for marketing at Curse Gaming, a company that has specialized in video game add-ons and industry news.

"There's a lot of ridiculous contracts out there," Duncan says. "Gaming is something we should support, not hinder by locking people into these really bad contracts, so I came up with the idea of, well, let's build a union for gamers, by gamers."

Everyone in Union for Gamers, Duncan says, will be entitled to the same CPM, which will be raised every year. Gamers no longer will be forced into restrictive contracts — union members would have the right to leave whenever they saw fit.

Jesse Lenz
Ben Vacas said in his shocking video that he would stop making videos rather than submit to Machinima's in-perpetuity contract.
Wikimedia Commons/Cory Doctorow
Ben Vacas said in his shocking video that he would stop making videos rather than submit to Machinima's in-perpetuity contract.

He promises "resources to help people create better videos," adding, "and we'll do the labor, the administration and ad-serving side, allowing them to monetize their content."

But labor, administration, and ad service essentially are what networks like Machinima do. When questioned, Duncan admits that this new "union" really is more like a new network — albeit one with high-minded intentions — and, therefore, competition for Machinima.

Not coincidentally, it's a network that counts several former Machinima creators among its partners. Its public face, in fact, is none other than Bachir Boumaaza, better known as Athene.

Boumaaza announced the partnership in a video posted two months after he left Machinima.

"I can talk, make videos about how the landscape on YouTube should be, but unless I come with a real alternative, why would other networks listen to what I say?" he says, sitting in the same spot, shot with the same black-and-white filter used in his video supporting Vacas.

The video appeared on July 17, 2012, but Boumaaza was intent on leaving Machinima even earlier. In a video posted in March, a full two months before he denounced Machinima in solidarity with Vacas, Boumaaza posted a video about Union for Gamers.

So Vacas' contract dispute and Boumaaza's much-publicized support proved to be great publicity for the new venture. But Duncan insists that Machinima's problems are real. Even without an upstart competitor to fan the flames, the blowback was inevitable.

"The community was already upset that they were getting locked into these contracts, and I come by and say, 'Well, also: It's probably not fair, either, guys; you should probably look at that,' and I think that's probably what sparked that off."

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My Voice Nation Help

That actualyl makes a whole lotta sense when you think about it man



Lawyers are expensive and proceedings  can take years, cheating is cheaper and more effective. What can they do if the same intellectual product  appears under another's name. Ask them to sign a one sided contract?

kspidel moderator

Interesting. I am not a gamer, so I didn't know about this network. Curious if @manicsocratic@vilkata@majorxero  or other gamers in my network have thoughts on this. There are many contracts that are cut throat like that, but most can take them to court and battle fairness.

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