Amazon ditches policy claiming ownership of employees’ personal games

The 'draconian' rules had been in place for over a decade.

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NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 22: The Ariete 1 sorting warehouse of the multinational Amazon on March 22, 2021 in Arzano, Italy. The first strike of Amazon workers organized by the CGIL, Cisl and Uil unions at the Arzano headquarters was totally deserted by the workers who did not join the presidium to which, in addition to the unions, some formations of the extra-parliamentary left joined. The unions had called the strike day to ask for a review of many aspects of staff contracts: workloads, shifts, meal vouchers, bonuses, travel allowances and reduced working hours, and a general stabilization of drivers, the logistics sector and the administered employees. For some trade unionists, the absence of workers from the garrison should be read as "fear that their contracts will not be renewed". (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)
Ivan Romano via Getty Images

Amazon has reportedly scrapped a policy that claimed ownership rights to any games that employees created outside of work. Under the previous rules, the company required employees to using Amazon products while working on personal projects and to distribute those games on its storefronts.

Those policies are longer in place, according to Bloomberg. In an email to staff seen by the publication, Amazon Game Studios head Mike Frazzini said the company was dropping the rules immediately. "These policies were originally put in place over a decade ago when we had a lot less information and experience than we do today, and as a result, the policies were written quite broadly," Frazzini wrote. Engadget has contacted Amazon for comment.

Amazon received a backlash over the rules after an engineer who interviewed at the company disclosed the Amazon Personal Games policy. The rules granted Amazon “a royalty free, worldwide, fully paid-up, perpetual, transferable license” to the intellectual property of games its employees made off the clock. The policy was decried as "draconian" by some developers when a now-deleted tweet from the engineer gained traction.

However, Amazon isn't the only company to have enacted such a policy. Google has also been accused of claiming ownership of employees' own external projects.

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