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Perth Game Company CEO Takes IP By Night

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-a-dwelling-place-so-not-burglary dept.

Australia 356

snicho99 writes "A US owned gaming company has fled Australia, leaving unpaid employees and a massive tax bill. Apparently many staff have been working unpaid for months to allow their game to ship and hopefully the company to recover. Interzone's Perth (Western Australia) office was created with the assistance of a state government grant. Last week Interzone's (American) CEO entered the building at night and removed all the servers and IP so that Interzone could continue production at a new company they have opened in Ireland. The staff caught him on camera. More background here."

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Other countries are interesting (0, Offtopic)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209230)

Remember that it's not so bad to leave a country to do business elsewhere. When I worked in Naples, I would not get almost any pay. Yes, I was a kid and I was supposed to work for my father, but I wanted something off from it. If it doesn't work like you want to, you go somewhere where it does.

Not that it wouldn't be good - Me myself and customers loved great good crust with beautiful cheese, bacon, tomato, ham and barbeque sauce on top of it. And with Mountain Dew. But our counsin had his pizzeria just next to ours - he stole customers from us and we had to fight to fight.

This lead me to escape to America. In the beginning of 90's I started my own pizza place in the Manhattan. It was great time - customers rolled in, were happy and just loved what I baked. But the competition came there too - there was thousands of cheapo kebab/pizza places that offered substandard pizzas to customers with lower prices.

I tried to fight - I tried to it with quality. I tried having free beers and hookers. But people just went to the cheap pizza places. How am I supposed to work with that?

Actually I'm asking slashdot. How I am supposed to fight the cheapo crappy pizza places when I offer quality pizzas? Does it matter to keep quality? What you love about pizza?

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209254)

Remember that it's not so bad to leave a country to do business elsewhere. When I worked in Naples, I would not get almost any pay. Yes, I was a kid and I was supposed to work for my father, but I wanted something off from it. If it doesn't work like you want to, you go somewhere where it does.

The fact that he's moving is not the problem. The problem is that his staff have been working unpaid in order for the company to recover.

Actually I'm asking slashdot. How I am supposed to fight the cheapo crappy pizza places when I offer quality pizzas? Does it matter to keep quality? What you love about pizza?

I love my pizzas to be as cheap as possible.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1, Troll)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209278)

Actually I'm asking slashdot. How I am supposed to fight the cheapo crappy pizza places when I offer quality pizzas? Does it matter to keep quality? What you love about pizza?

I love my pizzas to be as cheap as possible.

But why? Apart from the usual everything-as-cheap-as-possible, the pizzas on crap places taste shit. And it's not like it's much different - $1-2 and you get a lot better ingredients, crust and service. If anyone has ever visited any of those cheap pizza places in Europe, you know what I'm talking about.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209300)

I suggest an Ask Slashdot to get a wider array of response... as is, this is offtopic.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209320)

look at his name - he's a pizza themed troll.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209482)

look at his name - he's a pizza themed troll.

I don't think he's a troll... I just think that he doesn't speak English natively, and doesn't realize this is not the topic branch to discuss it.

It's not really worth labeling everyone causing trouble as a "troll"... because some people just don't know any better.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209572)

his name is pizzaanalogyguy...

Re:Other countries are interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209584)

No shit, Sherlock.

Re:Other countries are interesting (4, Funny)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209736)

Has anyone else noticed the picture of Mike Turner with the Sphinx in the background halfway down the third page [rockethands.com] linked to in TFS? The caption below it is surely a little redundant...

Re:Other countries are interesting (0, Offtopic)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209510)

Actually, I live about half a block away from one of those cheap pizza places in Europe (Stockholm, to be exact). Little hole in the wall place. Run by Kurdish immigrants. Great (and dirt-cheap) pizzas, and their calzone are to die for. As good as some I've had in Italy.

So, no, I guess that I don't really know what you're talking about. :)

Re:Other countries are interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209338)

> The problem is that his staff have been working unpaid in order for the company to recover.

But that's retarded. They had little reason to do that other than some profoundly misplaced loyalty - they're apparently employees not company partners? Of course I may not be getting the full story, but working for someone without being paid and without keeping the result of your work (i.e. open source, in fact the whole reason open source makes economic sense is because you keep the fruits of your labor and other people also having copies doesn't diminish that) is dumb.

Re:Other countries are interesting (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209496)

> The problem is that his staff have been working unpaid in order for the company to recover.

But that's retarded. They had little reason to do that other than some profoundly misplaced loyalty - they're apparently employees not company partners? Of course I may not be getting the full story, but working for someone without being paid and without keeping the result of your work (i.e. open source, in fact the whole reason open source makes economic sense is because you keep the fruits of your labor and other people also having copies doesn't diminish that) is dumb.

Well, working for free does make sense if you expect to get the money later. Basically they've given the company a loan. It turned out the company owner was not credit-worthy, though.

Re:Other countries are interesting (5, Insightful)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209522)

But that's retarded. They had little reason to do that other than some profoundly misplaced loyalty

The only reason the loyalty was misplaced was because the CEO screwed them. Had he honored their commitment and worked as hard as possible to save the company and then paid them back dues + bonus/stock their loyalty would have been dead on. Unfortunately they worked for a douchebag. I'm the first person to have no loyalty for a large mega corp but small shops require it. We can't function without the employees giving a damn about the company and the company can't function without giving a damn about their employees.

Re:Other countries are interesting (3, Insightful)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209556)

Game companies often hire people for whom that is their first job. They have not yet learned that companies are psychopathic abusers, and that your only loyalty is to yourself and your colleagues. Any kindness you offer to the company as such - working for no pay for instance - will never be returned by them.

Re:Other countries are interesting (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209780)

You have three choices:
  1. Leave with one month of your salary unpaid and write it off as a mistake.
  2. Leave with one month of your salary unpaid, sue the company, force them to declare bankruptcy, still don't get your money, and still have to pay the court costs.
  3. Work for another month, get the product finished and get all of your back pay plus a bonus if the company makes enough money from selling the product to stay afloat.

Which do you choose? The second option is a waste of time. The first is a guaranteed loss. The third is a gamble, where you potentially have a bigger loss, but potentially have a gain. I know people working for small businesses who have received nice bonuses for choosing option 3, and others who have had the company fold owing them back pay. If you don't have another job lined up to start immediately, it's often a good idea to try to keep the company afloat while you look for other employment as a backup.

Re:Other countries are interesting (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209446)

The fact that he's moving is not the problem. The problem is that his staff have been working unpaid in order for the company to recover.

I don't see what the problem is: If they worked unpaid by choice, then they're foolish, in my not so humble opinion, and here's why: Having been cheated before, I'd not trust even family or friends when it comes to my financial future, and certainly not an employer.

Work for free? Sorry, been there, done that, much in the same way as these people: I trusted the company's owner, believed him when he said that he'd reward me and the rest of us, if we were only patient and worked hard. It would all work out in the end, you see, and everyone would end up wealthy.

Yeah, right. The only person that ended up wealthy was him - he sold the company, and the people that had worked to build it up got nothing, and had no recourse, as we had nothing in writing.

As the saying goes: "Once burned, twice shy". I'm older now, and considerably more cynical, and I don't work for any employer for free, ever. The only thing that we have is our lives, and we cannot know how much time we have: Giving it away to an employer without recompense is foolish at best, because they never remember the sacrifices you made for them, and you can never get that time back.

Always keep that in mind when dealing with an employer: You're trading your life in exchange for money. Make sure that it's worth it to you, don't ever be surprised when someone tries to cheat you and don't let them do so.

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209550)

Yeah, right. The only person that ended up wealthy was him - he sold the company, and the people that had worked to build it up got nothing, and had no recourse, as we had nothing in writing.

The latter was your real problem. Working for free to get more money later is no problem if you can afford it (and you don't expect the company to go bankrupt). Working for free without getting a written and signed agreement that you get more money later is.

Re:Other countries are interesting (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209580)

I believe the saying you're looking for is:

Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

- Former President Bush [youtube.com]

Re:Other countries are interesting (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209588)

> I love my pizzas to be as cheap as possible.

I like homemade pizza. Good *and* cheap.

The major caveat is, you have to start a couple of hours before you want to eat, because the dough needs time to rise. This is fine on, say, a Saturday, because you can just mix up the dough at three in the afternoon, then go do something else for a while and have supper at five or six.

But it doesn't work so well if you get home from work at six and are already hungry. On those days, I don't make homemade pizza for supper.

Re:Other countries are interesting (4, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209310)

Remember that it's not so bad to leave a country to do business elsewhere. When I worked in Naples, I would not get almost any pay. Yes, I was a kid and I was supposed to work for my father, but I wanted something off from it. If it doesn't work like you want to, you go somewhere where it does.

It IS so bad when you use a bunch of legal dodgery to take ownership of the IP while evading the millions of dollars of debt that you owe to the staff. It IS bad when you break a whole bunch of laws to get that IP out of the country, so you can start another studio in another country without actually paying what you owe to any of your employees. And (personal conjecture here) it IS bad when you will most likely you will do exactly the same to the new studio.

Disclaimer: IAAFIZE. I am a former IZ employee.

Re:Other countries are interesting (2, Funny)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209540)

Wait: are we talking about a game company, or SCO?

Oh, yes. Both.

Re:Other countries are interesting (0, Flamebait)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209558)

free beers and hookers

Either you were running a tipsy knitting circle, or the folks were looking for a boss behind the boss --

big cheese, xtra crust, and anchovies.

I know where the money is hidden (0, Troll)

Fanboy Fantasies (917592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209240)

HERE
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/INSERT\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)_GERBIL|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\_HERE_/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

mod parent up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209312)

mod parent up

Re:I know where the money is hidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209372)

Marty, is that you?

First to run and first to post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209248)

First to run, first to post. Adios, muchachos.

Editors please! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209256)

The point of having editors is to fix the glaringly obvious errors and check sources.

"Cought"!

For crying out loud.

Bunch of Asian Employees ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209276)

I see a whole bunch of Asian employees in the video-link posted in TFA. Asian employees in an australian company. Does anyone find this funny ?

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (1, Troll)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209326)

Australia is part of Asia. A decent proportion of our population are of Asian origin. If you're talking about foreign computer science students who want to stay on in Perth to make games, the percentage goes up even higher. :) That said, though IZ was a very diverse group of people from all over the world.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (1, Informative)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209364)

wikipedia Australia, look at the map, wikipedia Asia, look at the map. They are different continents

We may have a ridiculous amount of asian immigrants that still speak chinese/japanese after they get here, but that still does not make us a part of asia.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (0, Troll)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209376)

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot the map demarcations on Wikipedia define whether or not we're part of Asia or not.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (2, Informative)

nibbles2004 (761552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209414)

Australia has never been part of Asia, it part of the Australian continent

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (0, Troll)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209434)

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot the claims of one random person on Slashdot define whether a country is part of Asia or not.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209408)

Australia is part of Asia.

WTF are you smoking? If it's not already illegal it should be.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209458)

Piss off fractoid, If that's your real name.
In the late 80's, a big movement in Aus tried to block
the yellow menace, but it didn't get it's shit together.
Now, We (USA) and Aus and other countries struggling to
keep all "citizens" employed are overrun with Illegals
and green card suckers that pull the rates to min wage
levels.
Fuck them, deport them all. Stop all imports and block
the borders. Kill all foreign aid and use the money to
rebuild the country. Let Darwin kill off the weak and reduce
the population by 50%. It can only be good, for US.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209536)

Hmmm... My experience with Asians in Oz was that Oriental chicks give amazing head. Bit different from yours, I guess.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209700)

Piss off fractoid, If that's your real name.

You're not the sharpest knife in the drawer, I see.

Re:Bunch of Asian Employees ? (3, Interesting)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209672)

> Australia is part of Asia.

Depending on which list of continents you go by, there are a lot of variations. The geographers, geologists, and sociologists can't seem to agree on a single definition, so it can be a bit confusing. How many continents are there, anyway? Five? Six? Seven? More?

For instance, there are variously considered to be one, two, or three continents in the western hemisphere. Two is the most common figure, but it's not universal.

Europe may or may not be part of the same continent as Asia. I even saw one list that makes Africa part of the same continent as Eurasia, since they're connected.

Some lists omit Antarctica entirely, since it has no permanent inhabitants.

But for all that, I have never seen a list that made Australia part of Asia. Usually it's a continent all by itself. Frequently it's part of a "continent" called "Oceania", which also includes most of the islands in the Pacific (but not the ones that are very close to another continent, such as Taiwan or Vancouver Island). Sometimes only a few islands are included as part of Australia -- Tasmania, New Guinea, etc. I've even seen definitions that include New Zealand as part of Australia but NOT New Guinea (which was listed as part of Asia).

I have even seen occasional claims that Australia is an island, not part of any continent at all. (These claims generally come from laypersons and usually involve comparison to Greenland; typically the person making the assertion has been looking at Mercator-projection maps.)

But this is the first time I have EVER seen anyone list Australia as part of Asia. That's totally unprecedented.

Call wikipedia (3, Insightful)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209280)

There's a new poster child available for the "ConnivingBastard PrickManager" definition.

Re:Call wikipedia (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209318)

Dont' power lines runs reverse in Perth so he ca't use their servers in northern Ireland? If so he has to pay for all the shipment so he's out some spooners, ay mattey?

Re:Call wikipedia (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209332)

You are thinking of the toilet bowls. Those run backward.

Re:Call wikipedia (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209360)

Oh, yuck. I prefer my toilets to flush the shit out of my house not into it.

Re:Call wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209464)

Score: 0 ? C'mon, guys, that was bloody funny, especially to an Aussie - mod it up!

Re:Call wikipedia (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209578)

up is down in Australia

Re:Call wikipedia (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209630)

Not totally sure about Ireland, but it's most likely the same as the UK. You get a dongle for the power plug, and plug it in. Power is 240v 50hz, same as here or close enough to not matter.

Re:Call wikipedia (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209714)

It is, they're still using the King George mailboxes you guys installed too.

Re:Call wikipedia (0, Offtopic)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209518)

That doesn't belong on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a venue for that sort of thing. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and people like you are polluting it with all kinds of unencyclopedic content that doesn't belong there. Stop it.

If you want to post definitions, you should put them on Wiktionary.

Re:Call wikipedia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209660)

That doesn't belong on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a venue for that sort of thing. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and people like you are polluting it with all kinds of unencyclopedic content that doesn't belong there. Stop it.

If you want to post definitions, you should put them on Wiktionary.

Thanks for the hand-holding, pal. Do you have any other insightful guides on how one should use other websites? I'm sure your heads just brimming with information.

BTW, you should Wiki "joke".

Re:Call wikipedia (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209616)

This isn't such a big deal.

Here in the US, we've had entire industries do this to their workers. It's called "free-market capitalism" writ large.

The only interesting thing is that Interzone did this to technology workers.

Maybe it's time the techies realized that they are working class and not the professional class many have thought of themselves. And management really is out to fuck you over.

CEOs are better people than we are (5, Funny)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209290)

A CEO may pay what His he wishes to His employees and take what He wants.
By His accumulation wealth, a CEO has demonstrated His worldly talent and divine favor. Far be it for us to criticize His actions: are we yet men, while He has a golden MBA? While we merely use our power of Speech, does the CEO not expand the language with outflowing of His prodigious mind? Does that not giveth unto him wisdom we know not, and authority we dare not assert?

We should open our hearts to the CEO. We shall work for Him all our waking hours and offer unto him our wives and daughters for His amusement: for we should be honored to have a radiant Being in our lives as the prime-most consideration.

Should we Fail, we deserve whatever punishment the CEO shall mete out for He, as he so frequently reminds us, is infallible. If a CEO's Company should fail, it is our fault for being indolent, and we shall bear that around our necks. All the remaining resources of a failed Company will go to its CEO as compensation for even attempting to deal with filty being like ourselves. Amen.

Re:CEOs are better people than we are (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209606)

Your words bespeak of such a wisdom as can only have handed down by He himself! Oh blessed Profit! Thanks be to thee for spreading the divine word. We are truly the wretched and unclean and yet rejoice in the knowledge that He cares so much that He, through You, enlighten our darkness!

Making it tough for the rest of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209306)

This particular company was set up by some rather sneaky people who abused the good faith of the workers who put their effort in till the end in an unpaid fashion. Now they've left after breaking a bounty of tax/superannuation laws which leaves not only a trail of illegality but also financial liabilities to the workers which the government coffers will be (it's legislated to do so, not just a possibility) paying out for.

Thanks to this, the fledgling industry in Perth is going to be given even less assistance and opportunities from the government. As somebody living in the city who wants a stepping stone into the 'real deal' areas of the industry, it'll be very hard to transition from student to engine programmer over the next few years..

Basically, fuck Interzone management

Not nice. (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209308)

If this isn't fraud, I'm sure the government will be on their asses about the lack of payment of their workers.

Re:Not nice. (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209576)

He has committed tax fraud, the taxman is first in the line of creditors and has an extradition treaty with the Irish taxman. He will wake up one day in the very near future to find his bank accounts frozen.

The employees are the last in line when it comes to the creditors of a defunct company, once the taxman and banks have split up what's left the employees will get fuck all. The best the employees can hope for is seeing the prick behind bars which IMHO is a very likely outcome.

Re:Not nice. (5, Informative)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209614)

Actually....

First is the employees super funds, then taxes, then wages, then everyone else they owe money to.

The employees are covered for loss of wages by the GEERS scheme, which they can submit and get their: Lost wages; Lost holiday pay; Redundancy payout (according to industry standards or their contract, and if contract its subject to evaluation).

According to Australian law anyway :)

A previous quote seen here on slashdot (-1, Troll)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209334)

"He just made a copy, nothing was lost. It's not stealing."

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (1)

Ja'Achan (827610) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209394)

"entered [...] and removed"

Yes, something was lost.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209396)

Actually what he did is more along the lines of writing a cheque to Amazon for a CD they sell. Then sneaking into their offices at night, bullshitting the police into thinking you work for Amazon even though you don't, burning yourself a copy of the CD you bought, bullshitting the property owner into issuing an (illegal) order to all Amazon staff barring them from the city block around their building, and then flying home with your burned CD.

And then the cheque bounces.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (2, Funny)

slarrg (931336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209460)

In addition, he intends to sell copies of this CD.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209404)

Well, did he just make a copy? Sounds more like he stole servers.

A previous irrelevant quote (5, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209424)

Er, no, RTFS - he removed the servers.

This is the one time that referring to "IP theft" actually makes sense. He stole it, removing the original rather than duplicating.

Do people who commit piracy do so by going to the record companies at night, sneaking in, and removing their CDs?

Anyhow, where does anyone accuse him of stealing? Or are you just making up a straw man?

He took more than a copy... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209436)

> "He just made a copy, nothing was lost. It's not stealing."

That doesn't really apply when you take the computers, too.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209442)

Actually, the way I see it, the quote is completely right, even in this case.

The "IP" is irrelevant. The employees are owed for the time they worked, and nothing more. Even if you believe there is such a thing as "IP", the employees agreed it belongs to the company when they signed the contract, so it can't be "stolen" from them.

Having the CEO fire everybody and have another team continue development would have been perfectly legal. The only illegal thing is not paying the previous employees all they were owed.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209554)

The only illegal thing is not paying the previous employees and the Australian Government all they were owed.

TFTFY.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209574)

... but if what the programmers and designers make is not a creative work but simply a work-for-hire industry product, how can copyright laws apply? They are there to protect artists and creators, not industry corporations.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209622)

I'm a programmer and what I do is work for hire. You pay me X/hour, I spend that time solving the problem you have.

Usually that hour is spent writing code, but sometimes that hour is spent on research that results in "Yes, we could do this, and here's how", or "No, it's not going to work for this reason".

What happens to what I wrote doesn't really matter to me, so long I got paid for the time.

I still think it's a creative endeavour anyway, in the same way that a decorator being paid for "come here and tell me how to make this prettier" isn't exactly performing an assembly line job.

They are there to protect artists and creators, not industry corporations.

Hah. If that were true, copyright wouldn't work the way it does. To start with, if copyright was really about the artist it wouldn't be transferrable.

Re:A previous quote seen here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209498)

He took out the servers, that's not copying.

Dr Siktastik (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209346)

It's a real shame the way he left, however Australia’s extradition agreements with the US and Ireland are in good shape and the ATO is quite unrelenting. It will take time but I would expect to see this guy come to justice.

It does make a lot of sense however (moving the company), Irelands corporate tax rates are below 1/2 what Australia’s are. Aussie politicians always say what a great place Australia is to do business but globally, for anything but mining it's very uncompetitive.

Why he gets away with it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209348)

(Assuming it's true) because people like this assume that most people are logical and aren't going to go postal on them so they can just walk in an do what they like. That's the price of civilization, you can bet he wouldnt've raided the office like this or cheated workers ouf of salaries if workers had reputations of smashing skulls in with bats.

Internet hate campaign (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209358)

There are times when internet hate campaigns get well out of hand, and end up causing huge amounts of trouble for people over trivial or non-existent issues.

This is not one of those times... Take it away, internet...

What asses (1)

bumfuckedegypt (1384377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209362)

Bad enough that they shut down but to knowingly continuing to do business and screwing the employees like that. I mean damn...who the hell would want to work for them now.

Re:What asses (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209370)

If your unemployed, got a mortgage to service, kids to feed... You get the picture.

Re:What asses (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209398)

But the staff weren't being paid so as the gp said "who the hell would want to work for them now?"

Paybacks are a b1tch (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209380)

So as soon as this jerk sets up shop in Ireland let's DDoS his ass. I'm sure they are folks much more crafty than I who can whip up a devil's brew of Internet mayhem on his fat ass.

smart employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209388)

I hate to say it, but how smart are you if you're working for zip for MONTHS? People screw their spouse for less, so why put so much trust in your employer?

What the... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209390)

Is this sort of thing legal?

Oh wait. Yeah, I guess not.

Re:What the... (2, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209552)

If it were legal, he wouldn't have been doing it in the middle of the night. The company could have just locked the employees out and done whatever they wanted in broad daylight. Plenty of companies have been known to do that sort of thing when shutting down a location.

I mean, this is a CEO we're talking about. Those guys normally work 9-5, officially, on paper, and in practice this turns into more like 10-4, except on days when they're out of the office for "meetings" with other CEOs on the golf course. Working in the middle of the night is NOT part of the general modus operandi.

So yeah, if he was slipping in during the wee hours, there's a reason.

There is much more to this than the Summary states (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209400)

Interzone owns the Australia Tax Office (ATO) approximately $1m AUD and $500k in unpaid wages and superannuation. The owner changed the locks on the firm at 4am in the morning, locking all employees out from their work. Not even given a chance to collect their personal belongings. A new 'Interzone' called Big Collision is being setup in Dublin Ireland to complete development of their game Futebol in time for the World Cup, and without the debt they have accumulated in Australia. Originally Interzone was given a grant by the Western Australian goverment of $500k, so this has blown up very big on the news there, causing quite some political issues and questions of the chief Treasurer. They did not even lay off the staff, as that would of caused paper work, and the paying out of their due wages and redundancy money. They were simple locked out from their building.
The firm that provides the middleware (BigWorld) based in Sydney, provided a server engineer (contracted by Mike to clear out the IP assets from the server.)

The Interzone employees have been fantastic, in collecting evidence, and staying together to fight for what they are due.

This is not the first time this has occured in Australia, similar shit has happened in the last year with firms Transmission, and Fuzzyeyes. Video games, one of the last places for cow-boy businessmen.

For people who would like to read more on this, check these links:
http://www.tsumea.com/australasia/australia/news/120210/interzone-games-perth-closes-staff-locked-out [tsumea.com]
http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/02/wa-dev-interzone-games-close-to-liquidation/ [kotaku.com.au]
http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/02/interzone-ceo-marty-brickey-responds/ [kotaku.com.au]
And this video where the employees confront one of the directors http://vimeo.com/9574704 [vimeo.com]

Re:There is much more to this than the Summary sta (1, Offtopic)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209528)

Hate to tell you this, but I haven't seen anything about this in Perth. This is the first I've heard of it. 'Chief Treasurer' as you put it would be the Treasurer, Troy Buswell. He's also Minister for Commerce and the grant likely came from the part of DOIR that now works for him. It's a Commerce matter, not Treasury and Finance, but he's been quiet on both fronts.

Re:There is much more to this than the Summary sta (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209692)

In point of fact, you are incorrect. On the ABC News Story [youtube.com] on the issue, he actually made a comment whereby he said he'd been "watching this company closely. Which is of course, a crock of shit. Many IZ members have been in direct contact with Troy Buswell's office over this issue already. I guess you only watch 7/10/9 eh? ;)

Re:There is much more to this than the Summary sta (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209742)

Which statement was incorrect? The original post said "so this has blown up very big on the news there" Have you got any more than one ABC story? I was merely pointing out the hyperbole. If this was such a big deal, ACA and TT and the rest of the commercial bottom-feeders would be all over it, especially given that it's foreigners ripping off hard-working Australians.

Re:There is much more to this than the Summary sta (2, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209684)

This is not the first time this has occurred in Australia, similar shit has happened in the last year with firms Transmission, and Fuzzyeyes. Video games, one of the last places for cow-boy businessmen.

Actually, I belief this is a misrepresentation... I would argue that these are not "Cow-Boy Businessmen", but "Cow-Dung Businessmen". These fecal administrators, give scum of the earth a bad name. If there was any justice, they'd be plowed into a field so as to provide their only possible positive contribution to society as fertilizer.

Trading while insolvent. (2, Informative)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209410)

If this guy is a director and knowingly traded while insolvent / unable to pay the bills, he's looking at five years in prison. Once ASIC gets done, the ATO will start looking at tax issues. This guy is going to be a bureaucrat chew toy.

Re:Trading while insolvent. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209750)

ASIC were fully aware what was going on. I'm afriad to tell you as an Australian citizen who BEGGED ASIC to take action, that ASIC are a bunch of pussies and toothless tigers.

John Howard and the former Liberal Government watered down ASIC's powers to the point that they are nothing more than a wasteful public entity paying lip service - they only care about the "big fish" that they cannot ignore (due to press coverage), and as recent media coverage over the last six months has shown, they can't even catch people like One.Tel and Firepower.

ASIC is a toothless tiger. Tell your MP.

That's the only way things will change.

Perth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209428)

The truly shocking thing here is that Perth is in the news.

Most boring city in the world, only good for raising babies and retiring. Heaps of 35yr old women with no men because everybody leaves... like these guys should of and joined a proper American/English/European company.

Hiring Standards? (1)

djjockey (1301073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209432)

Many companies fail. Sometimes, they are able to restructure, change their business, consolidate or relocate and start again. Shit happens sometimes. As long as they've acted in good faith along the way....

However, I can't imagine any company would get away with not paying staff for months. I couldn't afford to work for free, and even if I could... well, I still don't think I would. I'm not saying that staff are responsible... but I can't help but think they were either stupid or brainwashed.

Well, what do you know... (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209504)

Australia has an extradition agreement [comlaw.gov.au] with the U.S.

The offences that are extraditable include:

11. Robbery.
12. Burglary; housebreaking or any similar offence.
13. Larceny.
14. Embezzlement.
15. Obtaining any property, money or valuable securities by false pretences or other form of deception.

I suspect this will not end well.

Re:Well, what do you know... (2, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209548)

Given that the asshole fled to Ireland and started a "new" firm, the interesting question is the extradition agreement between Ireland and Australia. Unfortunately, the link to the Australia-Ireland agreement on this page [ag.gov.au] links to the Australia-Indonesia page ...

Re:Well, what do you know... (1)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209618)

The studio was in Australia, but if you look at their LinkedIn pages, you'll see the CEO and this Mike Turner guy are both from the US.

I don't think these guys moved to Ireland because they moved their Australian studio.

Re:Well, what do you know... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209708)

That'll come in useful - if he ever moves there or Ireland gets admitted to the Union.

What? (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209520)

Last week Interzone's (American) CEO entered the building at night and removed all the servers and IP so that Interzone could continue production at a new company they have opened in Ireland. The staff caught him on camera.

As much as I think that Mike Turner is a total scumbag, the linked video doesn't actually show him being caught in the act of removing anything. It does show him to be consistently wearing those crappy white iPod/iPhone earbuds - but while that probably should be a crime, it isn't currently on the books.

disgusting ... (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209526)

even if he gets away with this, his new employees will probably think twice before working on unpaid wages for so long. Also, a publisher should certainly be wary of someone with such dubious business practices.

So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209566)

Why did they work without pay?

Sounds like they did it to themselves.

Who will buy/distribute their game now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209602)

I wonder what consequences could be for this Futebol game they're producing. Do they have a distribution deal in place? If not, will they be able to get one after word of what they've done in Australia spreads? If the game does reach the shops, how many people who might have otherwise bought it might decide not to buy it on principle? How many shops might decide not to stock it?

Nice! (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209610)

I'm glad to see a CEO so devoted to getting his game out for the fans. Screw the developers. It's the fans that matter!

Whenever someone says, "as American as apple pie" (1)

jpallan (888739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209674)

I complete the mental thought with "tax fraud". Really, if you're going to completely destroy everyone's lives because you're cheap, at least be smart and hide the money in Switzerland, kids. It's classier.

Hard Luck (4, Insightful)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209678)

Hard luck there for all the people who just got scammed by a run of the mill business asshole. My theory is that they are all lying assholes, each and every one of them, and if you keep that in mind you'll find your dealings with them go much better. Just remind yourself as they speak that every word is carefully selected to make them richer.

Big tip - the day you find your pay hasn't gone into your account is the day you hit jobsearch.com or call your agent and let them know you're looking for paid work.

The business's responsibility is to ensure there is enough cash set aside against bad luck/planning/weather and enough cash flow coming through to ensure projects get completed. It's *their* responsibility, not yours...you write code, or run tests, answer the phones. If they've f*ed up enough to not have the money to even pay the people who write the product, then you have to wonder how else they are screwing up.

Re:Hard Luck (4, Informative)

supremebob (574732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209782)

It's sad that these folks needed to learn this the hard way, but it's important to know that you need to get the hell out of a business that can't meet payroll. Start looking for a new job right away, and make sure to file a claim to the labor relations organization for that jurisdiction if you don't get your back pay in a timely manner. Paying your employees is a top priority and a legal obligation for any business, whether or not they are for-profit or non-profit. (Sad, but I have a friend who got stiffed by a church of all places)

If a company don't have the funds available to pay it's people, they're already screwed. It's only a matter of time before they either close up shop or their creditors shut the place down at that point.

I applied for a job there once... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209690)

I applied for a job there once. I am glad I didn't end up with it otherwise there is a good chance I may have ended up in all this mess.

Hang him by the balls... (0, Troll)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209716)

for a day or two, and then shoot him in the head. One less psychopath in the world can only be a good thing.

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