Kickstarter updates Terms for successful-then-cancelled projects

"People wind up in the dark... so we're spelling it out."

Some high profile Kickstarter projects are coming to fruition - Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Broken Age - but not all make it this far. Author Neal Stephenson last week announced the cancellation of his sword fighting project Clang, which raised the $500k it needed in 2012 - but went on to run out of funds. A similar fate befell Yogscast-themed game Yogsventure earlier this year.

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"Obligation!"

When things like that happen, the people who backed the project are sometimes kept in the dark. That's why Kickstarter updated its Terms of Use to provide guidelines for what should happen if such a thing occurs.

"For the overwhelming majority of projects, it's pretty simple: creators finish the work they planned, backers are happy and nobody sweats the details. But there are exceptions," the company wrote. "Sometimes problems come up, projects don't go according to plan, and people wind up in the dark about what's supposed to happen next. So we're spelling it out - what's expected from backers, what's expected from creators and what needs to happen if a project runs into trouble."

The new guidelines state that, if the unfortunate happens, "every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers" should be made.

"A creator in this position has only remedied the situation and met their obligations to backers if:

-they post an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned;

-they work diligently and in good faith to bring the project to the best possible conclusion in a timeframe that's communicated to backers;

-they're able to demonstrate that they've used funds appropriately and made every reasonable effort to complete the project as promised;

-they've been honest, and have made no material misrepresentations in their communication to backers; and

-they offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.

"The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they're unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers."

These new terms echo those which were in place, but are more strongly worded. That final term is key: "The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they're unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers."

Of course, Kickstarter insists it is not liable for undelivered products. It remains to be seen how a court would react if a suit was brought against a creator by disgruntled backers.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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