Author Topic: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist  (Read 203027 times)

Offline Yonkey

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The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« on: February 27, 2010, 08:59:56 PM »
To Our Fans:

In 2005, Phoenix Online Studios received a Cease & Desist letter from Vivendi Universal, the owners of the King's Quest IP, in regards to our work on The Silver Lining. We complied with the request, and over the months that followed, we were able to work out a non-commercial fan license with Vivendi that allowed us to continue our work on the game.

We have spent a lot of time recently reworking the material of The Silver Lining into episodic releases, with the first out of a planned five episodes completed, and submitted for review, and had hoped we would be able to bring our game to you, the fans, in the Spring of 2010.

Recently, however, ownership of the Sierra IP changed hands and became the property of Activision. After talks and negotiations in the last few months between ourselves and Activision, they have reached the decision that they are not interested in granting a non-commercial license to The Silver Lining, and have asked that we cease production and take down all related materials on our website.

As before, we must and will comply with this decision, as much as we may wish we could do otherwise.

We cannot say enough how much we appreciate the support we have had over these years from our fans. Without you, we would never have gotten this far. There would be no game to develop, and no one to develop it for. You have been amazing and steadfast, and we will always remember that and appreciate it more than we can say.

Sadly, after eight years of dedicated work and even more dedicated fans, The Silver Lining project is closing down.

What the future holds for us, as individuals or a team, we cannot say. We have an amazing development team, however, filled with talented and hard-working individuals, and we hope the teamwork and rapport we’ve developed won’t go to waste. We hope that when we do know what the future holds for us, our fans will be there to enjoy what we can give them still.

Again, thank you all so much for everything. This has been a long and crazy road, full of more twists than we could’ve anticipated, but more triumphs and wonderful memories than we could’ve ever hoped for. And for that, to all of you and to everyone on our team, we will always be grateful.

Thank You,

The Silver Lining Development Team


UPDATE:
Here are a few related links of interest:

Save TSL Petition - Petition link: here
Save TSL Facebook Group
Save TSL MySpace Page
Form Letter for Contacting Gaming Websites
Form Letter for Contacting Activision
List of websites discussing C&D
TSL Demographics Survey

Interviews:
ShDon Interview
MediaWhoreNetwork Interview - Part One and Two
IncGamers Interview
Joystiq Preview
Kotaku PAX Interview
« Last Edit: May 03, 2010, 10:00:19 PM by oberonqa »
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Offline MangoMercury

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 11:46:41 PM »
Again?  Hasn't the game industry harmed this game enough as it is?

This is the biggest disappointment to have woken up to.  I'll probably have more opinions when I've woken up more.  But damn.  Everything, just gone.
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Offline crayauchtin

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 11:54:51 PM »
I don't suppose that a petition like the one that Cat ran in 2005 would have any effect on their decision? This is so sad and disappointing on so many levels -- no one here's fault, of course.

If there's no hope whatsoever of continuing the project if we protest loudly enough at the right people, is there any chance that in some sort of unofficial way the plot would be released? Even if maybe there was like an "unofficial TSL wiki" or something?  :-\ I mean, we haven't heard much but it sounded truly epic (y'know, what came through between the :suffer:s! :P)

It is such a shame for all of that hard work to go to waste. :'(

Also, a shame, is that I just came back to the forums and now the forums are leaving me! :( We will all have to find a new forum to congregate on or something. I guess I'll start looking for us. :( And tomorrow I will write a long letter to Activision and send it to them by every means available.
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Offline MangoMercury

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 11:57:46 PM »
I just think it's ludicrous that Activision have ordered a halt on ALL of the forums.  I could understand getting rid of the TSL-related ones, but things like the Isle of Insanity?  And the archives?  I've been here (albeit inactively) since 2003, and all those memories are gone.

I'm hoping something can be done because for not only the game to go, but the forums, too?  Ridiculous.
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2010, 12:13:02 AM »
Regarding the forums, Cat and I will need to sort through the ones that are "TSL-related" and the ones that aren't.  Unfortunately, we weren't given much notice to sift through and it will take some time.
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Offline crayauchtin

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 12:14:24 AM »
So, once you guys have done that, at least the non-TSL related stuff will be put back up?
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Offline Rosella

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 12:31:00 AM »
That's....what? Can they do that? You guys were GRANTED a fan license...do they really have the right to just revoke it? That's just...not...right. Everything you guys have done for this? All of the years that you guys have worked insanely hard, that we've all believed in you? You have to be kidding. Everything was so close..

Is there any chance a petition will work? We're not about to back off now, but Activision seems a LOT more uptight than Vivendi about IP...
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 12:39:27 AM »
So, once you guys have done that, at least the non-TSL related stuff will be put back up?
To be honest, I don't know.  This is the only solution we could think of to keep the forums online without risking litigation.
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Offline Haids1987

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 01:05:44 AM »
*Sigh*

I'm very sad and disappointed.  Best of luck to everyone on the team.  :'(
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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2010, 01:17:54 AM »
Man I am sad to hear that. And pissed at Activision. Maybe we should form a petition? Just throwing the idea out there. I mean come on. What are they going to to do just scratch their huevos and get away with it? Man I am ticked off.

Offline Boogeyman

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2010, 01:41:33 AM »
I say bring the forums back in an act of defiance.

If Activison sues, so be it. We will kick their butts easily! Not only do they have NO RIGHTS to make us take down our forum, but we had a license to TSL, that they promised to observe!
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Offline oberonqa

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2010, 02:14:50 AM »
..........

..............

......................

I am so sorry to see this.  :(

If there is anything I can do to help with the forum sifting and whatnot, give me a hollar Yonkey.  I'm here for you all.
 
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Offline knightoftheword

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2010, 02:32:07 AM »
Words can't even begin to describe how disappointed I feel...not so much for myself, but for the TSL team who dedicated years of their lives to this dream. It's made worse by the fact that Activision has absolutely nothing to lose and no reason to feel threatened in any way by the existence of such a project.

If anyone starts circulating a petition to Activision, sign me up! I don't expect much will come of it, but at least they will know how we feel.  :)

To the TSL team: we are grateful for your dream, your vision and your love for this project. All of your fans stand behind you on this. Maybe in the future, you can develop an original IP and be rewarded for your efforts.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 02:34:30 AM by knightoftheword »
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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2010, 02:54:08 AM »
I still don't understand why AGD and Infamous can do what they do, and TSL is somehow more of a "threat" to these goons. As much as I love those other folks' work, they're actually re-releasing Sierra's existing retail games (remade) for free. TSL is a new game that Sierra or Activision has never and will never earn profit from.

I haven't even been following development since the last C&D, but to hear that over eight years of work is "gone" because of Activision's nonsense is ridiculous. It really does seem that the ONLY way for fan projects like this is to just say nothing and release, and then pull it after a C&D comes... at least that way some will have downloaded and the game will be out in the wild... and therefore deservedly "unstoppable". :)

In this case, though, I say take a page out of Teardown's book (with their game 'Alien Assault'), and simply change enough of the names and backstory to make this your OWN IP and game. Sure, it's not ideal, but it would be completely legal (heck, how else do games like "Les Manley" get made... :D ), and your work would not be wasted.

The idea that they can make you take down your forums is legally preposterous, though. Sure, they can complain about releasing a "fan game with their IP, but not talking about making one! What next, shutting down GameFAQs message boards if people discuss wanting to mod a certain aspect of a game?!

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2010, 03:27:28 AM »
Can they really do that? What's next? Sue people for owning the demo? I would love to sign a petion. Only if it's just to let them know how much hearts they are breaking. And why shutting down the forums? What about freedom of speech?
Are there alternative options for releasing the game? Like changing the characters names and how they look, or is there too much connection in the story line?
@Banjo: I was thinking the exact same thing.

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2010, 03:29:38 AM »
Tis a sad day indeed. King's Quest has always been my favorite game of all time, and I've been watching and anticipating the this fan fiction for a decade. My deepest sympathies go to all who put effort on this project - what a terrible thing to have yanked out from beneath you.

Best to you all,
John

Offline Erpy

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2010, 03:49:34 AM »
To the people wondering if Activision-Blizzard can do this...legally, I'm afraid they can. The contract the TSL-team went into with VU a few years ago could be terminated by either party at any time.

To the posters asking...the difference with AGD Interactive was the fact that by the time VU Games was taken over by Activision, KQ1VGA, KQ2+ and QFG2VGA were already out and even Activision probably realized that shutting down the official source would just result in a lot of unofficial mirrors. So we were allowed to keep going for the time being. (yeah, that last part was not my imagination, so if any of you fans are planning to write an angry letter to Activision...kindly focus on TSL and keep AGD Interactive out of it...it's too late for them to pull KQ1, KQ2 and QFG2, but I'd hate to see the site being ordered to close)

I knew how harsh Activision's ideas about their IP were and expected TSL's "review" to be a vicious tug-of-war to get it out, but I didn't think they'd pull the rug from under you at this stage. That word litigation set the hairs of my neck on end. I'm very sorry to hear this. I can't imagine a more anticlimactic way years of work can end. You've achieved a lot over the years. It's a shame this ends in such a downer. :-[

« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 05:48:33 AM by Erpy »

ashikens

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2010, 05:19:08 AM »
I am so crushed.
Kings Quest was the very first video game I liked and has shaped my opinions on story telling and narrative.
I just don't understand what Activision is thinking, if they were losing money or planned on making their own sequel, I would get it. Yet it seems like the only reason why they are stopping it because they feel threatened.
I think a petition could work, people shouldn't under estimate the power of a crowd.
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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2010, 05:22:26 AM »
Wow.  Not that I've ever participated in the forums or anything, but I've been appreciating and anticipating the work you guys have done for years.  I personally will be writing a letter to Activision's corporate offices (their address is on their website in the "contact us" section) regarding how they approach relations with their fans.  I'll certainly be keeping it in mind when I contemplate buying Activision products in the future.

I suggest everyone else do the same with a letter.  Could someone create a template using appropriate talking points that people could sign their name to and submit?  I think that letters are more effective than petitions, but I really want to see both!

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Re: The Silver Lining - Cease and Desist
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2010, 05:30:43 AM »
Hey guys,

I've been following the development of TSL for many years now and this is really very sad news. However I want to throw my 2c into the argument for changing some key elements to differentiate it from KQ and moving forward with the game. Now this is just my very uninformed opinion and obviously the ones with the potential legal liability should make the final decision.

Anyway, I read an article by a legal expert on Joystiq a couple of weeks ago that discussed why the game Dante's Inferno is not considered copyright infringement of the God of War IP even though they are extremely similar in gameplay styles.

Now that doesn't directly apply here but in the article they mention another game called Journey to Silius that was originally based on a Terminator license which the developers then lost. They modified the game somewhat and were able to release the game commercially without it being infringing.

Since TSL is not even going to be a commercial release, I really think that this might be a viable option. Again, I am not a lawyer or anything so if you do decide to go this route it'd probably be best to at least get some real legal advice beforehand.

Here's the link to the article -
http://www.joystiq.com/2010/02/16/lgj-dantes-infringement-or-lack-thereof/

This should probably be a last resort after petitions etc have failed. Whatever you guys end up deciding to do, I wish you all the best!