(re: Kq9) To be technically accurate: Whether or not Tierra charges for KQ9, if Sierra decides it violates their copyrights they could shut it down. There doesn’t need to be a profit (or, even a revenue) motive on the part of Tierra.
The key issue here is whether or not Sierra cares, or, if they do care, if they would hire lawyers to shut Tierra down. Given that the Tierra group has been around for over a year, and that Sierra almost certainly knows about their project, I’d be very surprised to see Sierra get aggressive in attacking them. If they were going to do so, I would think they would have at least sent a nasty letter by now.
I don’t know the people at Sierra anymore. In fact, I’ve only been back in the Sierra offices one time in almost seven years (and, that was years ago). I’m not sure how they think, or what kinds of issues they care about. My hope is that they have better things to worry about that a KQ9 game.
I did hear, a couple of years ago, that they were starting a KQ project. I never heard anything else about it though.