Reply To: Handling game rights at Sierra

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Ken, this might be more appropriate in the Ken Williams Q&A, but since we’re on the subject, I was wondering about how the rights to the game characters/worlds for other series besides King’s Quest was handled. For instance, I’ve noticed that the creators of Gold Rush are selling their game online as educational software. Obviously in order to do that, the creators must have retained full rights to the game. When you were still in charge of Sierra, what was the arrangement when someone floated an idea across your desk? Did you take the rights and pay royalties, or did the creator retain the rights while Sierra took a cut of the sales? In the case of the former, were the rights released back to the authors on the sale of Sierra to CUC? What is the status of Space Quest/Leisure Suit Larry in that regard?

Actually, I find one case particularly interesting. The Black Cauldron was originally a children’s book series by Lloyd Alexander which was adopted by Disney and made into an animated film. My understanding is that Disney approached Sierra to make the adventure game tie-in, which was executed by Al Lowe. Today, Al Lowe gives it away on his site. How exactly does THAT work?