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(re: a question about copyright) Can Jane only write a GK novel if Sierra says it’s okay?
Gabriel Knight was owned by Sierra. When I was CEO, I gave her the right to do a novel using the character – but, my recollection is that I only gave her the rights for one novel. I’m not sure what happened after I left.
At Sierra, I wanted to own all rights to everything we published. My philosophy was always that the first game in a series was a loss-leader — it cost more to promote than you could get back in revenue. It can cost millions to create a recognizable name. Sequels, and licensing represents the profit potential. Generally speaking, it’s the publishers millions that makes something into a recognizable trademark. Certainly, a gifted writer is also required – but, generally business is governed by the golden rule: He who holds the gold makes the rules.