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Looks like we haven't got any further with this -- viz. the effort to try to get the Hitchhiker/Restaurant game proposal docs archived and visible to more than just a handful of people..? Is there any hope of moving this forward in any way?
I can really understand that this is disappointing, but it's a complicated matter. It is very likely that this affects the IP of Activision, who still seem to hold the rights on everything Infocom and perhaps this would even affect the rights of Douglas Adams' heirs. And we cannot simply ignore this. You know, you can really open cans of worms with this. I havn't seen the docs either, because as it seems, they are only legally accessible by Magnetic Scrolls people and probably Activision people.
I know that Andy Baio published stuff about the Hitchhiker sequel some time ago, even including development versions. But -as fascinating as his post was - in the end, he was probably also publishing material that belongs to Activision.
Hugh surely knows more about it, but I think what we are still missing is some kind of clearance by Activision, either saying they don't care or they are not affected at all.
Sorry, I don't have any better news... at least for now. No reason to give up all hope, though...
Thanks, Stefan. Yes, you've summarised the situation very well indeed! What would be great is if Hugh could comment, briefly -- even if it's only to say, "I'm still investigating options," or "I'm still pondering what the best course of action is."
I realise that the docs in question were the work of various parties, some or all of whom (and/or their heirs!) might still have some sort of stake in any intellectual property that the documents represent. But, realistically, and after all this time, it's unlikely that anyone would have objected very loudly if Hugh had simply published the docs in the first place and had said, in all innocence, "Hey, look what I've found!" -- in a spirit of joy, and out of an honest, open-hearted desire to share these treasures with the interactive fiction community and with Hitchhiker fandom at large.
But the time for such a wide-eyed (and possibly naive) approach has passed. I think it would have worked if it had been done straight away -- as soon as the docs had been unearthed -- but now that the spectres of "IP" and "rights" have been raised, it's too late.
Of course it's now going to be nigh-on impossible to get the various "rights holders" to agree to a release. Can anyone ever get corporations (and/or people who can afford to hire lawyers) to agree to anything? Not without a shedload of negotiations and several hefty fees thrown into the bargain. That's especially true if there are quite a few of these so-called "stakeholders" sniffing around, vying with each other, as in this case. (Even if what they're fighting over is deader than than the flesh of an Arcturian MegaDonkey at Milliway's.)
No, the outlook's bleak! And I can say that with some confidence because a little while ago I myself reached out to a person not unconnected with this whole farrago, to ask if he might consider trying to help to bring the docs to a wider public, and what I got in return was a convoluted, wary, legalistic, and extremely discouraging email.
It's too late. And it's hopeless. Let's just all give up and consign these tantalising, exciting, damnable documents to the overstuffed dustbin of history.
That's what I feel I have to say.
And yet... Even now, if Hugh had an ounce of vim or brio he'd just publish and be damned! The fans would applaud him and then write long and badly spelt Facebook posts in homage. And the lawyers would just slope off quietly into the night, having realised that issuing any sort of writ or summons would be a PR disaster of Triganic proportions.
Do it, Hugh! Just do it, now! The eyes of all the galaxy are upon you!
But you know... they own the Vogons. Really, you know what they do to you. If you don't listen, you will find out the hard poetic way. And I surely wouldn't have the audacity to mess with the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council...
Sorry for the delay. I'm currently on vacation.
Regarding the Restaurant documents; we are currently investigating whether we can legally make this game.
I'll let you know what we find out.
Hi! Yes, i'm going to gather everything together including some historical MS docs i've recovered and publish them.