The team of King's Quest enthusiasts who had, since 2002, been working on an unofficial continuation of the seminal adventure game, have complied with a demand by Activision to cease all development of their game.
The Silver Lining has a long and unusual history, even for fan-built games. The final official installment of King's Quest came in 1998. Two years later, enthusiasts started their first attempt at coding their own sequel, starting over with the current development volunteers, Phoenix Online Studios, in 2002. From the beginning, the team asserted a right to the project under U.S. fair use copyright law.
In 2005, Phoenix Online survived its first cease-and-desist order from the rights holder at the time, Vivendi Universal. Outcry and backlash over the project's termination led to an extraordinary non-commercial "fan license" granted for The Silver Lining.
However, Sierra's intellectual property has since changed hands from Vivendi to Activision. And Activision is not interested in continuing this license or crafting another non-commercial agreement. Says the developers:
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's more, the C&D requires closure of most of the forums set up to support the project's development. Phoenix Online says it is building a new, empty forum so fans brought together by the project can stay in touch.
The Silver Lining [site]