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General Liberated Games FAQ [message #15] Wed, 15 September 2004 20:24
Messages: 179
Registered: September 2004
Senior Member
Frequently Asked Questions for Liberated Games

Q: How do I suggest a game which I believe to be liberated?

A: You can either send me an email (jvm@liberatedgames.org) or a private message on the forum to suggest a game.

Q: What games are pending entry into the Liberated Games database?

A: Dink Smallwood, Squarez Deluxe, Jetpack, God of Thunder, Vantage Master Online, and some others.

Q: Where is Betrayal at Krondor? Isn't it freeware?

A: The legal status of Betrayal at Krondor has finally been determined.

The following response was received from a Vivendi Universal Games representative who was familiar with the particulars of the legal situation:


"We [Vivendi Universal Games] have existing contracts with other companies that preclude us from being able to authorize this [redistribution by unlicensed third parties]."

This finally settles the question with the answer that Betrayal at Krondor is not redistributable freeware, except by Vivendi Universal Games and specific contractual partners. As Liberated Games does not have any such agreement with Vivendi Universal Games, we cannot redistribute Betrayal at Krondor.

Q: Where is Caesar? Sierra gave it away at one time. Isn't it freeware?

A: When Vivendi Universal Games was contacted about Betrayal at Krondor (see above), the status of Caesar was also requested. Regrettably, just like Betrayal at Krondor, Caesar is not redistributable freeware.

Q: Where is Red Baron 3D? Sierra gave it away at one time. Isn't it freeware?

A: When Vivendi Universal Games was contacted about Betrayal at Krondor (see above), the status of Red Baron 3D was also requested. Regrettably, just like Betrayal at Krondor, Red Baron 3D is not redistributable freeware.

Q: Where are Zork, Zork II, Zork III, and Zork: The Undiscovered Underground?

A: These games were distributed by Activision through their website as a promotion for Zork Nemesis. However, the archive includes a license that appears to prohibit redistribution. Here is a quote from that license, with my emphasis added in boldface:

GRANT. Activision, Inc. ("Activision") hereby grants you a non-exclusive license to use the accompanying computer game, Zork: The Great Underground Empire, provided that you may not:

a. modify or create derivative works based on the Game;
b. copy the Game (except for back-up purposes);
c. rent, lease, transfer or otherwise transfer rights to the Game;
d. or remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Game.

This says, in essence, "You may not copy Zork except for back-up purposes." Putting a copy up on a server for others to download is, by my reading, a violation of that part of the license. Therefore, except for Activision, no one has permission to redistribute these files, and since Activision no longer offers the download, I cannot list the game on Liberated Games.

Update: On 22 August 2005, CNET ran a feature article on various gratis games. Originally, the Zork series was listed, but later removed. In place of the download link was this note:

Editor's note: CNET has been advised by Activision that the company's release of the original Zork titles was a limited promotion, and that the company "has since removed them from that 'free' status." As such, we have removed the download link that was originally presented here.

Furthermore, via forum member DOSGuy, Liberated Games has obtained a copy of an email from Activision's legal department which says that the Zork series is not redistributable (except, presumably, by Activision itself).

Q: I heard X-COM: UFO Defense was released on the cover of PC Gamer magazine. Doesn't that mean it's freeware and could be included on Liberated Games?

A: Regrettably, we cannot include X-COM: UFO Defense on Liberated Games. Games which are distributed with magazines still carry license agreements, and I have obtained a copy of the license that was included with the version of X-COM: UFO Defense in PC Gamer magazine. The important section is here, with my emphasis added in boldface:

You are entitled to use this CD-ROM for your own use, but may not sell or transfer reproductions of the CD-ROM or Documentation to other parties in any way. You may use one copy of the CD-ROM on a single terminal connected to a single computer. You may not network the CD-ROM or otherwise use it on more than one computer or computer terminal at the same time.

That essentially says "You may not redistribute this game to anyone else in any form." Therefore, we cannot offer it for download on Liberated Games and will not provide links to sites which do. (I do hope that the reproduction of that portion of the license doesn't itself violate the part that says I can't redistribute the documentation. That would be darkly humorous, and scary.)

Q: Is B-17 Flying Fortress liberated? It's been available as a download online for years.

A: Forum contributor JimBobStuart did the research and concluded that it is not liberated. In fact, Shockwave Productions have bought it and they are remaking and improving it for a future release.

Q: Isn't "Liberated" kind of a pretentious name?

A: No, it is a memorable name which conveys the idea of the site. If you're reading something political into it, like my appreciation of GNU/Linux, then you're reading it incorrectly. As you'll notice, I've included Windows games prominently on the site, even if they can't be played on GNU/Linux or MacOS X. Moreover, I've included binary-only games. The site celebrates commercial games which have been made free in some significant form. That's all there is to it.

[Updated on: Sat, 27 August 2005 21:16]

Matt Matthews
Liberated Games Founder
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