But is it piracy?

Yesterday I posted a story about a new site called KindleQuest that let you play Zork and other Infocom games on your Kindle. It’s no fun for me on the Kindle keyboard, but I will say that I thought the idea was shiny.

A short time later an observant reader pointed out that these games were likely under copyright, and that the site was probably pirating the games. She was right in that the games are under copyright, but is it actually piracy? How can we tell from outside that Activision (they own the copyrights) didn’t allow the site to open? We can’t.

I’m not trying to justify piracy here; it’s a valid question. In this day and age a growing number of companies are tacitly allowing this kind of copying.

In fact, I’ve been in a situation like this. One developer copied a video I shot of his app. I had it on Youtube, and he moved it to his Vimeo account. I happen to have found the video on Vimeo before they asked me for permission. If they’d asked, I’d have sent them an original copy on CD.

I don’t care that they copied the video (that’s why I announced a CC licence on my photos last week), and I know that I’m not alone in this. For all we know Activision doesn’t want to bother removing the site. They may even have decided to leave it up until they released the Kindle app.

I’ve contacted Activision on this, and I’m waiting to see what they do. If they’re fine with the site, then so am I.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Tablazines28 September, 2010

    Ahh the old Infocom games… those where the days. I know.. not entirely on the topic of the post.

  2. Stefano28 September, 2010

    Nate, I’m positively sure that Activision made the Zork text adventures free more than 10 years ago.

    1. Nate the great28 September, 2010

      See, that’s exactly why I didn’t jump to conclusions. Thanks.

    2. Todd28 September, 2010

      Link, please? The last I recall they were temporarily available for free downloads as a promo for the release of “Zork Grand Inquisitor”. And that was just the original trilogy, not *all* the Infocom games.

      Not saying Activision didn’t release them, I’d just want proof over some Internet guy saying he’s really positive.

  3. Zigwalski28 September, 2010

    Yeah you can freely download these games for your computer these days straight off infocom’s website. As long as Kindlequest is not making any money off the games, they can distribute them.

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