Answers on the GSL! - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alzrius
    But if the title is different, and the listed product line is different, calling the book "itself" doesn't really apply now does it?



    Why should the fact that they're lighter than anticipated mean that restrictions should be happily accepted?

    I'm personally very happy that WotC killed the "poison pill" clause. That said, I consider Open Gaming to be something to aspire to, and so far, the OGL is the best representation we've seen of that. The GSL is, in that regard, still a step backwards - it's just now a small step instead of a giant leap (and yes, I know the GSL has provisions that the OGL doesn't, such as using "mind flayer" and "displacer beast" etc. It's still less Open than the OGL).

    I completely understand why WotC is doing this. I'm also glad 4E will be as accessible as it is. But this is still a regression from what the gaming community had before, and as such I, personally, want to keep looking for ways of working with the GSL that allow OGL-levels of Openness.

    As it stands now, from the prospective of Open Gaming, the GSL is better than it could have been. But that doesn't mean it's as good as it could be.
    Well, some of us are idealists. I agree, this is a step back grom Open Gaming. But it does continue easily licensed third party support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arrond Hess
    Well, it's good to see that companies will be able to produce products for both OGL/3.x and 4.0.
    And for this I am happy. I suspect there will terms in the GSL that I will be less than thrilled with, but I can accept that WotC probably should have more restrictive licensing. Hopefully the GSL will help establish a healthy marketplace while allowing some of the companies to venture more into Open Gaming waters for certain product lines.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alzrius
    Why should the fact that they're lighter than anticipated mean that restrictions should be happily accepted?
    Because the best way to piss someone off when they're being generous--far more so than they have to be--is to demand even more?

    Because WotC is letting people play with their toys already, when there was no reason they had to?

    Because the restrictions they've put in place are neither unreasonable nor immoral by any widely accepted definition?

    Because it was apparently a fight to get things even this open, and the last thing we want is to give WotC's lawyers reason to regret it?

    Because both business sense and common courtesy should encourage us to work with WotC on this, not against them? (And if neither of those is enough, consider WotC's legal budget.)

    I think trying to use the letter of the law to violate the spirit of it is the best way to ensure it'll never be more open than it is now.

  3. #53
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    I agree mouse...some people just don't want to see the silver lining. Some people will nitpick something obscure about this announcement and this thread will go on for pages and pages like the old one

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    From the front page:
    Q) Can existing OGL products be updated to the GSL and what are the restrictions, if any?

    A. Existing OGL products can absolutely be converted to 4e GSL products, so long as they adhere to the terms of the GSL. In fact, we want to see publishers update their popular product lines to 4e.
    That's, erm, interesting.

    Under normal copyright law and the terms of the OGL 1.0a, if your current OGL product contains Open Game Content written by someone other than yourself or WotC, there is no way you can legally release it under the GSL without getting permission of that non-WotC party.

    So, taken perfectly literally, that answer suggests WotC is going to issue a new version of the OGL that specifically authorizes redistribution of Open Game Content under the GSL.

  5. #55
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    Wow. Ari, I really think you're taking my previous posts a little too seriously. I'm not trying to bash WotC, nor say that these revisions aren't a good thing. I'm just saying that I think more Openness is a good thing, and that in that context the GSL isn't up to the OGL, which makes it a net loss in that regard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu
    Because the best way to piss someone off when they're being generous--far more so than they have to be--is to demand even more?
    Well, I don't recall "demanding" anything. I'm saying that they were more generous before, and are less so now, and I personally prefer the level of generosity we saw with the OGL, and not the lesser amount here.

    Because WotC is letting people play with their toys already, when there was no reason they had to?
    No one's talking about why they "had" to do anything. But on that note, there are reasons for why it's in their own best interests to make a royalty-free license generaly available. Doing so helps them, ultimately.

    Because the restrictions they've put in place are neither unreasonable nor immoral by any widely accepted definition?
    Well, I don't recall anyone discussing the morality of the GSL in this thread. As for unreasonable, I don't think they are. I'm just pointing out that the OGL was also not unreasonable, and afforded more Openness than the GSL.

    Because it was apparently a fight to get things even this open, and the last thing we want is to give WotC's lawyers reason to regret it?
    Hm, yes, I can see WotC's entire legal division frothing at the mouth over this thread. "Damn that Alzrius! We made the GSL more accessible for everyone, and this is the thanks this person we've never heard of gives us! Quickly, let's go back and make it more closed before its release just to spite him!"

    Because both business sense and common courtesy should encourage us to work with WotC on this, not against them? (And if neither of those is enough, consider WotC's legal budget.)
    Business sense also entails that a company should do what's best for their sales, which means fighting or circumventing restrictions that could possibly curtail the production of products that'd sell well (e.g. 3.5 and 4E versions of the same book, to hit the widest marketshare). Likewise, it'd also be courteous to - in lieu of business sense - not add restrictions to a public license in order to maximize your own sales at the expense of the companies that use the license.

    I think trying to use the letter of the law to violate the spirit of it is the best way to ensure it'll never be more open than it is now.
    Hey, tell me what will definitely make it more Open than it is now, and we'll talk. In the meantime, we have to do what we can with what we have.

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Urizen
    Maybe I missed it, but, what about Castles and Crusades, M&M, true20, etc?

    I didn't see a definitive answer for those types of products.. or did I, and not recognize it?
    Those are OGL product lines.

    So you could continue to publish True 20 books, and GSL books, you just couldnt make the same book under both licenses.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alzrius
    No one's talking about why they "had" to do anything. But on that note, there are reasons for why it's in their own best interests to make a royalty-free license generaly available. Doing so helps them, ultimately.
    I've yet to see an argument that convinced me an entirely open license is better for them than one like the GSL, which is "mostly" open, but requires the use of their own material.

    I'm just pointing out that the OGL was also not unreasonable, and afforded more Openness than the GSL.
    Obviously it was, by at least some legal or business standard, or there'd be no reason not to go that route again.

    Hm, yes, I can see WotC's entire legal division frothing at the mouth over this thread. "Damn that Alzrius! We made the GSL more accessible for everyone, and this is the thanks this person we've never heard of gives us! Quickly, let's go back and make it more closed before its release just to spite him!"
    Funny. But I was talking about people doing what you suggest, not the suggestion itself.

    (Although I'd also point out that we do know that people from WotC read this thread.)

    Business sense also entails that a company should do what's best for their sales, which means fighting or circumventing restrictions that could possibly curtail the production of products that'd sell well (e.g. 3.5 and 4E versions of the same book, to hit the widest marketshare).
    Not when doing so means pissing off or harming (however minorly) the company that gave them the tools to make said sales in the first place.

    Hey, tell me what will definitely make it more Open than it is now, and we'll talk. In the meantime, we have to do what we can with what we have.
    "Hey, until I have a way to solve the problem, let me risk making it worse for no real apparent gain."

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by see
    That's, erm, interesting.

    Under normal copyright law and the terms of the OGL 1.0a, if your current OGL product contains Open Game Content written by someone other than yourself or WotC, there is no way you can legally release it under the GSL without getting permission of that non-WotC party.

    So, taken perfectly literally, that answer suggests WotC is going to issue a new version of the OGL that specifically authorizes redistribution of Open Game Content under the GSL.
    Except they can't do that (and I don't see where you get the idea that they would do that--the only time it will crop up is if a publisher is using someone else's OGC).

    Because products are produced under certain versions of the OGL. If my product is released under version 1.0a of the OGL, and WotC releases a version 1.0b that says WotC owns the copyright to everything published under the OGL, it doesn't magically transfer my copyright to WotC. I licensed my product for other people to use under the terms of version 1.0a, and those are the terms that govern the use of my property.

    What WotC is saying is that they'd like publishers to move existing lines into 4e compatibility. For most product released under the OGL, this won't be a problem. Most of the product released under the OGL cannot effectively make the transition to 4e anyway. The rules are sufficiently different that the mechanics will have to be rewritten. The question, then, is whether the fluff can be ported.

    Anything that was PI shouldn't be in other people's products, so that's not a problem. The issue you run into is what do you do when you've borrowed someone else's PI? Well, since PI is not open, you're going to have to go back to the original rights holders and get a new license to use it. But you would have had to do that anyway, because if you were using someone else's PI, it wasn't open in the first place.

    I suppose it's possible that some mechanical elements will be transferable. However, if that's the case, then you'll need to do the same thing for the mechanics that you need to do when using someone else's PI--get permission.

    Remember that the OGL doesn't prevent you from using your own product however you want. It simply allows other people to use it under certain conditions (the OGL).

    --G
    Last edited by Goobermunch; Saturday, 3rd May, 2008 at 03:41 AM.

  9. #59
    I agree mouse...some people just don't want to see the silver lining. Some people will nitpick something obscure about this announcement and this thread will go on for pages and pages like the old one
    I think it's more that those who believe in the concept of open gaming as an ideal will be disappointed that the major game that supports it, the version of D&D SRD under the OGL, is no longer endorsed by the parent.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the movement. Are there enough people who follow the ideal strictly, or was it's strength in this decade influenced by the fact that it was the D&D game. If it's a true future movement, it will thrive, but if more people care about having the best and latest official D&D game, it might die or be nothing more than a niche. We'll see.

    Under normal copyright law and the terms of the OGL 1.0a, if your current OGL product contains Open Game Content written by someone other than yourself or WotC, there is no way you can legally release it under the GSL without getting permission of that non-WotC party.
    My assumption is that the GSL will only work from the assumption that all the content in the product conversion is stuff you wrote or derived directly from the SRD.

    I don't think this will be a problem for many publishers. From what I've seen in major products I've purchased (Malhavoc, Green Ronin, Sword and Sorcerery, Necromancer), you don't get a lot of content reuse from other parties. (Referencing it alone makes it dependent on other products you may not have, reproducing it in detail makes your product less unique). If as a writer you grab instead of create, I can see converting products to be more problematic.

    Also, it's important to mention that the rules have completely changed so any new rules have to be rewritten significantly anyway. So, if I had a 3e campaign setting that used a magic system from a 3rd party, you have to rewrite the rules anyway and you don't know if those rules will work with the new system, so I suspect referencing other rules and creations is less likely. We don't know if it's worth converting rules until we understand 4e. You may not need a prestige class anymore to do something, for instance.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu
    I've yet to see an argument that convinced me an entirely open license is better for them than one like the GSL, which is "mostly" open, but requires the use of their own material.
    That may be so, but I'm not concerned with what's necessarily best for WotC; rather, I'm most concerned with what's best for the gaming community as a whole. Having a royalty-free license of some sort out there is better for WotC, I believe; that said, one with more restrictions is better for WotC, while one with less restrictions is better for everyone else.

    Ultimately, I find myself more concerned with what's better for everyone else. Partially this is because I think it's more worthwhile to focus on the health of the community overall. However, I also think that adding restrictions to everyone else to in turn give themselves a slightly larger sales profit is discourteous. It's good business sense, but it's discourteous nonetheless. We've heard before that WotC is the 800 lb. gorilla in the industry, that they're so large that they really don't have any true competing companies. Taking that as a truism, adding in restrictions on the license that everyone will use for the purpose of driving up their hypothetical 66% control of the market up to 67% may help drive up profits, but it just seems discourteous to whack everyone else for such a small return.

    It's nice to give people a gift - as WotC did with the OGL - even if you expect something in return (as WotC did; increased sales). However, later announcing that what you got in return wasn't sufficient, and so your new gift (the GSL) will include restrictions to make damn sure you give back what they consider to be a sufficient gift in return, is discourteous. Gifts aren't meant to be given because of what you expect to be given back; they're given to be gifts.

    Obviously it was, by at least some legal or business standard, or there'd be no reason not to go that route again.
    That's not obvious, nor assumed. There's nothing to say that the OGL was either legally or financially unreasonable, it just didn't maximize profits as much as WotC wanted. It wasn't a question of the type of license breaking the company or not - they just wanted more money, and are seeking it by restricting the license.

    That's fine; that's their perogative as a business. However, that doesn't mean that people who are not part of that business should necessarily be grateful for that.

    Funny. But I was talking about people doing what you suggest, not the suggestion itself.

    (Although I'd also point out that we do know that people from WotC read this thread.)
    I'm not suggesting anything, I'm just stating my opinion. And we don't know that anyone from the legal team that created the GSL is reading this thread.

    Not when doing so means pissing off or harming (however minorly) the company that gave them the tools to make said sales in the first place.
    Strictly speaking, each competing product sold ends up harming (and by extension, pissing off) the company that gave them those tools. But again, if WotC is so massive that they don't even feel the loss, it doesn't seem like that should be worth them getting riled up over it.

    "Hey, until I have a way to solve the problem, let me risk making it worse for no real apparent gain."
    If you think my respectfully saying that I don't care much for the GSL is making it worse, then I think your view of the situation is unrealistically dire.

    As it so happens, I have a way to solve what I see as a problem; just don't introduce any restrictions into the GSL.

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