Revised GSL TODAY! - Page 21





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  1. #201
    Quote Originally Posted by Echohawk View Post
    To be fair though, it is also a royalty-free licensing contract.

    It stands to reason that the criteria for deciding what constitutes "reasonable" contract terms are probably slightly different when comparing a royalty-free contract to one where the licensee is actually paying money for the licensing rights (such as in your Batman example).
    Whether it is free or not is not the point. Any license that allows one party to change the agreement at will and forces the other to either submit or lose their investment in a product is a bad one. Even if you aren't paying one dime for it, a publisher still has expenses. And I don't know how comfortable I am as a publisher investing in paying writers, artists, marketing and production costs for a product that WoTC at any time can make obsolete.

    Yes, it is their IP. Yes, they have a right to do what they want. NO, that doesn't make this a good license.

    I don't think WoTC is 'evil' or deliberately out to screw people. But I do believe they often suffer from a bad case of legalitis, and do things because their legal department tells them so without really thinking through the ramifications for their license partners. Its like the old saying "never ascribe to malice where ignorance will suffice."

    Let's be honest. Did the license get changed because WoTC was really taking the concerns of 3pp to heart, or because so many were successfully creating 4e compatible material legally without a license? Or because so many were successfully continuing to use the existing OGL to produce sellable, quality product?

    And like the folks at Paizo said, for many publishers it is too little too late. I've no interest in 4e material. Our 3.5 products are still selling, and our own Karma system is starting to grow. Do I now spread my resources thin to jump on the 4e bandwagon, not knowing what WoTC might change in the license tommarrow? Do I risk resources, in this economy no less, on trying to build a third product line of game materials when that entire investment is at the whim or whether or not some lawyer at Hasbro decided the license needs to be changed?
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  • #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bardsandsages View Post
    Any license that allows one party to change the agreement at will and forces the other to either submit or lose their investment in a product is a bad one. Even if you aren't paying one dime for it, a publisher still has expenses. And I don't know how comfortable I am as a publisher investing in paying writers, artists, marketing and production costs for a product that WoTC at any time can make obsolete.
    Business is full of risk, and businesspeople make decisions all the time by assessing risk against reward. If, for you, the rewards that come from playing in the D&D sandbox aren't worth the risk you perceive in the GSL, that's a perfectly rational stance to take.

    And I agree that the risk of WotC suddenly killing off your product is very real. Who knows what WotC--or anyone--will do in the future, no matter what their behaviour or apparent intent is now?

    But there are mitigating factors. The long sell-off period (in the frontlist-oriented world of RPG publishing, most products have made 90% of their sales within six months) and WotC's past behaviour (as Clark pointed out) through the d20L era are two of them.

    Nonetheless, YMMV. That's fine. But expecting WotC to craft an open contract in any terms other than what best protects their interest is pretty unrealistic.
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  • #203
    Do I have this right? The "decency clause" was *not* in the original d20STL, but added in about the same time the Book of Erotic Might was about to launch.

    It seems like there was one other significant change made at the same time, but I'm blanking on it.
    Best,

    Garnfellow

  • #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garnfellow View Post
    Do I have this right? The "decency clause" was *not* in the original d20STL, but added in about the same time the Book of Erotic Might was about to launch.

    It seems like there was one other significant change made at the same time, but I'm blanking on it.
    It was added specifically because of the Book of Erotic Fantasy.

  • #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesRyan View Post
    Let's just put this in context, though:

    1. One title. Out of zillions of 3P products released under the OGL.
    2. A defined sell-off period is part and parcel of every licensing agreement. Usually they're like 2 weeks. WotC gave months.



    How about reasonable people: It's a licensing contract. I might not love every element of it, but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty reasonable.
    Agreed 100%. That first post was rubbish.

    Frankly, the BOEF was garbage and is EXACTLY the kind of product that content owners make license restrictions for--they dont want their brand affiliated with total crap. So the fact that there is a license that interfers with BOEF means the license is working correctly.

    As for the d20 STL ending, all content/branding licenses have the chance to end. You always have to deal with that. In this case, they let you scrub off the logo and keep selling the stuff. That is MORE than reasonable. And the current license has a 6 month sell-off period. Again, more than reasonable.

    Anyone who wants to hate on Wizards for the terms of the license simply doesnt use licenses. This stuff isnt particularly objectionable and any objection to it for those reasons is unreasonable.
    Clark Peterson
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  • #206
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    In my opinion (based on what it appears has happened in the past) if your product is making waves, and people are talking about it, but it happens to have some content that might be questionable... you're probably good to go.

    If on the other hand your product is making waves and people are talking about it BECAUSE of the questionable content it contains... you're probably not.

    Thats how I saw the whole BoEF thing... That book only made any attention for itself because it was a book about doin "the nasty" in D&D (complete with naked chicks in elf costumes) and not because it was a good book, that happened to have some stuff about sexual themes in D&D.

  • #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bardsandsages View Post
    Let's be honest. Did the license get changed because WoTC was really taking the concerns of 3pp to heart, or because so many were successfully creating 4e compatible material legally without a license? Or because so many were successfully continuing to use the existing OGL to produce sellable, quality product?
    The license got changed because it was a failure and because people dont like failures. The GSL, as it originally existed, totally failed in all ways to get third parties to support 4E under that license. They werent afraid that people were supporting 4E with non-GSL created products. They took our comments to heart and made changes to make the license actually accomplish its stated goal--to get 3P support. Did they listen to us? Yes. The changes that came about are the direct result of my input and my proposed drafted changes. I sent Scott multiple versions of drafts and changes and he incoporated that stuff into his thinking that subsequently went to Wizards legal. The amount of OGL products for 4E is really not that significant right now. That wasnt bothering them. What bothered them is that they made this license and no one is using it. And people dont like doing somehting that just flat winds up sucking. They tried to make a good license, but what they made was a camel--a horse by committee. They tried to serve too many diverse masters in the first version and wound up serving none. So they took our input on what had to change. I told them what had to change. I told them we need an opt out and we need section 6 to go away. I also included some "wish list" items such as monster stat blocks. We got our mandatory stuff, didnt get our wish list stuff. And there you have it. Listen, I worked directly with Scott on a good amount of this stuff. In the end it is his work, but this was based on feedback from the publsihers because they want a license people will actually use. They dont want a failure. And that is what the GSL was--a total abject failure. Now it isnt.

    And I hope to see all the prior larger 3E publishers on board--I'd love to see GR use it, I'd love to see Monte raise Malhavoc and use it, etc. And I hope they will. Now, there is little reason not to.

    Clark
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  • #208
    Quote Originally Posted by Orcus View Post
    Frankly, the BOEF was garbage and is EXACTLY the kind of product that content owners make license restrictions for--they dont want their brand affiliated with total crap.
    Interesting then that the Book of Erotic Fantasy was co-written by a WotC employee and published by the guy who used to be in charge of D&D.

  • #209
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    There are, in fact, quite a few reasons not to use the GSL, which have been enumerated over the last few pages of this thread. And that's not even taking into account questions of whether or not the publishers want to support 4E at all.

    And by the way Clark, great work elevating the discussion. So far you've referred to other products as being "garbage," suggested that those who complain about the GSL are just ignorant (because they don't use licenses) and those who object to it are "unreasonable," and objectively said that there's "little" reason not to use the GSL, despite a number of people, including publishers, having raised some very valid points over the last few pages of the thread.

    Quality replies, all.
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  • #210
    Quote Originally Posted by Orcus View Post
    What bothered them is that they made this license and no one is using it.
    That part I'm willing to accept. To spend man-months of time on a license that no-one uses has a lot of fail in it, so I can see this being a lot of the reason for an update.

    And people dont like doing somehting that just flat winds up sucking. They tried to make a good license, but what they made was a camel--a horse by committee. They tried to serve too many diverse masters in the first version and wound up serving none. So they took our input on what had to change. I told them what had to change. I told them we need an opt out and we need section 6 to go away. I also included some "wish list" items such as monster stat blocks. We got our mandatory stuff, didnt get our wish list stuff. And there you have it. Listen, I worked directly with Scott on a good amount of this stuff. In the end it is his work, but this was based on feedback from the publsihers because they want a license people will actually use. They dont want a failure. And that is what the GSL was--a total abject failure. Now it isnt.

    Clark
    A lot of the rest of this ... is hard to verify. You might consider that the whole process might have been set as an extensive bargaining session, where WotC floated what they knew would be hard to accept, in part to back folks off of the OGL, and in part to gauge the reaction and to see how much to put back in to get usage.

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