Revised GSL TODAY! - Page 26




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  1. #251
    Quote Originally Posted by FourthBear View Post
    I have to admit that I find this really unlikely. Are there really "plenty of licenses" which don't involve some kind of content control, whether in the form of a morals clause, freedom to withdraw license, right of review and refusal? Especially when the license is an open one with no royalties involved? It seems like any such license would almost immediately result in "Custer's Revenge" style problems or worse.
    Any larger game publisher would have experience with that. Ask somebody like Mongoose which is licensing several properties, or Margaret Weiss productions.

    I think a lot of people are thinking of the new "copyleft" licenses like Creative Commons or software licenses like GPL, MIT, BSD, as examples, as well as the OGL.

    The gratis licenses are very rare in the Entertainment world and I don't see we're going to see many big publishers license their own content in this manner, especially if the property is as valuable as D&D.

    I don't feel like having a sig right now

 

  • #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by justanobody View Post
    ... So BoEF could say D&D, but wasn't made by them and any court of law would be like.... What does this have to do with WotC since they didn't write or publish this book?

    Don't you have to prove the person you are blaming for any kind of damages is the responsible party? So anyone claiming damages, even with the GSL, would not be able to hold WotC to blame for something of "mature" content, if WotC did not write it.

    I don't recall Gene Roddenbury held responsible for anything occuring from the porn flik Sex Trek with James T **** as the captain. It wasn't his fault, so cannot be held responsible for someone using or misusing his IP.
    Not necessarily. A court of law might agree with that at the conclusion of a lawsuit, but not necessarily before. In which case you'd have to spend a lot of money defending yourself, not to mention the PR hit your company and brand may take.

    Yes, you'd have to prove they are the responsible party, but, they may be able to force proceedings to attempt to prove just that. It may be possible to force a lawsuit on the premise that WoTC licenses (in this case the OGL and STL) gives tacit permission for such a product, and therefore WoTC is liable. A lawsuit like that would probably never win, but the money spent defending themself, and the PR damage, could be considerable. That could even be just the crack in the armor that anti-D&D activists could use to bring the subject back into the limelight. For a real world example (not as a commentary on politics), lawsuits just like this have been brought against the gun industry. To date, I don't think any of the suits have won, but they've spent considerable amounts of money figthing this and lobbying for support.

    But that's only about possible liability issues. Something doesn't have to be legally valid for your brand to take a Public Relations hit. Just look at the hits WoTC takes here on ENWorld for some seemingly inocuous actions (and some not so inocuous actions). Could you imagine what the damage to the D&D brand would be if anti-D&D groups started publicly declaring that D&D promotes pornography and lasciviousness, and used BoEF as exhibit number one? Whether right or wrong, to most parents it would appear to be a smoking gun, which is all that would matter to them. Game over. So, they protect themselves with a clause in their license before it becomes a problem. Sounds like a very smart decision to me.

    As far as the porno example, one could make the argument that it's parody, and therefore protected by the first amendment (no matter how distasteful it may be to some people - even bad parody is still parody). Something of which the Trek franchise or Gene Rodenberry's estate would probably have had no ability to control even if they did seek legal action.

    (edit: Sorry Umbran. I was probably typing yet when your post went up. It takes me a while to make sure I've spelled everything right - which even then I usually don't have everything spelled right.)
    Last edited by El Mahdi; Thursday, 5th March, 2009 at 02:17 AM.

  • #253
    User banned for ignoring mod warning.
    Last edited by Eridanis; Thursday, 5th March, 2009 at 02:57 AM. Reason: See above.

  • #254
    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonblade View Post
    Just so we're clear. The BoEF IS garbage. G-A-R-B-A-G-E.

    And the whole maturity clause in the d20 STL and the GSL is a direct result of Anthony Valterra's epic fail in the good business sense department.

    Right it is.

    But so is the clause. Since its so vague it doesnt exactly give an idea what is or is NOT allowed.

    Obviously another BoEF is out. But how about skinsaw murders? Ogre mountain there based in the AP? Or some of the other items from Paizo in that AP?

    Unless its clearer, no its NOT good business sense. Understandable? Sure. But right now its pretty unclear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justanobody View Post
    I just think you
    Maybe a "no sexual acts depictions/descriptions" clause rather than just a blanket "no mature content" type clause.
    I get where you're coming from. The only problem I see is that "mature content" covers more than just sex for a reason. For example, although the game portrays violence and injury, it does so in an abstract manner. If a D&D book, or a D&D compatable book, presented violence in all of it's graphic horrific un-splendor, it could be adverse to WoTC's goals. WoTC wants to sell books, and espcecially with this edition is going to great lengths to bring in new and younger gamers. Anything that breaks that "PG" standard is just ammunition for those aforementioned anti-D&D groups. They can use it to convince parents to not let their children buy or play the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Mahdi View Post
    I get where you're coming from. The only problem I see is that "mature content" covers more than just sex for a reason. For example, although the game portrays violence and injury, it does so in an abstract manner. If a D&D book, or a D&D compatable book, presented violence in all of it's graphic horrific un-splendor, it could be adverse to WoTC's goals. WoTC wants to sell books, and espcecially with this edition is going to great lengths to bring in new and younger gamers. Anything that breaks that "PG" standard is just ammunition for those aforementioned anti-D&D groups. They can use it to convince parents to not let their children buy or play the game.


    On the flip-side, nothing gets the word out for your product like controversy. And nothing gets kids to buy something better than those in "authority" telling them its bad for them.

    edit: though I can see where Hasbro wouldn't like the wingnuts calling for a boycott on My Little Pony. Yet another reason I wish WOTC was still in control of their own destiny. Hegemony is bad...
    Last edited by joethelawyer; Thursday, 5th March, 2009 at 03:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joethelawyer View Post
    On the flip-side, nothing gets the word out for your product like controversy. And nothing gets kids to buy something better than those in "authority" telling them its bad for them.

    edit: though I can see where Hasbro wouldn't like the wingnuts calling for a boycott on My Little Pony. Yet another reason I wish WOTC was still in control of their own destiny. Hegemony is bad...
    Yeah, it worked exactly that way in the 80's didn't it. I think even Gary said it was actually one of the best things for D&D marketing back then.

    I don't know if it would work a second time around though. At least back then there was no real evidence, it was all just anecdotal and twisted statistics. But if someone had hardcopy proof in the form of a publication, I don't know if the public would be very forgiving today. But you never know, even if parents didn't let there kids buy or play, I guess you can't be absolutely sure it would adversely affect sales. But, if you're a publicly traded company do you take the chance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CleverNickName View Post
    Remember: Only You Can Prevent Crappy Products.TM
    If only that were true....
    Only you can prevent forest fires. That's right - you!

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    LMAO! Good one mark! I think I'll have to toss a dollar up on your table for that!

    Gil
    "If life gives you lemons go find someone with vodka and make a party!" --Antilles

    Paraphrased from the enworld chat room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRTroy View Post

    The OGL was a very unusual license, and in some ways it kind of spoiled the publishers.
    I've heard this said many times, the OGL "spoiled" the publishers. Muy perspective is quite different. The OGL was created with a specific purpose in mind: to create a "safe harbor" for third party publishers. In the absence of the OGL, publishers could have put out very similar products, but there might have been questions about what was permissible, which could lead to legal challenges that would be costly to WotC and fatal to most small publishers. The OGL never gave anything away but goodwill.

    Virtually no game terms in the SRD are trademarkable and titles are generally not copyrightable. Game concepts cannot be copyrighted, only expressions. There are no patents in the SRD that are being licensed, and at this point, there is nothing left to patent. WotC did not invent elves nor regenerating trolls nor "halflings."

    Effectively, the OGL served as a way of sidestepping what might or might not constitute "derivative content." It created a situation such that as long as you followed the rules, if you did create derivative content, you would not be sued and WotC would not have their IP rights weakened by a failure to do so.

    I understand the OGL can be interpreted strictly as a business contract, but in a broader sense, it was a covernant. The purpose of the OGL was not to license some kind of original creation (like the Star Wars franchise or a a particular brand name like D&D) but instead to cover all asses. The few truly original variations on old themes (chromatic dragons, dark elves, clerics) long ago became assimilated into popular culture and there is no reclaiming them. I could go fire up Final Fantasy I right now and show you a fire-breathing red dragon, a frost-breathing white dragon, and a gas-breathing green dragon. That ship has sailed.

    So in effect, it is WotC that has been spoiled. As originators of the OGL, they have grown used to the idea that they control the use of the SRD material. In fact, you need no license at all to create a wide variety of compatible products with little or no legal exposure. The only major obstacle is WotC's possible willingness to file unlikely suits in the hope of forcing the 3PP out of the game through bullying. Since WotC has retracted their offer as a safe habor, I can draw only two possible conclusions:

    1. After years of debate, some folks in upper management still have not grasped the central issues at stake (the D&D trademark, versus the un-ownable right to create gaming products with may or may not be compatible).
    2. WotC is prepared to sue 3PP publishers to dust and ashes, TSR style, in an attempt to maximize profits in the short-term by eliminating free market alternatives to their products, and is unashamed to take the role of a bully.

    Whichever is the case, as both are dangerous possiblities, I would be leery of entering into any contract to WotC in which the licensee is not protected in some way from WotC's whims.

    Keep in mind that WotC feels they are entitled, solely, to use the displacer beast... a creature which inspired by the coeurl, from Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle. They have forbidden others from referencing their unique, original interpretation of someone else's idea. While I do not think WotC is malicious or particularly greedy, it is clear to me that their IP policies reflect a continual tumult of business decisions, rather than a coherent philosophy based on artistic and business realities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    I could sell a vaccum cleaner bag and print right on the label, "Compatible with Hoover upright vacuum cleaners." Yet I am spoiled for thinking I can do the same for an adventure module? I can write books about elves and dwarves and such, drawing from the same sources as D&D... yet WotC presumes to tell me how tall an elf is and must be? The EU has told Microsoft, in plain terms, that they must allow others to write compatible software for their copyrighted OS and provide no impedence to them, yet WotC feels exempt from this basic pillar of efficient free markets.

    What bothers me is not WotC's generosity, which has been reasonable in scope, but their presumption. It bothers me that they would make publishers jump through hoops who actually want to work with them and promote their brand, when less loyal 3PP can simply publish as they see fit, and as long as they practice reasonable caution, suffer no such restrictions. Whereas the OGL was a partnership of WotC, 3PP, and fandom, the GSL is imperial.

    If the OGL was a bad business deal, then why was 3.5 so successful?

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