OGL 1.2 and VTT [+]

mamba

Hero
WotC can't do anything about you creating a magic-missile effect for your VTT. Pew pew effects are a dime a dozen. But they can prevent you from calling it "magic missile" for use in a D&D setting. I think. Not a lawyer.
it being displayed while your D&D char casts magic missile makes it a mm effect, no matter what you called the animation. They want there to be no effects under the OGL
 

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mamba

Hero
If a VTT is supporting a plethora of ongoing campaigns that are using OGL content purchased through that VTT, and they lose their license and have to revoke all players' access to that content, they very much lose something.
I am talking about WotC’s VTT, they lose nothing, edited OP for clarity ;)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
it being displayed while your D&D char casts magic missile makes it a mm effect, no matter what you called the animation. They want there to be no effects under the OGL
They are trying to do much more than that though in an effort to stop people from doing things they already do
[spoiler-="another example"]
[/spoiler]
Wotc's very late to the VTT game & they haven't even put one out yet.
 

Clint_L

Hero
it being displayed while your D&D char casts magic missile makes it a mm effect, no matter what you called the animation. They want there to be no effects under the OGL
Not if you are calling it D&D or using D&D IP, no. You would need to work out a separate license with them. It seems like they are trying to make sure that someone can't make, say a D&D video game without permission. That seems fair to me.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I'm thinking the VTT would be prevented by the OGL 1.2 from putting that together with any OGL 1.2 SRD content. You could provide the animation, but the VTT couldn't use it.

(Pondering this further: I'm thinking a goal of WotC is to monetize, via microtransactions, graphical and sound assets. Dice, spell effects, creature animations, character animations, location dressing. I expect that the goal is to have a private ecosystem, in the sense of the Apple App store, where-in such assets are only available for purchase from WotC, or sold by third parties but subject a hefty percentage fee, and strong price controls. Prices and fees would be much less in an open ecosystem. There being an open VTT which was enabled for any third party developers to contribute assets would seem to demolish such a strategy of WotC.)

TomB
it still feels like exploiting a loophole though and it cannot be the VTT publisher at that point. So I prefer fixing it over avoiding it in dubious ways
Well, more good reasons to oppose 1.2.
 

Enrahim2

Explorer
The big problem with trying to separate between a VTT and a videogame is that at least 2 of the biggest VTTs are arguably generic programming frameworks. Both Foundry VTT and pro level Roll20 allow for adding essentially unrestricted javascripted features to your VTT experience. In that regard the VTTs are a bit like for instance Unreal engine. They are arguably not a game themselves, but they can both be expanded to become videogames.

As such allowing "any use with VTTs", and then go on to try to define VTT is a framework that seem futile to use if one want to accept any of the currently accepted VTTs, while preventing use with any potential future video games. It would seem like a more natural approach would have to look at who actually uses the vtt along with srd content to create a "video game" experience.

To exemplify: If we for the sake of argument accept the laughable proposition that the display of a moving magic missile somehow is what differentiates a "table top" experience from a "video game" experience, the policy need to state clearly that if someone is using a provided VTT compatible compendium of SRD content with a VTT, along with a modification enabling spell animations, neither the VTT provider, the compendium provider or the provider of the spell animation package is in any way "at fault". For the current situation hence the only one wizards could reasonably target with C&D or other legal actions would be individual GMs.

However going after GMs like this seem like both a highly unpopular move, and practically not really enforceable. It would also make it impossible to go after the main target - someone making a full fledged video game "template" package, only requiring the insertion of monster and spell data of a "certain format" to run on the VTT as an actual proper video game.

In other words, in order to achieve all 3 of allow existing VTTs, prevent de facto SRD use in video games under the VTT policy, and being able to target anyone save the actual end user for infringement, some really creative framework of thinking I can't see for the time being needs to be applied to the policy.

My working hypotesis is that it just cannot be done.
 

mamba

Hero
Not if you are calling it D&D or using D&D IP, no. You would need to work out a separate license with them. It seems like they are trying to make sure that someone can't make, say a D&D video game without permission. That seems fair to me.
read the VTT policy, it is at the end of OGL1.2

Nothing you cannot do at your kitchen table. Video games are already excluded, they do realize that VTTs with sufficient automation and animation are not easily distinguishable from games, so they draw a line that cannot be crossed and is miles away from where today’s VTT already are.

If they had said a VTT is anything where the players control a char each and the DM / one player controls all NPCs and monsters, no creature is controlled by the computer is the line, I would be fine. Still excludes (most) games while including VTTs that are not 5 years old already.
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
The big problem with trying to separate between a VTT and a videogame is that at least 2 of the biggest VTTs are arguably generic programming frameworks. Both Foundry VTT and pro level Roll20 allow for adding essentially unrestricted javascripted features to your VTT experience. In that regard the VTTs are a bit like for instance Unreal engine. They are arguably not a game themselves, but they can both be expanded to become videogames.

As such allowing "any use with VTTs", and then go on to try to define VTT is a framework that seem futile to use if one want to accept any of the currently accepted VTTs, while preventing use with any potential future video games. It would seem like a more natural approach would have to look at who actually uses the vtt along with srd content to create a "video game" experience.

To exemplify: If we for the sake of argument accept the laughable proposition that the display of a moving magic missile somehow is what differentiates a "table top" experience from a "video game" experience, the policy need to state clearly that if someone is using a provided VTT compatible compendium of SRD content with a VTT, along with a modification enabling spell animations, neither the VTT provider, the compendium provider or the provider of the spell animation package is in any way "at fault". For the current situation hence the only one wizards could reasonably target with C&D or other legal actions would be individual GMs.

However going after GMs like this seem like both a highly unpopular move, and practically not really enforceable. It would also make it impossible to go after the main target - someone making a full fledged video game "template" package, only requiring the insertion of monster and spell data of a "certain format" to run on the VTT as an actual proper video game.

In other words, in order to achieve all 3 of allow existing VTTs, prevent de facto SRD use in video games under the VTT policy, and being able to target anyone save the actual end user for infringement, some really creative framework of thinking I can't see for the time being needs to be applied to the policy.

My working hypotesis is that it just cannot be done.
They don't need to go after GMs, the goal could simply be to open the door for launching Contributory Infringement attacks on the competition once wotc has their late to the game VTT finished enough for people to actually use.
 

Technological entertainment is still an obscure future, AI dm, 3D modeling, custom avatar, we don’t know for sure where it’s going.

They want to make sure that any new technological entertainment won’t use DnD without their approval and without sharing.

Will they miss some opportunities?
That an young genius create a new wonder and use DnD as universe because it have a unrestrictive OGL?

that may have been possible in the 90. but now those projects are bigger and bigger and engage massive investment.
Those crazy projects are spotted early these day, and soon big name like Microsoft, google rapidly sneak in.
I understand them wanting to protect their brand from being use into a new Chat gpt online DM powered by Microsoft.
 


It seems like they are trying to make sure that someone can't make, say a D&D video game without permission. That seems fair to me.
Doesn't read anything like that. It moreso reads like they're trying to kneecap existing VTTs where stuff you can't do at a table is baked into the system. Token vision (IE: what your character can see) is incredibly basic and built into the system. Don't let the fancy words around the magic missile example trick you, that's what they're targetting. They're targetting anything outside of the very basic "Slap a thing down on a board", just using an extreme example rather than a far more basic one that's going to be exactly as effected.

They're trying to force their system to be the one option to play the game on
 

Enrahim2

Explorer
They don't need to go after GMs, the goal could simply be to open the door for launching Contributory Infringement attacks on the competition once wotc has their late to the game VTT finished enough for people to actually use.
My post explicitely has as a premise that a srd based package with any existing well accepted VTT would be allowed. The point of the premise was that this would close the door to claim that either the vtt owner, or the srd pack creator could be targeted by contravutory infrignment. Accusing a provider of a generic animation pack for a generic VTT for Contributing to Contributory Infringnment though enabling someone to use content outside the policy also seem beyond absurd.

Hence who would you envision could be targeted by contributory infringement?

(As to wizards actual itentions it seem pretty clear that their construct indicate they do not care for the "all current VTTs" premise. However this was intended as a thread to explore how to  fix it, and I believe such a fix would require it to follow that premisse)
 

Enrahim2

Explorer
My post explicitely has as a premise that a srd based package with any existing well accepted VTT would be allowed. The point of the premise was that this would close the door to claim that either the vtt owner, or the srd pack creator could be targeted by contravutory infrignment. Accusing a provider of a generic animation pack for a generic VTT for Contributing to Contributory Infringnment though enabling someone to use content outside the policy also seem beyond absurd.

Hence who would you envision could be targeted by contributory infringement?

(As to wizards actual itentions it seem pretty clear that their construct indicate they do not care for the "all current VTTs" premise. However this was intended as a thread to explore how to  fix it, and I believe such a fix would require it to follow that premisse)
To make an anology: You cannot target the paper maker, the pencil maker or your licensed publisher for contrabutory infringement if someone writes an unauthoriszed copy of your work by hand while reading the authorized book.
 


mamba

Hero
post explicitely has as a premise that a srd based package with any existing well accepted VTT would be allowed. The point of the premise was that this would close the door to claim that either the vtt owner, or the srd pack creator could be targeted by contravutory infrignment.
and my point is we should not have to work around these restrictions in the first place
 

mamba

Hero
They specifically cite the blurred line between VTT animations and video games.
sure, and then they disallow basic VTT features used today in the VTT policy. They want you to believe it is about games when it is not limited to that.

If the goal were do not allow video games then there are far less restrictive ways to do so. This is about not having to compete on the quality of the VTT by hobbling all others
 

Steel_Wind

Legend
There is nothing preventing that. And Hasbro doesn't care. What they are doing is trying to prevent folks from making a D&D video game or 3dVTT without their permission. I think that is a reasonable goal, and agree that the language around this is not yet clear.
On what basis do you accede to Hasbro's corporate demand for "clarity" concerning this? Have you thought this through?

The OGL 1.0a extended to software for 23 years. WotC was well able, during the whole of that time, to license a number of Dungeons and Dragons games in the marketplace. I think we can agree that there is an abundance of evidence that in order to conduct commerce and license its Brand in the marketplace, no further clarity or retraction of the OGL 1.0a was necessary. The following is a partial list of D&D licensed computer/ video games published during the period of time when the OGL 1.0a's application to software - including computer games - was in place and beyond doubt:

Icewind Dale
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Neverwinter Nights
Icewind Dale II
Dungeons & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder
Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide
Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark
Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
Neverwinter Nights: Mobile
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II
Neverwinter Nights: Shadowguard
Neverwinter Nights: Witch's Wake
Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker
Neverwinter Nights: Pirates of the Sword Coast
Neverwinter Nights: Infinite Dungeons
Neverwinter Nights: Wyvern Crown of Cormyr
Neverwinter Nights 2
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer
Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate
Heroes of Neverwinter
Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Neverwinter MMO
Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition
Lords of Waterdeep
Sword Coast Legends
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Baldur's Gate
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
Warriors of Waterdeep
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
Baldur's Gate III


But WotC has a legitimate commercial interest in clawing back the applicability of the OGL 1.0a to software? Really? REALLY?

No, not really. I put it to you that you have not carefully thought through your position on this matter. This isn't about the reasonable commercial interest of WotC in dealing with licensees who produce computer and video games in the marketplace. This isn't about that at all. The above list tells you all you need to know about the evidentiary basis for making that claim.

No. This is about WotC EXCLUDING others from making a VTT to play 6e. This desire exists now solely because in the near future WotC wants to sell a VTT product via subscription. Because it is a subscription product, they want to grant themselves an exclusivity to that play space that has not existed at any time in the past, so as to play a game using remote software with other humans using RPG rules. They want this exclusivity because otherwise, people might not buy their VTT because of the strength of its features and benefits, but simply because there is no available alternative. That's acting like a monopolist when it comes to using the rules of RPG play online.

"You can have a VTT, but it can't be too good".

That's why we are really here about all of this OGL nonsense; there is no other commercial reason. The rest is "extra" and details.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
"You can have a VTT, but it can't be too good".
This. Current 2d VTTs and 3d token table top simulators are fine.

But when WOTC makes their 3D VTT that integrates characer/monster spells, manevers, and effects on the bard, no one else better make any VTT that can do the same. Because they will be sued and likely lose if its too good.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
To make an anology: You cannot target the paper maker, the pencil maker or your licensed publisher for contrabutory infringement if someone writes an unauthoriszed copy of your work by hand while reading the authorized book.
You can absolutely use lawyers to harass & make life difficult for the paper maker if you are big enough& they are small enough that the harassment is a burden. Furthermore wotc has given us every reason to assume that this sort of bad faith goal is their intent because they tried to terminate OGL1.0a as they tried & are still trying to force the old one to be invalidated with a replacement that includes numerous termination clauses despite having a statement on their website for years about how you could always use a prior version of the OGL & that content if wotc were to make a new version with changes you disagree with
 
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