OGL An IP lawyer just broke down the new OGL draft (v1.2)

MacMathan

Explorer

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Haplo781

Legend
Interesting take from an IP lawyer on the most recent ogl draft:


If I am understanding correctly it would appear:
WotC can force a new license whenever they want, kick you off the license whenever they want, and introduce royalties whenever they want.

Also only a fraction on the SRD content appears to be going to CC.
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Scribe

Legend


Iosue

Hero
The term "open license" has a legal definition.

Albeit, the term is still formative.

For Hasbro-WotC to even misrepresent a closed license to be as if an "open license" seems actually criminal.
What statute that defines “open license” would WotC be in criminal violation of?
 


It could be fraud, which could be a common law non-statutory offence.
Obviously I don't think it's criminal though. Plenty of reprehensible behaviour is not criminal.
If they're actually lying about their belief in being able to "deauthorize" the OGL 1.0(a), that seems to me to be misrepresentation. And if that lie leads to someone signing a contract, I believe that's a tort?

In a civil law jurisdiction, it might just be criminal fraud though, depending on how bad the contract is. You can't legally defraud me of my rights by willfully misrepresenting your own. It's up to 2 years in jail for doing that where I'm from.

This would usually be really hard to prove. But in the case of WotC right now, we have their own damn FAQs to go by:

Q: Can't Wizards of the Coast change the License in a way that I wouldn't like?

A: Yes, it could. However, the License already defines what will happen to content that has been previously distributed using an earlier version, in Section 9. As a result, even if Wizards made a change you disagreed with, you could continue to use an earlier, acceptable version at your option. In other words, there's no reason for Wizards to ever make a change that the community of people using the Open Gaming License would object to, because the community would just ignore the change anyway.

 
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S'mon

Legend
If they're actually lying about their belief in being able to "deauthorize" the OGL 1.0(a), that seems to me to be misrepresentation. And if that lie leads to someone signing a contract, I believe that's a tort?

Yes. In English Tort Law it's a Derry v Peek fraudulent misrepresentation. That just means someone who enters a contract as a result of the Misrep can sue for damages, as well as getting Rescission of the contract. With the Misrepresentation Act you can also sue for a wide range of not-actually-fraudulent Misrep these days, unless the Misrep was wholly innocent.

Fraud can also be a criminal offence in some cases, but not all fraudulent misrep is criminal. Misrepresenting the contents of a contractual document to my knowledge is typically not criminal. Misrepresenting the Law is not even Misrep, likely because the Law is inherently uncertain, but it can be Misrep if you create an impression you have grounds to believe something when you don't.

(I am not giving legal advice) :)
 


S'mon

Legend
In a civil law jurisdiction, it might just be criminal fraud though, depending on how bad the contract is. You can't legally defraud me of my rights by willfully misrepresenting your own. It's up to 2 years in jail for doing that where I'm from.

Interesting - I don't think that misrepresenting your rights per se has ever been held to be a criminal offence in English Law. If done for a larger purpose such as obtaining money by deception, it could form part of a criminal offence though.
 

Interesting - I don't think that misrepresenting your rights per se has ever been held to be a criminal offence in English Law. If done for a larger purpose such as obtaining money by deception, it could form part of a criminal offence though.
Same here in Norway, it would have to be for illicit gain and cause a loss or a risk of a loss. But that's pretty much what's going on right now. Or at least, that's how WotC's conduct currently feels like to me.
 

One thing is what Hasbro could do, and a totally different thing what they should do to recover the lost prestige by fault of this controversy. They could win in the trials, but the brand could be seriously damaged in the eyes of the players.

This needs more diplomacy and good sense.

The market of TTRPG is different, the players have got a different mind. After several games we have to learn to smarten up if we want the survival of our characters. We can't be tricked so easily because we have got some experience with mercyless DMs. We aren't sheep following blindy a shepher.

D&D needs the creativity by the 3PPs.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Interesting - I don't think that misrepresenting your rights per se has ever been held to be a criminal offence in English Law. If done for a larger purpose such as obtaining money by deception, it could form part of a criminal offence though.

Advancing a colorable Legal argument in a contract dispute is not a criminal act.

Not in the jurisdiction of “reality.” it‘s best to confine our analysis to that jurisdiction.
 

Advancing a colorable Legal argument in a contract dispute is not a criminal act.

Not in the jurisdiction of “reality.” it‘s best to confine our analysis to that jurisdiction.
But they've taken the opposite point of view when some people accepted the license in the first place. Indeed, those assurances may have induced those parties to accept the terms. So WotC is either lying now, or they were lying then.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The market of TTRPG is different, the players have got a different mind. After several games we have to learn to smarten up if we want the survival of our characters. We can't be tricked so easily because we have got some experience with mercyless DMs. We aren't sheep following blindy a shepher.

D&D needs the creativity by the 3PPs.

More accurately the 3PPs need to start making games of their own. We can't have 80% of the 3PPs producing D&D, D&Dclones, and D&D compatible stuff.

The TTRPG community is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind any other game community in this respect. And it has too much of the vagueness not present in video, mini, card, digital card, and war games.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
More accurately the 3PPs need to start making games of their own. We can't have 80% of the 3PPs producing D&D, D&Dclones, and D&D compatible stuff.

The TTRPG community is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind any other game community in this respect. And it has too much of the vagueness not present in video, mini, card, digital card, and war games.

I don’t think that’s quite fair. There are a lot (A LOT) of alternatives out there. And more every month.

There is no shortage of alternatives. The real question is why D&D and it’s clones and prior editions have a stranglehold on the market.
 

But they've taken the opposite point of view when some people accepted the license in the first place. Indeed, those assurances may have induced those parties to accept the terms. So WotC is either lying now, or they were lying then.
While it is true that representations by WotC may have rendered an otherwise revocable document irrevocable, it does not necessarily mean that they lied then or now. It can just mean that they heavily implied things then and are advancing a dubious legal argument now.

In any case, the bar to punish someone for "lying" when they are just zealously defending a colorable legal argument, even a highly dubious one, even one the proponent of does not believe in in their heart of hearts (if we could somehow know that), is extremely high, at least in a common law jurisdiction. In this case, short of it turning out that WotC lawyers are somehow hiding or destroying court records of adverse precedents, I don't know how any piece of evidence could end up with criminal charges against them based on the representations they've made so far.
 

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