It seems likely that it's "accidental," not accidental.
At most, yeah. I'd say it was calculated from the top. That is, they looked at the data, saw a grim future in those numbers, and said, "Okay, we absolutely cannot half-way this, and we cannot ask the community to wait for us to comb through anything making sure we don't give up more than we want to. We have to just make the big gesture and eat whatever crow we have to eat to do it."
Like even I would be cynical about this whole thing if they'd tried to mitigate the L they were taking by picking and choosing what parts of the SRD to put into CC. At the very least, I wouldn't be ready to reinstate my DDB sub right away, I wouldn't feel confident that they aren't going to try to slip something evil into the sauce in the next couple years.
Seriously, though, I doubt this was a mistake. WotC has teams of people checking this stuff. I think they know they really stepped in it and this is kind of an olive branch.
I'm not giving them that... This is pretty clearly a mistake.
It (IMO) pretty clearly isn't, actually.
The 5.1 SRD was designed to be used with the OGL, which specified that named entities and other stuff was part of Wizards' IP. But the CCBY4 did not.
It looks like they just copy-pasted everything without considering it in their hurry to make things "Right".
It...doesn't at all look like that. The only reason to think that is cynicism, IMO.
They intentionally gave up more than the status quo, without any attempt to mitigate the gesture and risk weakening it.
Like, to me, it is 100% absolutely crystal clear that they did that exactly on purpose. They aren't...okay, they aren't the kind of idiot that doesn't know what's in the document they're referencing. I can't imagine any actual reasoning that leads to "oops they messed up someone is gonna get fired", in this case.
Like...imagine the response if they had excluded a bunch of stuff, basically anything with a name, rather than "literally the 5.1 SRD, into CC. In whole." Do you think it would be nearly as positive? Don't you think the calls of "this is a trick somehow" would be even more common and louder?
No, to do what they decided to do, it had to be a very simple, straightforward, unmitigated, no BS, gesture of good faith. They absolutely knew that releasing the entire SRD would include some stuff they wish they could keep in their pocket. It was a calculated choice to jumpstart the "healing" process of fixing their reputation and relationships.
To paraphrase the penny arcade statement, they were in dangerous waters, and they turned around and walked back out. And then they went past that, to prove that they meant it.
This does not matter, the actual creature descriptions and stat blocks don't appear just the names. And the names don't do anything on their own.
You can do plenty with the names. Especially since stat blocks almost certainly can't be copyrighted, anyway.
Well, they do allow you to do a third party product that says "there are three red slaadi in this room (MM pg 274)," which is the most important part. The ability to reprint stats is a "nice to have," not a "must have." And it allows third party folks to stat up purple slaadi or what have you.
Yep, and your mindflayer statblock just needs to not reference Illithid, or other stuff that isn't CC, but can otherwise pretty much just duplicate the stat-block.
Beholders, Mind Flayers, and Slaad are specifically referenced as Aberrations and Mind Flayers having psychic powers.
So I could make Slaad and Beholders aberrations of my own description. And Mind Flayers into psychic aberrations. And WotC couldn't sue over it because it's in the Creative Commons.
Strahd von Zarovich is specifically referenced as a Vampire. Can't use Barovia but...
And all the Deities listed who are specifically gods of specific domains? That, too...
I'm a little bummed that the Raven Queen didn't happen to be referenced in the document, but yeah it's cool that the Life deities are now CC, including their connection to the ideas of the life domain.