OGL Foundry VTT Responds to OGL 1.2 Draft

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
I'm still curious about that, simply because Paizo's decision to try and strip the OGL from their Starfinder and Pathfinder 2E lines strikes me as being more risky than staying with the OGL v1.0a. I'm no lawyer, but given how the whole "you can't copyright game mechanics, just expressions" is untested with regards to what constitutes an expression in the context of a tabletop RPG, and that there are at this point thousands of pages of Starfinder and Pathfinder 2E material, you'd think that Paizo would be leaving themselves open to a lawsuit for potential copyright infringement if they go that way (especially if they strip the OGL out of reprints of existing books in those product lines).

Now, they also leave themselves open to such a suit if they stick with the OGL, presuming that WotC tries to say that it's "revoked/de-authorized" and that Paizo is thusly infringing on copyright anyway. But my lay read of the landscape says that Paizo is more likely to prevail if they argue that the OGL v1.0a is still valid than if they try to claim that there are no copyright infringements anywhere in Starfinder or Pathfinder 2E.

Now, that's a slight digression from what you were saying, so I'll try to bring it back around; given that Paizo is WotC's largest direct competitor in the tabletop RPG business (VTTs notwithstanding, since I agree that's what this whole fiasco is really about), I have to wonder just how long WotC will be silent and let what they likely see as potential copyright infringement on Paizo's part fly.
Both options present danger, though I agree with Paizo's choice here. WOTC is left with two choices, ignore the possible copyright references in Starfinder, say, or sue them over it.

If they sue and lose and a court rules that broadly Paizo is good to go and that you can't copyright mechanics in the way WOTC would seek definitely, well then that's the whole thing crumbled to dust, isn't it?

If a court finds in a clear-cut way that WOTC can't claim copyright to mechanics like how they want then that also really frees up competitor VTTs to integrate 5e again.

Since WOTC seems to not really care about traditional TTRPG monetization (i.e. selling books as the primary driver of revenue), which is really Paizo's sole focus, and the downside is so large, I would probably make the same educated guess Paizo is here.
 

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
If they sue and lose and a court rules that broadly Paizo is good to go and that you can't copyright mechanics in the way WOTC would seek definitely, well then that's the whole thing crumbled to dust, isn't it?

If a court finds in a clear-cut way that WOTC can't claim copyright to mechanics like how they want then that also really frees up competitor VTTs to integrate 5e again.
The thing is, I don't think WotC wants to copyright game mechanics per se, and I don't think that's the point that they'd try to argue if it came down to a lawsuit with Paizo. Rather, they'd comb through all of their non-OGL Starfinder and Pathfinder 2E books to cite instances of (alleged) copyright violations, i.e. things that aren't mechanics, but expressions. And with enough pages of content to go through, I have absolutely no doubt that they'd find some, and that a judge would agree.

But if Paizo was still publishing under the OGL v1.0a, that wouldn't matter, because the license would shield them entirely if a judge found that it was not/couldn't be revoked.
 

Xyxox

Hero
The thing is, I don't think WotC wants to copyright game mechanics per se, and I don't think that's the point that they'd try to argue if it came down to a lawsuit with Paizo. Rather, they'd comb through all of their non-OGL Starfinder and Pathfinder 2E books to cite instances of (alleged) copyright violations, i.e. things that aren't mechanics, but expressions. And with enough pages of content to go through, I have absolutely no doubt that they'd find some, and that a judge would agree.

But if Paizo was still publishing under the OGL v1.0a, that wouldn't matter, because the license would shield them entirely if a judge found that it was not/couldn't be revoked.
I think Paizo would stand a better chance in front of a jury than a judge in this case. Easier to get the point of "perpetual" across to a jury and the fact that it has stood for 20+ years to a jury than a judge. WotC, of course, would want no jury.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
The thing is, I don't think WotC wants to copyright game mechanics per se, and I don't think that's the point that they'd try to argue if it came down to a lawsuit with Paizo. Rather, they'd comb through all of their non-OGL Starfinder and Pathfinder 2E books to cite instances of (alleged) copyright violations, i.e. things that aren't mechanics, but expressions. And with enough pages of content to go through, I have absolutely no doubt that they'd find some, and that a judge would agree.

But if Paizo was still publishing under the OGL v1.0a, that wouldn't matter, because the license would shield them entirely if a judge found that it was not/couldn't be revoked.
I mean, it's certainly possible that WOTC would get a favorable ruling. But it's not up to them. Why take that risk if the opportunity cost to let Paizo do its thing is basically zero (in a raw financial sense, Paizo is not a real competitor to D&D) and the risk to lose in court is greater than that?

And yeah, it would depend on just what exactly WOTC's lawsuit would be over, but anything that goes against them I would assume buttresses the confidence of non-WOTC VTTs to try and get what they can get. Which, obviously, would also defeat the main purpose of this whole thing too.
 
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Jer

Legend
Supporter
Not just on the OGL either. See the Dragonlance and Gale Force Nine kerfuffle were they just decided to do nothing as a "novel" way to try and get out of a contract they didn't like.
Yeah - there are way too many examples of present day Wizards of the Coast being bad about contracts for me to really trust them.

I wish that they wouldn't have started making these noises, but I am glad that the gaming world is reacting rapidly to it and coming up with alternative open licensing to use. Because this was going to happen eventually given the company Wizards has become.
 

ThorinTeague

Explorer
That seems to be the case. At this point I expect it's only a matter of time before we get to the court case which decides whether or not the OGL v1.0a is revocable or not.
Even the legal victory WoTC so desperately hopes to win, dubious though it may be, would still be an entirely pyhhric one at this point. WoTC don't seem to have much open community left (and dwindling fast) with whom to argue about new licensing terms. A legal failure on this is starting to look equally meaningless. I'm pretty confident in assuming that what the people who wrote OGL1.0a say about the legality of "deauthorization" is correct--but that might not end up mattering.
 

ThorinTeague

Explorer
I mean, it's certainly possible that WOTC would get a favorable ruling. But it's not up to them. Why take that risk if the opportunity cost to let Paizo do its thing is basically zero (in a raw financial sense, Paizo is not a real competitor to D&D) and the risk to lose in court is greater than that?

But that's exactly what they appear to be doing--squashing these "competitors" that are not really competitors at all. Nobody said it made sense, we can only go by what we've seen WoTC doing.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
But that's exactly what they appear to be doing--squashing these "competitors" that are not really competitors at all. Nobody said it made sense, we can only go by what we've seen WoTC doing.
Sure, but there is a difference to between the target or purpose of an action and the fallout from it. In this case, I don't think WOTC is doing this because of Paizo or any real competition in the TTRPG space. They are revoking the OGL so they can build a walled garden around their VTT and claw back some IP they previously granted in the older SRDs. The fact that, it's affecting their "competition" in the dead tree business side of things is, in their eyes, at best incidental.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Even the legal victory WoTC so desperately hopes to win, dubious though it may be, would still be an entirely pyhhric one at this point. WoTC don't seem to have much open community left (and dwindling fast) with whom to argue about new licensing terms. A legal failure on this is starting to look equally meaningless. I'm pretty confident in assuming that what the people who wrote OGL1.0a say about the legality of "deauthorization" is correct--but that might not end up mattering.
Well, that depends on whom we're talking about. WotC might not care if a judge or jury rules the OGL v1.0a truly is irrevocable (or "un-deauthorize-able"), but I suspect that would make a lot of publishers feel better about producing content under it, particularly if they publish material for games based off of the 3.5 SRD, which isn't something I see WotC releasing under the ORC License or moving to Creative Commons (at least, not in its entirety).
 
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ThorinTeague

Explorer
Sure, but there is a difference to between the target or purpose of an action and the fallout from it. In this case, I don't think WOTC is doing this because of Paizo or any real competition in the TTRPG space. They are revoking the OGL so they can build a walled garden around their VTT and claw back some IP they previously granted in the older SRDs. The fact that, it's affecting their "competition" in the dead tree business side of things is, in their eyes, at best incidental.
Don't forget the only IP they're allowing is under the EXTREMELY expensive terms available ONLY on dmsguild[onebookshelf] and costs creators 50% of their revenue as it is now. The newer OGL they're proposing actually tones that back--that is, until they change it next.

But if you just super duper have to write an adventure with Drizzt and Minsc gallavanting all over the sword coast... you can... but it must be a passion project I guess. ;) I mean I wouldn't... :p

So I mean... just taking away that offer (which wasn't even part of OGL1.0a anyway--OGL1.0a does not offer access to any IP)--well it might be met with some sadness and some fist shaking, but I think within 48 hours everyone would have come to terms with the fact that it's their right and to be glad to have enjoyed it while it lasted.

Like, in an alternate universe somewhere, where this was all they did for January 2023, with plans to roll out small bits slowly and deliberately with some actual DIALOGUE with interested parties.... Maybe.
 

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