Foundry VTT Responds to OGL 1.2 Draft

Steel_Wind

Legend
As far as I can see, the only way this ends up in court is if a big player continues to rely on OGL 1.0a
The reason WotC has gone forward with OGL 1.2 is all about interactive software. It is entirely about s. 1(b):

"(b) Works Covered. This license only applies to printed media and static electronic files (such as epubs or pdfs) you create for use in or as tabletop roleplaying games and supplements (“TTRPGs”) and in virtual tabletops in accordance with our Virtual Tabletop Policy (“VTTs”)."

If somebody does something in reliance upon the OGL 1.0a in relation to interactive software? Then the litigation risk is significant, imo and is certainly the kind of risk that a prudent business person should take into account when conducting their affairs.

Shy of that? Probably not. We can quibble about the nature and degree of that probability and how it affects somebody's risk vs reward equation, but that decision is ultimately up to whoever decides to rolls those dice and take that gamble. It's a business decision, not really a legal decision. And it's one that isn't up to you or me.

So if Brilliant Thief Games LLC decides to release a new archetype and related rules for PF1 based on the Alchemist class, say, and relies upon OGL 1.0a and the 3.5 SRD as authorizing that in whole or in part on DriveThru RPG, are they going to get sued?

No, probably not.

If Paizo were to do that instead, (and to be clear, they have no commercial interest in doing that) would they get sued?

No, very probably not.

But if Foundry Gaming, LLC, say, decides to release Foundry VTT 2.0 for 5e and purports to do so under the OGL 1.0a? Then it's probably time to unlimber the guns and get ready for war in court.
 
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Steel_Wind

Legend
Right now, the one prospect I see for a case being filed is the topic of this thread: Foundry.

If what we've been hearing is true, then the whole purpose of this exercise is to let Wizards crush rival VTTs and clear the way for their own offering. Foundry relies heavily on the OGL 1.0a, and has declared that they intend to continue doing so. If Wizards is going to sue anybody at all, that's who it will be.

(Corollary: We the community should show our public support for Foundry, including a willingness to crowdfund their defense, to make it harder for Wizards to intimidate them into backing down.)
Foundry Gaming LLC has already published their software product under the OGL 1.0a. That bullet has left the chamber. They can still sell that product going forward in reliance upon the OGL 1.0a, in all probability. In terms of risk vs reward? That's a decision Andrew Clayton (Foundry's owner) will make, but I'm confident he will decide to continue selling it and that it will support the 5e SRD released under the OGL 1.0a as it always has.

He might choose, however, to offer a new version of Foundry in the future which decouples support for 5e from the product itself (or maybe not, too). I am sure he will get legal advice from competent licensed counsel and arrange his company's affairs in a way that seems best to him.

However, if Foundry were to release a wholly new product under the OGL 1.0a? Different story.
 

Xyxox

Hero
Follow the money. There's no money there for WotC. The risk of WotC commencing litigation related to SRD 3.5 based material, realistically assessed, are very, (if not exceedingly) low, imo.
SRD 3.5 was the basis for Pathfinder, and there may be little money in it, but taking out a competitor would give them enough motivation to do it. Keeping any words, spell names, monster names, etc. in Pathfinder 2E will likely result in a C&D at a minimum. I think they are going to flex at Paizo, we will see what comes.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
SRD 3.5 was the basis for Pathfinder, and there may be little money in it, but taking out a competitor would give them enough motivation to do it. Keeping any words, spell names, monster names, etc. in Pathfinder 2E will likely result in a C&D at a minimum. I think they are going to flex at Paizo, we will see what comes.
Yeah, I think they care less about Paizo as TTRPG competition, as they focus on the digital fffuuuuuuutttttuuuurrrreeeee, and more about the many more proper nouns granted in the 3E SRDs vs the 5.1 one.
 
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Xyxox

Hero
Yeah, I think they care less about Paizo as TTRPG competition, as they are focus on the digital fffuuuuuuutttttuuuurrrreeeee, and more about the many more proper nouns granted in the 3E SRDs vs the 5.1 one.
I think they may be going after things like "magic missiles" and "owlbear". The reasoning is competitor VTTs can do wht they want with games other than D&D and Pathfinder already has a good relationship with Foundry.
 

Dausuul

Legend
SRD 3.5 was the basis for Pathfinder, and there may be little money in it, but taking out a competitor would give them enough motivation to do it. Keeping any words, spell names, monster names, etc. in Pathfinder 2E will likely result in a C&D at a minimum. I think they are going to flex at Paizo, we will see what comes.
They can't "take out" Pathfinder 2. For one thing, it's already in print and thus covered by their "existing products are safe" rule. But even if it weren't, all they could really do is force Paizo to rename a few things.

Against that, they have to set the huge PR hit from the lawsuit, and the very real risk that they lose and the OGL 1.0a springs back into full force. There just isn't anything in it for them.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
They can't "take out" Pathfinder 2. For one thing, it's already in print and thus covered by their "existing products are safe" rule. But even if it weren't, all they could really do is force Paizo to rename a few things.
I will say - I'm not sure about that "existing products are safe" rule. How legally binding is that? It feels way too handwavy and dependent on Wizards being a good actor - like could you depend on it in 6 years when the executive team has overturned twice?
 

Xyxox

Hero
I will say - I'm not sure about that "existing products are safe" rule. How legally binding is that? It feels way too handwavy and dependent on Wizards being a good actor - like could you depend on it in 6 years when the executive team has overturned twice?
Could you depend on it even actually being implemented in the first place? After all, it is stated in a statement that is not legally binding and WotC have already proved they are more than willing to renege on anything they have ever said like that the OGL would always be there if they do a new license we don't like.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Could you depend on it even actually being implemented in the first place? After all, it is stated in a statement that is not legally binding and WotC have already proved they are more than willing to renege on anything they have ever said like that the OGL would always be there if they do a new license we don't like.
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.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
We can quibble about the nature and degree of that probability and how it affects somebody's risk vs reward equation, but that decision is ultimately up to whoever decides to rolls those dice and take that gamble. It's a business decision, not really a legal decision. And it's one that isn't up to you or me.

So if Brilliant Thief Games LLC decides to release a new archetype and related rules for PF1 based on the Alchemist class, say, and relies upon OGL 1.0a and the 3.5 SRD as authorizing that in whole or in part on DriveThru RPG, are they going to get sued?

No, probably not.

If Paizo were to do that instead, (and to be clear, they have no commercial interest in doing that) would they get sued?

No, very probably not.
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.
 

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