Frylock on the ‘Ineffectual OGL’

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Well I say experienced from a strictly "time in practice" perspective. I checked, and he seems to have been practicing from at least 2001.

His actual arguments do seem extremely sloppy, well that or disingenuous, which is worse.
He did claim he wrote the articles for 2 different audiences. Translating some of the legalese into laymen terms may have been lost in that attempt
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The exact boundaries between Trademarks, Copyrights and Fair Use are kinda muddled when it comes to such cases....
I am pretty sure that Trademark doesn't enter into this, as the material in question hasn't been registered as trademark. The only issue at hand is between copyright and fair use.

And, if the OGL is nullified, the issue will be all those folks who used the material for commercial purposes (to sell books), which vastly limits the applicability of fair use.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The argument is you can't copyright a single word, regardless of how unique or original it might be.
That argument will fail when you use the word... and the stat block.. and the physical description...

Though, the point I'm making is not about the Product Identity terms like mind flayer or beholder. If the OGL is taken away, it isn't just "a word". It is now every word used as a term in the game rules.

You cannot copyright the idea of having a numerical value track the health of a fictional character. But "Hit Points" is a specific way to speak of that idea - a particular expression. When stacked with every other game rules term, becomes far more than use of "a word". It becomes a pattern of use of many words - aka copyright infringement.
 

Dausuul

Legend
And, if the OGL is nullified, the issue will be all those folks who used the material for commercial purposes (to sell books), which vastly limits the applicability of fair use.
How would that work exactly? The whole basis of Frylock's argument is that the OGL is void because it provides nothing of value to licensees. I don't see how you could say a) the OGL provides no benefit to licensees and is therefore void and b) because the OGL is void, licensees are now liable for things the OGL protected them from.

In any case, Wizards created the OGL, and recommitted to it with 5E, and seems to be happy with it. If the courts somehow did find that it was defective and everyone who's used it is now vulnerable to a copyright infringement suit, it's still up to Wizards to file that suit. The blowback would be massive and everything they set out to do with the OGL would be trashed. Why wouldn't they just write up a new OGL without the defects instead?
 
So, his very first paragraphs has an astounding error:



No, the OGL and SRD tell the public what material was protected under normal copyright, and what was usable under the OGL,which does have some restrictions. It says so, right on WotC's SRD page. There is no public domain involved at all.

This phenomenally large error indicates to me... that we really shouldn't be paying attention to this person. Why are we reading what this guy writes?
Using one error to discount an entire argument without reading the rest of the argument isn't intellectually sound.
 

smetzger

Explorer
eh, his arguments are not new. They were all around when WOTC released 3.0.
Only difference is that it seems he is willing to challenge WOTC on it.

The OGL basically boils down to a gentlemen's agreement that WOTC won't sue you if you abide by these rules.

There has always been the option of not using the OGL and risk getting sued. He is presenting himself as fighting the good fight. Whatever... He will most likely be sued and waste tons of his time in court. If he wins or loses I don't see any great effect on the gaming community.
 
Using one error to discount an entire argument without reading the rest of the argument isn't intellectually sound.
Sure it is. You read a sample to see if the whole document is worth reading. If the sample contains errors it's reasonable to assume the rest of the document is flawed.

But when it comes to a legal argument, the whole thing is like a pyramid. It is built up on a series of base arguments. And if even one of the arguments at the base of the pyramid is flawed the whole structure collapses.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
... (though it may occasionally be patentable, eg WoTC's 'card tapping' patent)
Didn't that patent get overturned later? I know there was a challenge against it, and somehow I remember the challenge succeeding...
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And, if the OGL is nullified, the issue will be all those folks who used the material for commercial purposes (to sell books), which vastly limits the applicability of fair use.
Unless what Frylock's after (and I rather suspect he is) is a ruling that boils down to saying WotC have, by issuing those license and freedoms, in effect waived their copyright entirely; meaning that tossing the OGL puts the whole lot into the public domain.

Somehow I doubt this is gonna happen...but I've still got lots of popcorn...
 

S'mon

Legend
But "Hit Points" is a specific way to speak of that idea - a particular expression. When stacked with every other game rules term, becomes far more than use of "a word". It becomes a pattern of use of many words - aka copyright infringement.
I am pretty sure no court would hold the words "hit points" to be copyright protected. Same for "Armour Class" "To Hit Bonus" etc.

But like I said, if you take/copy an actual formatted stat block, that definitely looks like potential copyright infringement to me.
 

S'mon

Legend
Didn't that patent get overturned later? I know there was a challenge against it, and somehow I remember the challenge succeeding...
No idea - I just remember the patent was granted by the USPTO. Most patents don't withstand a court challenge, at least here in UK.
 

S'mon

Legend
eh, his arguments are not new. They were all around when WOTC released 3.0.
Only difference is that it seems he is willing to challenge WOTC on it.

The OGL basically boils down to a gentlemen's agreement that WOTC won't sue you if you abide by these rules.

There has always been the option of not using the OGL and risk getting sued. He is presenting himself as fighting the good fight. Whatever... He will most likely be sued and waste tons of his time in court. If he wins or loses I don't see any great effect on the gaming community.
Well the 'old argument' is that you don't need the OGL to create D&D-compatible material. Plenty of publishers have published such material and not been sued. You just need to know what you're doing. But the OGL offers a safe harbour, especially with its rectification clause, so there are good reasons to use it too.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Using one error to discount an entire argument without reading the rest of the argument isn't intellectually sound.
A person states that they are a doctor; as they are describing how a retrovirus works, they mention that certain things can upset the bodily humors.

A person states that they are a mechanic, and say that the first thing you should check when looking at your 2016 car is the carburetor.

...at a certain point, you begin to get skeptical that the person in question has the claimed full amount of expertise in the subject matter.
 
A person states that they are a doctor; as they are describing how a retrovirus works, they mention that certain things can upset the bodily humors.

A person states that they are a mechanic, and say that the first thing you should check when looking at your 2016 car is the carburetor.

...at a certain point, you begin to get skeptical that the person in question has the claimed full amount of expertise in the subject matter.
Exaggeration, false equivalency, and hyperbole are no more intellectually sound then what I quoted.
 
Sure it is. You read a sample to see if the whole document is worth reading. If the sample contains errors it's reasonable to assume the rest of the document is flawed.

But when it comes to a legal argument, the whole thing is like a pyramid. It is built up on a series of base arguments. And if even one of the arguments at the base of the pyramid is flawed the whole structure collapses.
But I can accept this argument as me being wrong here.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Exaggeration, false equivalency, and hyperbole are no more intellectually sound then what I quoted.
Aw... did you just take Philosophy 101? Or did you learn that all by yourself on the internet? What, couldn't you bring yourself to at least use ad verecunidam? Too Latin?

But here's the thing; I'm guessing you are not well-versed in the law, right? Are you able to verify, for yourself, the various claims made by Frylock when he says (for example) that there is all this "precedent" that supports him? Did you read the (very few) cases that he refers to? Do you understand the jargon that he uses? Do you question why he is (mis)using Supreme Court precedent instead of using precedent that is factually analogous? Because there's a lot of cases out there!

If not, why are you accepting his argument? If you can't understand it on your own, then you are implicitly doing so because you are accepting his authority and expertise; on the other hand, if people notice that there are things that aren't quite right, and reject his authority, then the argument quickly falls apart.

To give you a simple, easy-to-understand analogy in the legal profession, if someone has a citation in a brief to a case and says that the case stands for X proposition, but I look at the case and it stands for Y, that person's credibility is shot as far as I am concerned; or, for that matter, if a person tries to use a case that has been withdrawn due to legal error (but remains on google scholar) - I've seen that happen as well. It's easy to assert something is the case; but you have to be able to back it up.

But sure, why don't you explain to us, like we are extremely dumb golden retrievers, the brilliant logical argument made by Frylock in his most recent post. You can start by explaining the relevance of his most recent OGL post to a possible lawsuit brought by WoTC for his infringement.

I'll wait!
 
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Aw... did you just take Philosophy 101? Or did you learn that all by yourself on the internet? What, couldn't you bring yourself to at least use ad verecunidam? Too Latin?

But here's the thing; I'm guessing you are not well-versed in the law, right? Are you able to verify, for yourself, the various claims made by Frylock when he says (for example) that there is all this "precedent" that supports him? Did you read the (very few) cases that he refers to? Do you understand the jargon that he uses? Do you question why he is (mis)using Supreme Court precedent instead of using precedent that is factually analogous? Because there's a lot of cases out there!

If not, why are you accepting his argument? If you can't understand it on your own, then you are implicitly doing so because you are accepting his authority and expertise; on the other hand, if people notice that there are things that aren't quite right, and reject his authority, then the argument quickly falls apart.

To give you a simple, easy-to-understand analogy in the legal profession, if someone has a citation in a brief to a case and says that the case stands for X proposition, but I look at the case and it stands for Y, that person's credibility is shot as far as I am concerned; or, for that matter, if a person tries to use a case that has been withdrawn due to legal error (but remains on google scholar) - I've seen that happen as well. It's easy to assert something is the case; but you have to be able to back it up.

But sure, why don't you explain to us, like we are extremely dumb golden retrievers, the brilliant logical argument made by Frylock in his most recent post. You can start by explaining the relevance of his most recent OGL post to a possible lawsuit brought by WoTC for his infringement.

I'll wait!
I'm not going to respond to this post other than to say you're passive aggressiveness, flame, and overall meanness is completely unwarranted in this conversation. I know you like to go around the forum posting like this, but you really need to stop throwing personal attacks at people. Its needless in an otherwise civil conversation.

EDIT: Worth noting I already admitted I was wrong to another poster, who replied to me in a much more friendly, less condescending tone. Really, its like you were just looking for a chance to attack someone and couldn't help yourself from doing it. AND I'll even clarify I meant no insult by saying something was intellectually unsound, as I was talking about the post, not the person behind it.
 
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Yawn

Your appeal to pathos shall go unrecognized, as I do not think that the argumentum ad temperantiam is justified, and the tone policing and appeal to motive is a transparent attempt to poison the well.

But hey, whatever gets you through the night.
Its crazy that you can say whatever you want on this forum, and literally never get punished for it. Its also crazy how someone as smart as you is such an unbelievable asshole, literally incapable of any kind of adult communication, since all you can do is insult people, speak down to them, and try to put yourself into a superior position.

But hey, whatever gets you through the night.
 

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