Gizmodo Reveals OGL v1.1's 'Term Sheet' Carrots For Selected Publishers

In December, WotC arranged meetings under NDA with a number of prominent third party 5E OGL creators in order to persuade them to sign up to the new Open Game License v1.1. before it was revealed to the world.

Part of this approach included 'Term Sheets'. According to Gizmodo, which has sources at Wizards of the Coast, these term sheets offered:
  • A 15% instead of 25% royalty
  • Marketing on D&D Beyond (but not at times when WotC had its own releases)
It's not clear whether any publishers actually signed the contract at the time.

WotC has since walked back some of the terms in the upcoming OGL v1.1, but the OGL v1.0a still remains slated for 'de-authorization'.

According to an anonymous source who was in the room, in late 2022 Wizards of the Coast gave a presentation to a group of about 20 third-party creators that outlined the new OGL 1.1. These creators were also offered deals that would supersede the publicly available OGL 1.1; Gizmodo has received a copy of that document, called a “Term Sheet,” that would be used to outline specific custom contracts within the OGL.

These “sweetheart” deals would entitle signatories to lower royalty payments—15 percent instead of 25 percent on excess revenue over $750,000, as stated in the OGL 1.1—and a commitment from Wizards of the Coast to market these third-party products on various D&D Beyond channels and platforms, except during “blackout periods” around WotC’s own releases.

It was expected that third parties would sign these Term Sheets. Noah Downs, a lawyer in the table-top RPG space who was consulted on the conditions of one of these contracts, stated that even though the sheets included language suggesting negotiation was possible, he got the impression there wasn’t much room for change.

 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
It is plain to see that any walkbacks do not represent a change of heart, but a change of strategy; instead of one big change to the OGL they now plan to do incremental changes once "fans have forgotten" and in the meanwhile they will tell all kinds of lies like the one trick pony they are.

The only real change is that as we speak they are plotting their revenge "against those meddling kids and their stupid dog"
It's been even more obvious than that if you look at history. OGL1.1 was the second try at this kind of thing after a 8-9ish year cooling off pause.
video jumps to relevant timestamp
 

Matt Thomason

Adventurer
It is already there, if we allow them to deauthorize 1.0a, then they can do the same to 1.1, 2.0, 3.11, etc. and insert whatever they want ala "what is mine is mine and what is yours is now mine".

Yes, if they can pull the 1.0a authorization and force us to update to a later one. Everything currently hinges on that being disputed. The fact it is even a question is bad enough.

But, agreement to 1.1 expressly and definitively requires you, if you accept it, to visit their website and constantly update to new versions of the license. No "if" any longer, you either keep moving with new versions or you stop using it. The "No, I only agreed to this version and it lasts forever and you cannot take it away" defence is even possible, as 1.1 introduces the concept of a rolling self-updating license mechanism that could potentially allow them to push you out any time they feel like it.
 

The VERY best time to be promoted is when you have a product that synergizes with a new D&D release! WTH?!

See the Dragonlance release as a prime example with releases on DMSGuild.

Do they not realize?

Wait I think maybe they do and now I think I know what they think of those, at least the suites.
Yup.

It's sad for them because they'd gone for no royalties, just a cut of the sales revenue (say 30%, so better than DM's Guild), for people who signed this (and they've now been "negotiated down" by us to no royalties lol), and just put them on the DDB, I suspect a number of 3PPs would have been pretty into this. Especially ones who currently sell largely through DM's Guild.

Unfortunately the sheer crappiness of the other 1.1 terms might still have scared people off. They really went far too hard and loud. The sheer stupidity of the 25% threat when it's clear it didn't matter all, because they've gone straight to 0% is staggering.
 

Reynard

Legend
I would say, most publishers would have gotten about 85% more of my money, had they accepted the deal, as acces through dndbeyond would be a major boon...
I hope they can still get the carrot under less of a stick...
It does not say that these things would be available on DDB, just "and a commitment from Wizards of the Coast to market these third-party products on various D&D Beyond channels and platforms" (from the article).
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It does not say that these things would be available on DDB, just "and a commitment from Wizards of the Coast to market these third-party products on various D&D Beyond channels and platforms" (from the article).
I'\d be very uncomfortable operating under a licensing regime where I knew WotC was giving a significant advantage over me to my direct competitors.
 




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