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...

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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An entire industry will fall into the hands of a single judge. I hope that judge goes with the intentions of the original OGL.
I think, even if the judge doesn't, WotC will then need to argue specific copyright violations.

And there is absolutely no chance that goes 100% well for them.

A load of stuff that currently companies do treat as "belonging to WotC", and needing the OGL 1.0a is going to end up being ruled not WotC's copyright.

I suspect they would like to avoid that. The obvious out-of-court settlement would be to essentially concede that everything that was OGC under the OGL can be transferred to ORC or the like, assuming the originator wants that (and probably WotC would have to do it for their previous SRDs), as that would basically obviate the issue with deauthorizing the OGL.
 

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Exactly. This was blatant strong-arming. Turns out Hasbro/WotC grossly overplayed their hand.

I am not sorry for that. Nice that our all hands together were stronger. Now lets wait and see, what wotc will do now.

Of OGL 1.1 is open enough, people will sign and use it to create content. People are people and make mistakes and not always do the right thing, but learning from mistakes is an important part of life. Denying people (even people at the top of big corporations) that is not a good thing.
 
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DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
I still think the "under monetization" is a lack of official merch.
Oh, gosh, yes.

Where are my D&D toys? I was ever-so-slightly too young to catch them in the ’80s, and a new run was a hope I cleaved to as soon as Hasbro bought Wizards. I own every D&D KRE-O set I could find, but I couldn’t find hardly any, they were so poorly marketed. But it’s been par for the course. Where was Strixhaven when Harry Potter was at its peak? Why was the My Little Pony RPG outsourced? Whoever is/has been in charge of cross-marketing at Wizards has a lot of explaining to do.

It's not a videogame where if you're not in day 1 you're "behind" and you're going to be spammed with FOMO stuff. And there's not much upcoming to really induce FOMO either - some books I might have bought, but none I'll be mad not to have.
Worthless musing: I wonder if FOMO marketing has anything to do with why Volo’s GTM and Mordenkainen’s TOF are just gone, instead of relegated to the DM’s Guild.
 

Oh, gosh, yes.

Where are my D&D toys? I was ever-so-slightly too young to catch them in the ’80s, and a new run was a hope I cleaved to as soon as Hasbro bought Wizards. I own every D&D KRE-O set I could find, but I couldn’t find hardly any, they were so poorly marketed. But it’s been par for the course. Where was Strixhaven when Harry Potter was at its peak? Why was the My Little Pony RPG outsourced? Whoever is/has been in charge of cross-marketing at Wizards has a lot of explaining to do.


Worthless musing: I wonder if FOMO marketing has anything to do with why Volo’s GTM and Mordenkainen’s TOF are just gone, instead of relegated to the DM’s Guild.
I just figured it was because they were reprinted as MMotM
 

I don't like any things by WotC but I support the idea of allow space for 3PPs in D&D Beyond. I can understand they want to make money, but some times you can get more if you know how to offer the right reward.

I guess Hasbro wants D&DBeyond to be something like the streaming service for TTRPG.
 


whimsychris123

Adventurer
Imagine a world where WotC had offered to integrate and sell 3pp on D&DBeyond instead of this attempt to overthrow the whole industry. They would have had more people sign up for DDB subscriptions and could have received a commission for sales on their site. That would have furthered their goals of monetizing the brand and gatekeeping which 3pp received the most attention - all while creating goodwill with the community and other creators. Instead, they chose destruction. Sigh.
 

Worthless musing: I wonder if FOMO marketing has anything to do with why Volo’s GTM and Mordenkainen’s TOF are just gone, instead of relegated to the DM’s Guild.
Personally, I don't believe it.

I think if they wanted that, they'd have hyped the hell out of it with like all caps "LAST CHANCE TO OWN!!!" banners and stuff.

On the contrary, they kept pretty much on the downlow, because the main reason Volo's was being retired was that it's an embarrassment. Specifically some elements of the lore are... not great. Like 1E not great. Maybe worse than 1E with Orcs. It was a bloody weird decision to go that way lore-wise at the time, and I think part of the "apology edition" deal that went too far.

Likewise I don't think they'll try FOMO on the 5E PHB/DMG/MM though I think they will also remove them from sale. They'll just say when they're going, then take them away.
 

Tazawa

Adventurer
Side note: That's 15% royalties on the use of Wizards of the Coast's IP. That would likely be in addition to a distributor's cut for being on D&D Beyond. So you're paying 15% to use the OGL and (based on DTR, Steam, etc.'s rates) likely another 25-35%.

Not the valuable portion of WotC’s IP. Not the Forgotten Realms, etc. that you can access through DMs Guild for 50% royalties.

Only the 5.1 SRD content you currently can use for 0% royalties.

And you still can’t claim compatibility with D&D or their latest release. And you still might need to pay fees to sell through D&D Beyond.

Also doesn’t say if your content could be integrated into the D&D Beyond rules content. D&D Beyond customers don’t buy unless they can add it to their character with a click. Likely that type of integration would require extra fees and giving up additional rights.

Not a good deal at all.
 

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