GSL questions for Scott Rouse and Mike Lescault


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Belen

Hero
Wulf Ratbane said:
I'll add a question:

Why is the GSL under NDA?

1: (The Good)- It contains 4e information that WOTC does not want to release.

2: (The Bad)- It contains language that could negatively impact sales of 4e before launch.

I think that option 2 is the more likely reason. I'll bet that WOTC thinks that if they can get people to buy it before the negative information is released, then they will be less likely to drop the game because of how the GSL turned out.

Honestly, I see no reason that the license/contract would be under NDA except that the fanbase will not be happy with the language/rules of the GSL.
 

Voadam

Legend
Belen said:
1: (The Good)- It contains 4e information that WOTC does not want to release.

2: (The Bad)- It contains language that could negatively impact sales of 4e before launch.

I think that option 2 is the more likely reason. I'll bet that WOTC thinks that if they can get people to buy it before the negative information is released, then they will be less likely to drop the game because of how the GSL turned out.

Honestly, I see no reason that the license/contract would be under NDA except that the fanbase will not be happy with the language/rules of the GSL.

Another possibility

3: The GSL and rules were originally supposed to be sent to 3rd party publishers long ago so they could get used to the rules and develop material to supplement the release of 4e. WotC did not want the rules allowed out before their own public unveiling such as in DDX or the actual relase of 4e books. Even though the passing of DDX may have obviated the rationale for the NDA, institutional inertia at the corporate level may keep it in there.
 

Admiral Caine

First Post
Gentlefolk,

I just wanted to drop a note to let you know that WOTC is aware of the thread.

If you followed the link to the original thread (link was in the first post of this thread), you will know that Mike Lescault promised to try and get some answers. He has reaffirmed that promise. He is, however, giving EN World reporter Dangergirl the opportunity to present this information. Which if you followed the original thread is pretty reasonable, my original comments on the GSL came from her video interview at DnDXP. If she's not interested, he'll follow through anyway.

So stay tuned. :cool:
 

Admiral Caine

First Post
Belen said:
1: (The Good)- It contains 4e information that WOTC does not want to release.

2: (The Bad)- It contains language that could negatively impact sales of 4e before launch.

I think that option 2 is the more likely reason. I'll bet that WOTC thinks that if they can get people to buy it before the negative information is released, then they will be less likely to drop the game because of how the GSL turned out.

Honestly, I see no reason that the license/contract would be under NDA except that the fanbase will not be happy with the language/rules of the GSL.

I am inclined to agree with your reasoning... But....

Voadam said:
Another possibility

3: The GSL and rules were originally supposed to be sent to 3rd party publishers long ago so they could get used to the rules and develop material to supplement the release of 4e. WotC did not want the rules allowed out before their own public unveiling such as in DDX or the actual relase of 4e books. Even though the passing of DDX may have obviated the rationale for the NDA, institutional inertia at the corporate level may keep it in there.

This really is a pretty fair point too. I can see this happening. I think scenario #2 (above) is more likely, but this is not outside the realm of possibility.

I'm curious about the $5000.00 deal for an advance look at the rules. Obviously the value of that has shrunk as the means to produce a quality product in time for August Gencon has been diminished (though not eliminated). Will they extend the window of exclusivity for the early adopters?
 

Admiral Caine

First Post
Orcus said:
I am 100% convinced that WotC believes Third Party support is a good idea and that they are dedicated to making it happen for all of us--meaning the publishers and the gamers. It is clear that third party support gave more choice to the gamers and expanded options and that we really made some great stuff. I've talked to these people. I know they are dedicated to helping us support them. They read these boards. They see the people who say "I wasnt going to consider 4E but now that [trusted publisher] is in, I am going to try it!" They saw the impact we had on bringing people to 3E.

WotC are the good guys.

Dont blame them if they are just a little busy getting their flagship product to press by the various deadlines.

Like it or not, third party publishing is a secondary goal for them, not a primary one. And that makes sense. It is more important for them to use their man-(and woman-)hours to hitting the 4E release than it is to finalize the GSL. That is just a business reality. And I am OK with that. But that doesnt mean we cant keep asking questions. I just want to encourage everyone to be supportive of WotC and not overly-critical. I have dealt with Scott and Linae and they are great and they want us to have this stuff and they dont like that there has been a slowdown. So ask all the questions you want, but please dont throw grenades. :)

I agree, and this is not intended to rake anybody over the coals. Though, with respect to Dangergirl, it did start heated. Hopefully we're past that.

I fully understand that these questions might suck if you're on the hot seat. I regret to admit, I wasn't trying to make it easy. But I'm not trying to get an apology either, just the best straight answers I can get. So even a limited answer is better than silence.

To quote Chris Matthews, political pundit of MSBC, "Let's play Hardball!" ;)

Part of the issue is that the fan base is fairly educated and aware of the process. Even if the GSL is under an NDA, the receipt of the NDA is not. That is, to the best of my knowledge it's perfectly okay to say, "We have received the GSL and we can not discuss it." One does not have to keep receipt of the document a secret in of itself.

So every day anybody who cares enough to ask someone willing to answer, can find out that it hasn't been sent yet. That is contributing to this issue being under a microscope now that the public unveiling of the rules has taken place. :D

There is something of a spirit to the questions as well as the questions themselves. It speaks to the feeling that the GSL is not "Grown up talk that takes place between WOTC and the 3rd Parties." The GSL is a feature of the product, I maintain, and it's a consideration for the Consumer when he/she goes to buy the game.

Granted, maybe not all fans see it that way, but I do. The product is intended to be Utilitarian in nature. The ability to have 3rd Party support, and under what terms, is my business too. Thinking of the Core Rules as a PC Operating System, wondering what software I can run with it is a valid concern. Hopefully that metaphor makes sense.

On the other hand, I'm not crazy either. I understand why there's an NDA involved. I just want the spirit of there being 3 Parties in the GSL relationship recognized and remembered, because the Customer is the 2nd Party. So if something is under the NDA and can't be answered, my expectations won't be shot to heck, but I'd like someone from WOTC to give an official 'college try' anyway.
 

Brown Jenkin

First Post
Voadam said:
Another possibility

3: The GSL and rules were originally supposed to be sent to 3rd party publishers long ago so they could get used to the rules and develop material to supplement the release of 4e. WotC did not want the rules allowed out before their own public unveiling such as in DDX or the actual relase of 4e books. Even though the passing of DDX may have obviated the rationale for the NDA, institutional inertia at the corporate level may keep it in there.

The problem with this is that the GSL and the game rules are separate things. They have already said that the GSL will refer to another SRD type document which will have the game rules that will be open. Keeping the GSL under NDA should have nothing to do with the game rules according to what they have stated publicly. This should work just like now where the OGL is the licence only with no game rules built in. The question is why is the GSL under NDA and not just the SRD type document which actually has the game rules.
 

Lizard

Explorer
Orcus said:
I agree with you in theory, but I see a possibility that you are not accounting for--that a product could be covered by BOTH the GSL and the OGL. I see that as a possibility. For instance, perhaps the GSL -ONLY- covers use of content from the 4E SRD. If that is the case, you could create a product that uses the GSL for the 4E parts and then also uses the OGL to pull from 3E/OGC sources. That would work nicely.

It could, but I'd be wary of such a product, because declaration of content would be very, very, critical. As it is, many publishers have vague/confusing declarations of OGC/PI; imagine if you added mixed-license content to that!


I also dont see it as a legal nightmare at all to upgrade existing works. If you were the creator of the intial work, even if under the OGL, you own the concepts and can easily do them in a new incarnation of the license.

Well, here's the problem.
a)The copyright holder of the SRD is WOTC. Therefore, for the huge bulk of OGL material which is SRD-derived, the publishers don't hold the copyright. Say I want to release spells 'missing' from 4e, but which were in the SRD. Unless the SRD is placed under some kind of license, I can't, because I don't own the copyright to the SRD.

b)There's also a problem of derived content. I used Atlas' "Tide of Years" when I worked on Seafarer's Handbook; Seafarer's Handbook shows up in the S15 of a lot of other works on underwater adventuring. The exact material used is not specified. A third party would need to be sure which material in a book came from which source, and that's not always easy -- it can be sut, chopped, edited, spread out, or even non-existent! (The SFH S15 referenced Tide of Years. A third publisher might use a feat from SFH which had nothing to do with TOY, but TOY will still be in their S15 due to the way the OGL works.)) This is, obviously, not a problem if there is no content except that derived from the SRD. (You address this further on; I just wanted to call it out in detail for other readers.)

This leads me back to something I was a HUGE advocate of under the OGL--asking permission even if you didnt have to. I always advocated that if you were going to reuse someone else's OGC that you give them the courtesy of asking permission.

I agree, but not everyone did. (I found people were often willing to send me pure ASCII of their work if I was going reuse large chunks of it, which made it MUCH easier!)

It is going to be intersting to see how this all plays out.

Yes, it will.
 

Orcus

First Post
Belen said:
1: (The Good)- It contains 4e information that WOTC does not want to release.

2: (The Bad)- It contains language that could negatively impact sales of 4e before launch.

I think that option 2 is the more likely reason. I'll bet that WOTC thinks that if they can get people to buy it before the negative information is released, then they will be less likely to drop the game because of how the GSL turned out.

Honestly, I see no reason that the license/contract would be under NDA except that the fanbase will not be happy with the language/rules of the GSL.

I wouldnt look at it that way at all. Its just what we lawyers do. ALL of my licenses and contracts--with WW, Paizo, JG, everyone--have all had confidentiality provisions. Its not that unusual. What IS unusual is to release draft agreements publically. So its the OGL that was unusual, not the GSL.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or unusual in normal business circles with proposed licenses not being public. Nothing. WotC should take no heat for this.

Clark
 

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