OGL Hello, I am lawyer with a PSA: almost everyone is wrong about the OGL and SRD. Clearing up confusion.

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
that is not how this works, WotC would need to use parts of the 3pp’s OGC to become a licensee, otherwise everyone on this planet is a licensee
That’s not what the license actually says.

One accepts the license by using OGC. Distributing OGC is ‘use’ as defined in the OGL.

Has WOTC distributed OGC? Yes! Then they are a licensee of the OGL.
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The offer of the license is available to everyone on the planet, but they have to accept the offer through use of the OGC (or whatever mechanism the OGL describes) to become a licensee. Until then, they're just potential licensees.
Distributing OGC is one way that the license gives for accepting. WOTC has distributed OGC, right?
 

Citizen Mane

The Kajamba Lion
Distributing OGC is one way that the license gives for accepting. WOTC has distributed OGC, right?
Yes, but distributing their own OGC does not make them a licensee. When they incorporated other folks' OGC into their work and then distributed that, they technically would've been a licensee of the third party publisher with regards to the third party OGC that they were distributing.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Yes, but distributing their own OGC does not make them a licensee. When they incorporated other folks' OGC into their work and then distributed that, they technically would've been a licensee of the third party publisher with regards to the third party OGC that they were distributing.
The license doesn’t differentiate there. It just says by using the Open Game Content you accept the terms of this License.

So the question is simple, did WOTC use the OGC? The answer is likewise simple. They did when they distributed SRD 5.1 as well as when they distributed the 3e SRD.
 

The license doesn’t differentiate there. It just says by using the Open Game Content you accept the terms of this License.

So the question is simple, did WOTC use the OGC? The answer is likewise simple. They did when they distributed SRD 5.1 as well as when they distributed the 3e SRD.
Perhaps. But I'm sure you'll find someone who's willing to argue that you can't be bound by a contract that you've essentially entered into with yourself. It's not really a contract at all.

Some possible interpretations of the license text appear to lead to that having been the case with those specific examples. And while I personally don't find that line of argument very convincing, I'm no lawyer, much less a judge.

Are there jurors involved in the the common law process of contractual interpretation? I have no idea.
 
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Citizen Mane

The Kajamba Lion
The license doesn’t differentiate there. It just says by using the Open Game Content you accept the terms of this License.

So the question is simple, did WOTC use the OGC? The answer is likewise simple. They did when they distributed SRD 5.1 as well as when they distributed the 3e SRD.
But the OGL does make a distinction between contribution and use. When WotC released those SRDs, they were contributing their own copyrighted material to the OGL but weren't using OGC.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Perhaps. But I'm sure you'll find someone who's willing to argue that you can't be bound by a contract that you've essentially entered into with yourself.
I think that argument would carry weight if Wotc has only released material under the OGL and entirely stopped when others took it up. But after there were other contributors they released more OGC.
 



mamba

Hero
I think that argument would carry weight if Wotc has only released material under the OGL and entirely stopped when others took it up. But after there were other contributors they released more OGC.
irrelevant, the only thing that would matter is whether they used any of the available OGC, not whether they added new OGC of their own
 


I think you might be able to reason as follows:

1. WotC is free to license their original works to anyone under whatever license.
2. They chose to do so as OGC under the terms of the OGL 1.0(a).
3. They did so, so they're now Using said OGC as per the OGL, since Using includes licensing.

However, what makes them contractually obliged to continue to do so? It's a unilateral decision involving no other party, and as such, there might not really be a contract here at all.

But then the real question becomes: Can someone who has already entered into this contract continue to sub-license WotC's contribution to the OGC to anyone else? I don't know.

The language in section 13 suggests to me that they should be able to, but that's about termination for breach, not revocation per se.
 
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Slander

Explorer
The license doesn’t differentiate there. It just says by using the Open Game Content you accept the terms of this License.
I don't think it says that. It says "g) "Use", "Used" or "Using" means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content."

An original work (the SRD) is not derivative. Wizards is not "Using" their original work by definition g) even though they are distributing it.
 

mamba

Hero
One accepts the license by using OGC. Distributing OGC is ‘use’ as defined in the OGL.
You got me to take a closer look, and no, this is not what the license says, here is the actual text

"""Use", "Used" or "Using" means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content"

so there, can we put this to rest now?

EDIT: @Slander beat me to it :LOL:
 

I don't think it says that. It says "g) "Use", "Used" or "Using" means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content."

An original work (the SRD) is not derivative. Wizards is not "Using" their original work by definition g) even though they are distributing it.
Capital D in "Distribute", so it's not the same as the dictionary definition. Section 1(d) defines "Distribute" to be to "reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute".

Neither is "Derivative Material" the same as the dictionary definition. Instead, it's defined in 1(b) as "copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted."

It doesn't just mean derivative works. It appears to include original works copied verbatim too (which would otherwise be plagiarism).

P.S. I assume "potation" is a typo for "portation" as in "porting"?
 
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mamba

Hero
Capital D in "Distribute", so it's not the same as the dictionary definition. Section 1(d) defines "Distribute" to be to "reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute".
nice, but irrelevant, because it is still about derived work

Neither is "Derivative Material" the same as the dictionary definition. Instead, it's defined in 1(b) as "copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted."

It doesn't just mean derivative works. It appears to include original works copied verbatim too (i.e. plagiarism).
any work is automatically copyrighted, so this does not really matter. You might have a point, if we did not have (d) ""Open Game Content" means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor"

So clearly Open Game Conent is distinct from Derivative Material, which for your theory to work would not be the case, as you simply wanted to lump it into 'any copyrighted material', which is literally anything (that does not violate someone else's). Notice the "Derivative Material of Open Game Content"
 

nice, but irrelevant, because it is still about derived work


any work is automatically copyrighted, so this does not really matter. You might have a point, if we did not have (d) ""Open Game Content" means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor"

So clearly Open Game Conent is distinct from Derivative Material, which for your theory to work would not be the case, as you simply wanted to lump it into 'any copyrighted material', which is literally anything (that does not violate someone else's)
WotC has clearly licensed their SRDs to me as OGC. Are you saying that the contents of said SRDs cannot be Derivative Material as well? Both terms are capitalized and so their meaning is defined in our contract, they have nothing to do with any dictionary definitions of any superficially similar terms.
 

mamba

Hero
WotC has clearly licensed their SRDs to me as OGC. Are you saying that the contents of said SRDs cannot be Derivative Material as well?
yes, how can it be, of what would it be derivative?

Both terms are capitalized and so their meaning is defined in our contract, they have nothing to do with any dictionary definitions of any superficially similar terms.
yes, they both have meaning, and they both are different things, that is why there are two of them...
 

yes, they both have meaning, and they both are different things, that is why there are two of them...
I just don't see how something can't be both at the same time under those definitions. If you could enlighten me as to why I might be mistaken in that regard, I would be very grateful.
 

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