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

pemerton

Legend
I mean not that the licence is a property, but that the derivative work is a property; and that a sub-licence is not flowing through that property, but rather a new licence is being created at that point.
I don't quite follow.

I don't know what it means for a sub-licence to "flow through" some property. Nor at what point you are positing a new licence is being created.

If the OGL does not permit sub-licences to be created, then the only party who can licence WotC's work is WotC. If WotC refuses to offer such licences, then no new ones can be created. It's clear that this was not how Dancey intended things to be. And I think the drafting achieves his intent: the definition of Use includes (via Distribute) licensing - which is to say that licensees are conferred a power to license upstream Contributors' OGC. By definition, this is a power to sub-license, because it is a power to confer a licence that is enjoyed by someone who is not an owner but a mere licensee in relation to the property at issue.

it is a chain of licences, and not a licence and chain of sub-licences.
This reads like saying it is a chain of H2O molecules rather than a chain of water molecules.

There is a chain of contracts. There is no chain of licences - licences obtain between the owner of the licensed property, and the licensee. A sub-licence is not a special sort of licence: it is a sub-licence in virtue of its mode of creation (ie by a licensee exercising a power rather than the property owner exercising a power), not in virtue of its content.
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
I don't quite follow.

I don't know what it means for a sub-licence to "flow through" some property. Nor at what point you are positing a new licence is being created.

If the OGL does not permit sub-licences to be created, then the only party who can licence WotC's work is WotC. If WotC refuses to offer such licences, then no new ones can be created. It's clear that this was not how Dancey intended things to be. And I think the drafting achieves his intent: the definition of Use includes (via Distribute) licensing - which is to say that licensees are conferred a power to license upstream Contributors' OGC. By definition, this is a power to sub-license, because it is a power to confer a licence that is enjoyed by someone who is not an owner but a mere licensee in relation to the property at issue.

This reads like saying it is a chain of H2O molecules rather than a chain of water molecules.

There is a chain of contracts. There is no chain of licences - licences obtain between the owner of the licensed property, and the licensee. A sub-licence is not a special sort of licence: it is a sub-licence in virtue of its mode of creation (ie by a licensee exercising a power rather than the property owner exercising a power), not in virtue of its content.
Taking into account my lack of expertise in law, the question I am focusing on is roughly
  1. Given I want to create a new work that will use OGC that prior to now has been used in other works
  2. And the upstream entity - Hasbro - no longer wishes to offer any further licences to content contained in that OGC
  3. Per 1. the content I wish to derive from exists in the work of some entity other than Hasbro (henceforth Not-H)
  4. I have some theory that makes it so that Not-H can allow me to use the extant OGC including that which originated with Hasbro
This last - 4. - is what I am thinking about. To me - and lacking pertinent legal background - it creates doubts if I picture that Not-H is "sub-licensing" any part of the OGC to me. A "sub-licence" to me is an arrangement that subsists under a licence. So for instance, I look at a contract document bestowing a licence and I see that it (almost always expressly) rules in / out sub-licensing. (This may be where your water/H2O point comes in, as perhaps the labelling makes no difference.)

What seems to be pictured is a chain of licences. I am suggesting that each step breaks that chain, and creates a pairing that is not reliant upon the existence of any prior pairing. It is reliant on the contents of OGC, as determined by prior pairings, but those contents being determined there is no further dependency. Nothing that extends up a notional chain, to Hasbro.
 

pemerton

Legend
Taking into account my lack of expertise in law, the question I am focusing on is roughly
  1. Given I want to create a new work that will use OGC that prior to now has been used in other works
  2. And the upstream entity - Hasbro - no longer wishes to offer any further licences to content contained in that OGC
  3. Per 1. the content I wish to derive from exists in the work of some entity other than Hasbro (henceforth Not-H)
  4. I have some theory that makes it so that Not-H can allow me to use the extant OGC including that which originated with Hasbro
This last - 4. - is what I am thinking about. To me - and lacking pertinent legal background - it creates doubts if I picture that Not-H is "sub-licensing" any part of the OGC to me. A "sub-licence" to me is an arrangement that subsists under a licence. So for instance, I look at a contract document bestowing a licence and I see that it (almost always expressly) rules in / out sub-licensing. (This may be where your water/H2O point comes in, as perhaps the labelling makes no difference.)

What seems to be pictured is a chain of licences. I am suggesting that each step breaks that chain, and creates a pairing that is not reliant upon the existence of any prior pairing. It is reliant on the contents of OGC, as determined by prior pairings, but those contents being determined there is no further dependency. Nothing that extends up a notional chain, to Hasbro.
If you want to use content which will infringe WotC's copyright unless used with permission, then you need their permission. In the context of copyright, that permission is a licence.

There are two ways to get that permission: the copyright owner can give it to you (a licence in the strict sense); or a licensee who has been conferred the appropriate power can give it to you (a sub-licence).

In your scenario, (2) rules out getting a licence from WotC. So you will need a sub-licence. Which is what the OGL is drafted to achieve - each licensee is conferred with a power to license, to others, the OGC that they are themselves licensed to use.

I'm not sure what you are puzzled by, or what you mean by "nothing extends up a notional chain, to Hasbro". Without a licence from WotC/Hasbro, you will infringe their copyrights if you publish etc works that include their content or content that is derivative of their content.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Taking into account my lack of expertise in law, the question I am focusing on is roughly
  1. Given I want to create a new work that will use OGC that prior to now has been used in other works
  2. And the upstream entity - Hasbro - no longer wishes to offer any further licences to content contained in that OGC
Is #2 the case? They moved SRD 5.1 into CC, but they also left 1.0a alone, so you can still use OGL 1.0a to use the other OGC works. You just run the risk of WotC attempting to shut down OGL 1.0a in the future since it's not in CC.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Without a licence from WotC/Hasbro, you will infringe their copyrights if you publish etc works that include their content or content that is derivative of their content.
Wait - so you are saying that you contract with the sublicensor to obtain a license (permission) to use WOTC’s copyrighted material directly from WOTC?

That notion makes sense to me. Though it still doesn’t sound typical to the wording of other sublicense agreements. I’m under the impression that most such agreements say the sublicensor grants the license (instead of the copyright holder) Is this inaccurate?
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Exactly: it's in contemplation of the latter.
The risk of an OGL 1.0a deauthorization is very, very, very low at this point. They wanted to control 5e content and the VTT world, but since the SRD 5.1 is in CC, they can't cut third parties off from those things any longer. There's no point in them trying to end the OGLs up to this point any longer. They can't get what they want by doing so and they will only bring back all the ill will.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
The risk of an OGL 1.0a deauthorization is very, very, very low at this point. They wanted to control 5e content and the VTT world, but since the SRD 5.1 is in CC, they can't cut third parties off from those things any longer. There's no point in them trying to end the OGLs up to this point any longer. They can't get what they want by doing so and they will only bring back all the ill will.
Apologies, it often happens that I am interested in something in the abstract - as a hypothetical or possibility - and I know many folk prefer to focus on the pragmatic.
 


pemerton

Legend
Wait - so you are saying that you contract with the sublicensor to obtain a license (permission) to use WOTC’s copyrighted material?
That's my view.

Here is @S'mon sharing it in post 15 of this thread:

I also think that WoTC can cease to licence material under the OGL 1.0 (and almost certainly can stop ONE D&D being licenced under the 1.0 OGL). However I don't think they can stop the third party sub-licensing permitted via the OGL 1.0. If I'm right then a 3PP can still sub-licence the contents of the 5e SRD from eg 5th Edition SRD under the OGL 1.0.

That notion makes sense to me. Though it still doesn’t sound typical to the wording of other sublicense agreements. I’m under the impression that most such agreements say the sublicensor grants the license (instead of the copyright holder) Is this inaccurate?
I'm not sure what agreements you have in mind. And I'm not sure what's at stake.

Suppose W owns the copyright in X, and W licenses A to use X, and the terms of the license include both a power and an obligation to sub-license X to other parties on very particular contractual terms. A enters into such a contract with B, thereby bringing it about that B enjoys a licence from W in respect of X.

In the scenario just described, it was A's action, in entering into the contract with B, that brought the licence into being. It is W's property that is the subject matter of the licence, and thus W who has been brought into the licensor-licensee relationship with B. What is at stake in asking whether it is W or A who granted the licence?
 


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