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

Thomas Shey

Legend
Today you get a lot of BitD spin-offs, PbtAs, or d20/5e spin offs, etc. Which is better?

There's still a lot of others. They just tend to be one-and-done. I could probably pull 20-out of my pdf collection given ten minutes.

I'd actually say what's less common is new systems that actually get any significant follow-up. It still happens, but less often.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
confidence yes, but how many that run now would fight then? Not many more can financially afford it I guess, and while it is unfortunate that it comes down to money, that still holds true tomorrow, so I am not sure how much safer they are then
Less would run. Most are saying right now that WotC should create OGL 1.0b with the word irrevocable in it. It wouldn't fix it for everyone, but it would go a long way.
 

mamba

Hero
Less would run. Most are saying right now that WotC should create OGL 1.0b with the word irrevocable in it. It wouldn't fix it for everyone, but it would go a long way.
It would because it would essentially show a victory over WotC, not because it would make the license much safer. Whether WotC can de-authorize the license would e.g. not really be addressed by that. Bad actors will always be able to find some angle to cast doubt
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It would because it would essentially show a victory over WotC, not because it would make the license much safer. Whether WotC can de-authorize the license would e.g. not really be addressed by that. Bad actors will always be able to find some angle to cast doubt
Irrevocable means something in law. There's a reason why they are doing it with perpetual and folks are wishing it had said irrevocable. WotC would likely never have tried this if it had said irrevocable.
 

S'mon

Legend
Well, perhaps more to the point, a lot of them are now saying "You say you're not going to try to revoke old uses of the OGL this week; what about next?" It doesn't matter if its personal or not for at least some people, it matters that they no longer trust WOTC (and Hasbro) not to conduct an abusive legal maneuver if they think its convenient.

To some extent, contract law is always about trust, because as noted by a couple people, it has no intrinsic force. All it does is provide you a (potential) hammer if other people in the agreement misbehave, but using that hammer is not an effort and cost free process, and no one really wants to do it (unless they're abusing process themselves and getting that hammer was the whole point).

As such, damaging trust of potential people who might want to make deals with you has a price.

I do think this was very well put. I'm going to try to at least mention this when I'm teaching Contract this semester. It's an easy thing for academics to overlook as we focus on the substantive law. We focus on the rights and obligations under the Contract; but the ability to trust the other party is often more valuable, than the rights/remedies you hold against them. For instance it's one reason why e-commerce/remote commerce is far more successful in high trust societies than in low trust societies. Many of my students come from low trust societies where the idea of giving a faraway someone money, and then trusting them to send you stuff, feels distinctly dodgy.

WoTC's current position is that they are attempting to renege on the terms of their OGL 1.0 licence contract with existing parties. The licence gives those parties the right and obligation to licence the use of OGC, including WoTC SRD material. WoTC appears to be saying they can no longer do that. Which puts WoTC in breach of contract, afaict, although a court might construe the situation in some other way. But the most important immediate impact seems to be that WoTC is now "not agreement capable" in the eyes of other parties. You can't tust them to stick with a deal.
 

S'mon

Legend
Sure, but my point is, that's a perfectly reasonable stance to expect a 3PP to take. It's unusual for that to be the stance the end-user takes. Or at least, a significantly large and vocal subset of it.

One issue for the end user is that compared to eg Paizo or Kobold Press WoTC produces very little gaming material, and what they produce is generally not of very high quality. Williams thinks the D&D brand is 'under monetised', but considering how little D&D material WoTC put out, they get a huge income from the game! A big reason for that is that GMs can use 3PP material that better suits their needs, and is often of higher quality, than the D&D material. So 'cancelling the OGL' has a major direct impact on D&D players, the end users.

I think this is a major difference from Games Workshop. GW do actually produce a very large amount of gaming material, their miniatures. In creating their closed ecosystem, GW do the work. WoTC appear to have no intention of doing the actual work needed to support the actual game. What use is a pretty VTT if there's nothing good to play on it? How many times do they expect me to run Forge of Fury?
 

S'mon

Legend
One issue for the end user is that compared to eg Paizo or Kobold Press WoTC produces very little gaming material, and what they produce is generally not of very high quality. Williams thinks the D&D brand is 'under monetised', but considering how little D&D material WoTC put out, they get a huge income from the game! A big reason for that is that GMs can use 3PP material that better suits their needs, and is often of higher quality, than the D&D material. So 'cancelling the OGL' has a major direct impact on D&D players, the end users.

I think this is a major difference from Games Workshop. GW do actually produce a very large amount of gaming material, their miniatures. In creating their closed ecosystem, GW do the work. WoTC appear to have no intention of doing the actual work needed to support the actual game. What use is a pretty VTT if there's nothing good to play on it? How many times do they expect me to run Forge of Fury?

Just watching this video on WoTC's leaked future plans for the VTT. Apparently they plan to ban to actually ban homebrew content at the base tiers - they won't even allow GMs to do the work for them! :uhoh: Instead they plan on AI DMs running WoTC adventures for the D&D 'fans'.
 

Just watching this video on WoTC's leaked future plans for the VTT. Apparently they plan to ban to actually ban homebrew content at the base tiers - they won't even allow GMs to do the work for them! :uhoh: Instead they plan on AI DMs running WoTC adventures for the D&D 'fans'.
She's slightly late to the party on this, as we've been discussing this on the various OGL-related threads for some hours now, but yeah. They want to turn D&D into a bad MMO, and it's exactly as horsepucky as it sounds.

1673945653088.jpeg
 





CapnZapp

Legend
What they're doing now: wait until a final word from WotC is stated and then judge from there.
Everything right now is very much far from decided and, regardless what WotC is claiming, the OGL 1.0a is functioning exactly has it has for the prior 23 years and it shall continue doing that until WotC starts issueing cease and desists. It too early to say what's going to happen: knowing what they wanted to happen isn't the same as knowing what happened once it's over.

joe b.
Your theory assumes that people will wait. Why would anyone wait? I assume you think because someone would bet the OGL 1.0a is viable in the future; worth betting your business on.

I would say this is a dangerous thought.

"the OGL 1.0a is functioning exactly has it has for the prior 23 years" - this statement is only true in the most narrowest sense: legal facts.

In the wider, practical, real sense, no it is now completely dysfunctional, because the trust is gone.

WotC has shown that even if they're forced to back down now, nothing says they won't try again a month or a year from now.

The trust is gone, and cannot easily be recreated. (In practice, I think it is irrevocably gone :) )

This means the OGL is an unsafe path for the future; not worth betting your company's future on.

And all this is completely independent on what the lawyers or the courts will say.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Sure, but my point is, that's a perfectly reasonable stance to expect a 3PP to take. It's unusual for that to be the stance the end-user takes. Or at least, a significantly large and vocal subset of it.
Setting aside the fact that many people don't want folks in the industry to suffer (a big thing to set aside, to be sure), WotC clearly wants the OGL 1.0a to die, as a contract for future product at the very least. This means that, if they succeed, no new content would be created under it. If you supported those companies, liked their content and wanted to buy more of it, then this clearly a negative for you.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I'm not sure whether the effect is what people think though, or what you imply. Back in the '80s, for example, games built on each other in a TECHNICAL sense, but each game kind of needed to be distinct in terms of IP. So, sans some sort of deal, you wouldn't likely produce a lot of material for someone else's game system, or base your new game system on some existing one. I mean, there WERE a fair number of such deals, or at least games changed hands fairly often, but there were a LOT of one-off kind of unique systems.

Today you get a lot of BitD spin-offs, PbtAs, or d20/5e spin offs, etc. Which is better?
Probably the current situation if you like those games.
 

Your theory assumes that people will wait. Why would anyone wait?

Because the OGC of the 1.0a license has proven monetary value: past, present, and (more than likely) future.

I would say this is a dangerous thought.

"the OGL 1.0a is functioning exactly has it has for the prior 23 years" - this statement is only true in the most narrowest sense: legal facts.

No, its true in the truest sense in that nothing has changed with it. Things have changed around it. Important things, of course. But it is exactly what it has always been and it will be exactly what it has always been until the moment that WotC issues the first cease and desist upon an OGL'd product. That, and only that, is the moment that the safe harbor aspect of the license changes, that publishers have a real consideration to make in which "WotC could sue me" becomes a realized possibility as opposed to an always-possible-theoretical-possiblity.

So far, everything is just saber-rattling. Until the sabers are drawn and swung, this is just an unfriendly conversation when friendly conversations were what had proceeded it for decades.

In the wider, practical, real sense, no it is now completely dysfunctional, because the trust is gone.

WotC has shown that even if they're forced to back down now, nothing says they won't try again a month or a year from now.

The trust is gone, and cannot easily be recreated. (In practice, I think it is irrevocably gone :) )

This means the OGL is an unsafe path for the future; not worth betting your company's future on.

And all this is completely independent on what the lawyers or the courts will say.

What the courts say is extremely important because this is a legal matter. I understand clearly that you disagree, but right now everyone is "waiting and seeing" because not a single legally-binding action has been taken regarding a legal matter.

Even those who are making alternative plans are waiting and seeing, for once things are settled and determined and the uncertainty is resolved the OGL 1.0a license will be used again to access the valuable OGC that has been released under it. Of course, I could be wrong and the court decides in a way that kills the OGL forever. That's always a possibility, but I think it highly doubtful.

joe b.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I doubt it, back in 2000 perpetual meant ‘perpetual and irrevocable’. There is a reason why they talk about de-authorizing and not revoking
No. Perpetual COULD mean irrevocable, but often did not. That's why people starting using irrevocable to make things clear.
 

Goemoe

Explorer
The trust is gone, and cannot easily be recreated. (In practice, I think it is irrevocably gone :) )

This means the OGL is an unsafe path for the future; not worth betting your company's future on.
Unless WotC makes an offical statement in person (not some other 'we' stuff) that justifies further trust, the damage is done. I can't imagine betting my company on it in this situation. The trust is gone.

There are tons of rule systems to choose from, if OGL 1.0a is gone. And just to be sure, PNP is not MMO, I will never pay a sub to play my favorite role playing game. Who ever thought this up can't be a gamer anyway.
 

mamba

Hero
No. Perpetual COULD mean irrevocable, but often did not. That's why people starting using irrevocable to make things clear.
yeah, it usually does mean irrevocable however, we already have pretty good precedence for that. Irrevocable was added so we do not have to go through this in court every time, not because it was a gap that needed fixing.

As I said, there is a reason why they try to de-authorize it instead of revoking it
 

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