How long do we wait for WoTC to speak?

Yes, but sadly we need to distinguish between

1. Legal reality, that WoTC almost certainly cannot legally revoke OGL 1.0 licencing of their SRDs even for future products, with
2. Commercial reality, that any future Kickstarter still including OGL 1.0 is likely to be seen as tainted by potential backers.

We can both advise #1, but the people like my friend, with money in the game, have to think about #2.
Noticeablely 5E kickstarters have dried up and others are changing their projects prior to launch however a Nightfell KS for 5E launched on Tuesday and is doing very well. For the few left in that space they may find they do even better than before since they may have less competition.
 

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pemerton

Legend
@Ruin Explorer

Paizo has been publishing a commercial competitor to D&D for nearly 15 years now. They were never going to sign a licence along the lines of the OGL v 1.1, given that it requires them to give up almost all of their existing business. And WotC must have known that.

Much the same is true for various OSRers, though I don't think any of them are on Paizo's scale.

I don't know about the 5e-supporting 3PPs. But given that WotC's goal was to regain control of their IP, I don't see that they are failing in that goal when all their licensees give up their licences.

Again, I am not saying anything about whether this serves WotC's longer-term commercial interests.

As far as publishers defending the existing licences in court, I can't believe that WotC hasn't anticipated that possibility. It's such an obvious one. What I'm curious about is what advice WotC have had in that respect - as per my exchange with @S'mon not far upthread, I'm one of those who thinks the better legal view is that WotC cannot unilaterally bring its existing licence agreements under the terms of the OGL v 1.0/1.0a t an end.
 

Branduil

Hero
@Ruin Explorer

Paizo has been publishing a commercial competitor to D&D for nearly 15 years now. They were never going to sign a licence along the lines of the OGL v 1.1, given that it requires them to give up almost all of their existing business. And WotC must have known that.

Much the same is true for various OSRers, though I don't think any of them are on Paizo's scale.

I don't know about the 5e-supporting 3PPs. But given that WotC's goal was to regain control of their IP, I don't see that they are failing in that goal when all their licensees give up their licences.

Again, I am not saying anything about whether this serves WotC's longer-term commercial interests.

As far as publishers defending the existing licences in court, I can't believe that WotC hasn't anticipated that possibility. It's such an obvious one. What I'm curious about is what advice WotC have had in that respect - as per my exchange with @S'mon not far upthread, I'm one of those who thinks the better legal view is that WotC cannot unilaterally bring its existing licence agreements under the terms of the OGL v 1.0/1.0a t an end.
Given all their other recent decisions, this might be giving the current leadership too much credit.
 

pemerton

Legend
Given all their other recent decisions, this might be giving the current leadership too much credit.
I think even mediocre corporate executives are capable of understanding that rival firms won't sign licence deals which oblige them to give up their business!

EDIT: I guess there's the possibility that they thought they might negotiate a different royalty arrangement with Paizo. If there's litigation, of course that's still on the table. @S'mon did link (in another thread) to some industry gossip that suggested WotC/Hasbro is ready to use hard negotiation tactics!
 
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Branduil

Hero
I think even mediocre corporate executives are capable of understanding that rival firms won't sign licence deals which oblige them to give up their business!

EDIT: I guess there's the possibility that they though they might negotiate a different royalty arrangement with Paizo. If there's litigation, of course that's still on the table. @S'mon did link (in another thread) to some industry gossip that suggested WotC/Hasbro is ready to use hard negotiation tactics!
I honestly think they did believe that. At the very least, they thought a sufficient number of them would, as opposed to... literally zero.
 

S'mon

Legend
Now my friend is looking at publishing the current draft OGL version of the project right away, including all SRD-derived material, so as to be published prior to any cutoff date WoTC impose. It's around 155,000 words, the kind of rough version that often goes to backers immediately at the close of a Kickstarter.
 

pemerton

Legend
I honestly think they did believe that. At the very least, they thought a sufficient number of them would, as opposed to... literally zero.
Both the posts that you replied to were talking specifically about Paizo. I don't believe that WotC every believed, even for a moment, that Paizo would just shut down their business at WotC's insistence. They will have planned for negotiations.

As far as 5e-supporting 3PPs are concerned, I repeat what I posted: given that WotC's goal was to regain control of their IP, I don't see that they are failing in that goal when all their licensees give up their licences.
 

pemerton

Legend
Now my friend is looking at publishing the current draft OGL version of the project right away, including all SRD-derived material, so as to be published prior to any cutoff date WoTC impose. It's around 155,000 words, the kind of rough version that often goes to backers immediately at the close of a Kickstarter.
For all the obvious reasons I don't want to give your friend needless and gratuitous advice.

But I think this is an interesting illustration of the situation that WotC has created, and that- even if they're moderately incompetent - they must have anticipated: namely, uncertainty among 3PPs as to what are the most commercially and legally viable options. Combine that with a fairly ruthless litigation strategy and you can see the rough direction in which they are trying to head.

I'm willing to believe that they didn't anticipate such a strong PR backlash, but that's separate from the particular goal of reclaiming control of their IP. (Of course it's not separate from their overall medium-to-long term commercial prospects.)
 

They were never going to sign a licence along the lines of the OGL v 1.1, given that it requires them to give up almost all of their existing business. And WotC must have known that.
Yes.

That's what I said.
The OGL 1.1 in particular was basically designed to force major 3PPs to negotiate special contracts directly with WotC (you can see this in the OGL 2.0, assuming that leak is correct, because they make that even more explicit)
They knew Paizo etc. wouldn't sign the OGL. The OGL 1.1 is just the stick and/or for "the little people", and I ain't talking hobbits and gnomes. But I don't buy that they didn't think it would bring Paizo "to heel".
But given that WotC's goal was to regain control of their IP, I don't see that they are failing in that goal when all their licensees give up their licences.
I just don't see that as a primary goal. If it was, the OGL 1.1 was designed pretty badly. Also, what are you even talking about? If the OGL 1.0a is successful defended, no-one has given up any licences.
As far as publishers defending the existing licences in court, I can't believe that WotC hasn't anticipated that possibility. It's such an obvious one. What I'm curious about is what advice WotC have had in that respect - as per my exchange with @S'mon not far upthread, I'm one of those who thinks the better legal view is that WotC cannot unilaterally bring its existing licence agreements under the terms of the OGL v 1.0/1.0a t an end.
Companies get bad or questionable legal advice pretty frequently.

The fact that WotC put the OGL 1.1 out with those godawful comments, which are a combination of horrible "How do you do, fellow kids?" drivel and actual misrepresentations tells me they were getting bad legal advice, and or straight-up ignoring legal advice. I mean there is literally no way my law firm would have let that go out, we'd literally have stopped representing the client first (I base this on a couple of incidents I can't go into detail on but still). They sent this to a bunch of serious 40-60-somethings who run proper businesses, for god's sake! The commentary is infantile.

What does that tell you? I think what it tells you is that they have little respect for/regard of/understanding of the 3PP market. They don't even understand their competitors. They thought they could bring the big ones to heel, and force this on the smaller ones.

I'm not even sure they fully understood the collateral damage re: 1.0a being deleted, they just thought that people should only make stuff for 5E and only under their terms.

The other question for me is, is this in-house stuff, and WotC's in-house team just totally doesn't understand the D&D/RPG market-space, even though that's the entire reason you have in-house lawyers, or did they bring in some external firm of lawyers, totally failed to brief them accurately about the market-space and discouraged them from researching it (which would be easy to do, frankly, just say "We're the biggest by a huge margin, obviously everything we say is definitely 100% accurate!")?
 

S'mon

Legend
Yes.

That's what I said.

They knew Paizo etc. wouldn't sign the OGL. The OGL 1.1 is just the stick and/or for "the little people", and I ain't talking hobbits and gnomes. But I don't buy that they didn't think it would bring Paizo "to heel".

I just don't see that as a primary goal. If it was, the OGL 1.1 was designed pretty badly. Also, what are you even talking about? If the OGL 1.0a is successful defended, no-one has given up any licences.

Companies get bad or questionable legal advice pretty frequently.

The fact that WotC put the OGL 1.1 out with those godawful comments, which are a combination of horrible "How do you do, fellow kids?" drivel and actual misrepresentations tells me they were getting bad legal advice, and or straight-up ignoring legal advice. I mean there is literally no way my law firm would have let that go out, we'd literally have stopped representing the client first (I base this on a couple of incidents I can't go into detail on but still). They sent this to a bunch of serious 40-60-somethings who run proper businesses, for god's sake! The commentary is infantile.

What does that tell you? I think what it tells you is that they have little respect for/regard of/understanding of the 3PP market. They don't even understand their competitors. They thought they could bring the big ones to heel, and force this on the smaller ones.

I'm not even sure they fully understood the collateral damage re: 1.0a being deleted, they just thought that people should only make stuff for 5E and only under their terms.

The other question for me is, is this in-house stuff, and WotC's in-house team just totally doesn't understand the D&D/RPG market-space, even though that's the entire reason you have in-house lawyers, or did they bring in some external firm of lawyers, totally failed to brief them accurately about the market-space and discouraged them from researching it (which would be easy to do, frankly, just say "We're the biggest by a huge margin, obviously everything we say is definitely 100% accurate!")?

To me it reads as if it (OGL 1.1) HAS to have been drafted primarily by in-house Hasbro lawyers with no external reputation to lose. Both the weird informal tone/fake mateyness, and that they must have been told "Find us SOME way to say the OGL 1.0's no longer valid".
 

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