OGL Hypothetical: I ignore OGL 1.x

Reynard

Legend
I am just curious: assuming the OGL 1.1 or 2.0 goes into effect and says that you can't make new products using OGL 1.0a, but I go ahead and publish a -- say, just for argument -- 5E compatible monster book under the OGL 1.0a. What happens (assuming WotC notices of course)?

And by "what happens" I mean "what is the series of events that follows this move".

Note: I'm actually looking for an informed opinion on the subject by people familiar with the way IP law and corporations work. Thanks.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Probably a cease and desist letter if they decide you're significant enough to matter. And if you ignore that, a strategic decision by WOTC and its lawyers about whether it's worth a lawsuit.
Yup, probably something like this.

And this is probably the only way (short of WotC just waving a white flag) for anyone to get closure on just what the validity and irrevocability of 1.0a actually is.

The question is... who is willing to push their chips into the center of the table and go all-in?
 
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Reynard

Legend
Probably a cease and desist letter if they decide you're significant enough to matter. And if you ignore that, a strategic decision by WOTC and its lawyers about whether it's worth a lawsuit.
Let's say, continuing the hypothetical, I ignore the C&D letter. What is WotC's next step?

(Note, I am literally just trying to understand the process here.)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
@Reynard - in your hypothetical, how would you be distributing/selling your product(s)?

I ask because if you're distributing/selling electronically, nothing stops them sending a C&D (or equivalent) letter to your internet provider and-or host and trying to cut you off that way.
 

Reynard

Legend
@Reynard - in your hypothetical, how would you be distributing/selling your product(s)?

I ask because if you're distributing/selling electronically, nothing stops them sending a C&D (or equivalent) letter to your internet provider and-or host and trying to cut you off that way.
Let's pretend I have a mail order business.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Ask Justin LaNasa what's like to be in their crosshairs. And watch what the result will be, and ask yourself if it's worth the risk to do something similar.
 


Let's pretend I have a mail order business.
Next step would probably be to try and get an injunction to stop you selling your products, I think.

That won't succeed as often as people might think.

Then once that's been determined they to take you to court and probably make a copyright case against you.

I think that's where it gets a lot more dangerous for WotC, because potentially they could fail to prove they have copyright on a bunch of stuff people were acting like they did.

That's what happened in GW v CHS - Chapterhouse & The Last Time GW Went To Court Over Copyrights - Spikey Bits Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, Wargames & Miniatures New

It was ultimately a bit of an own-goal for GW even though they "won".
 



To be clear, I am not thinking of doing this. I just want to know how it plays out from beginning to end.
in theory if you walk the tight rope of what is and is not copy writeable (and others have done so, meaning you can cheat a bit by looking at other products without an OGL) you still may get a C&D letter... if you do you will need to retain a lawyer, one that KNOWS you are in the right and is good...

Unless you created the greatest 3pp book I doubt you could afford the costs to prove you were right... unless you are independently wealthy, i that case could you adopt me.
 

dave2008

Legend
Unless you created the greatest 3pp book I doubt you could afford the costs to prove you were right... unless you are independently wealthy, i that case could you adopt me.
What are the costs though? I could defend myself (risky but possible - I'm pretty good). I don't think court cost are that much if we make it snappy - which I would (I am that good). As was pointed out to me in another thread, there could be damages, but that wouldn't be much (again, I am that good). And on the flip side, I would win. Once I do that I think a little Gofundme would cover my expenses.
 

mamba

Hero
Then once that's been determined they to take you to court and probably make a copyright case against you.
they have to first prove that 1.0a can in fact be revoked, otherwise no copyright was violated. At that point you could theoretically still accept the 1.1 instead of going down the copyright violation route too
I think that's where it gets a lot more dangerous for WotC, because potentially they could fail to prove they have copyright on a bunch of stuff people were acting like they did.
agreed, they might shoot themselves in the foot and just prove that the OGL was not needed in the first place
 

they have to first prove that 1.0a can in fact be revoked, otherwise no copyright was violated. At that point you could theoretically still accept the 1.1 instead of going down the copyright violation route too

agreed, they might shoot themselves in the foot and just prove that the OGL was not needed in the first place
I'm not sure you could accept just 1.1, but if you got this far, you probably wouldn't want to so I think it's a moot point.
 


What are the costs though? I could defend myself (risky but possible - I'm pretty good). I don't think court cost are that much if we make it snappy - which I would (I am that good). As was pointed out to me in another thread, there could be damages, but that wouldn't be much (again, I am that good). And on the flip side, I would win. Once I do that I think a little Gofundme would cover my expenses.
there is a thing about what being your own client makes you...
 

mamba

Hero
I'm not sure you could accept just 1.1, but if you got this far, you probably wouldn't want to so I think it's a moot point.
I am not 100% sure either, but to me it is reasonable. The first issue to sort out in the court is: is the 1.0a still a valid license? If the answer is no, I do believe you can say 'oh, did not realize that' and accept the 1.1. It's an 'open' license so who is going to stop you...

Only if you do not do that and in a second step could they then sue for copyright infringement. Just disproving 1.0a as protection does not show a copyright violation.
 



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