OGL Hypothetical: I ignore OGL 1.x

I sometimes do e-commerce law, so now I'm thinking of a US court ordering ISPs to block access to the website of the UK publisher... theoretically possible, but seems unlikely in practice. But the rightsholder (here, WoTC) could use a US court order to get the work taken off drivethrurpg, easily enough. They'd presumably have already DMCA'd it anyway.
okay I am really dumb about laws... but I know there are some about ordering medication or weapons from one place and having them shipped to another... how do THEY enforce that rule?

I mean I assume I can't mail order a russian nuke.
 

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okay I am really dumb about laws... but I know there are some about ordering medication or weapons from one place and having them shipped to another... how do THEY enforce that rule?

I mean I assume I can't mail order a russian nuke.
Customs, have you ever heard of it?

Mail carriers and parcel carriers also scan a lot of stuff based on certain rules, but plenty of drugs and so on get shipped by mail or the like.

And re: ordering medication to different places, that's mostly dealt with by auditing, as I understand it. I.e. there will be a paper trail of where you sent stuff, and if there isn't, you're in trouble.

Nukes and radiological material particularly are looked for with massive amounts of radiation detectors in various places. Some cities etc. even have roving radiation detectors. I know NYC used to have multiple, may well still do.

You're talking about criminal laws, though, not civil laws, re: weapons, medication, etc.

Customs in some countries does interact with civil enforcement, but I don't think it's typical.
 

Customs, have you ever heard of it?
yeah... but seeing as how I don't often order things from outside the US and the few times I did it didn't matter, I actually have no experience with how it works or what it can or can't do?

SO can customs stop the books?
Mail carriers and parcel carriers also scan a lot of stuff based on certain rules, but plenty of drugs and so on get shipped by mail or the like.
right, and I don't want to get bogged down in specifics but some things you can have shipped and some you aren't supposed to... but both are pills in a bottle.
And re: ordering medication to different places, that's mostly dealt with by auditing, as I understand it. I.e. there will be a paper trail of where you sent stuff, and if there isn't, you're in trouble.
would not that same audit process work with books?
You're talking about criminal laws, though, not civil laws, re: weapons, medication, etc.

Customs in some countries does interact with civil enforcement, but I don't think it's typical.
I have no idea... Hence why I am asking
 

yeah... but seeing as how I don't often order things from outside the US and the few times I did it didn't matter, I actually have no experience with how it works or what it can or can't do?

SO can customs stop the books?
In the UK? My limited understanding is essentially "no".

Because this is a civil not criminal matter.
would not that same audit process work with books?
No.

Not unless you can convince the government to put a law through parliament essentially allowing "banned books" to be tracked lol.

And even when people have gotten an injunction or judgment to stop the sales of a book judged to libellous, the police don't come around and confiscate the book, just any copies that haven't been sold are ordered by the court to be held or destroyed or whatever. People comply so they're not in contempt of court or don't get sued, depending on the exact circumstances. I myself in this very room have two books (both purchased by my wife lol) which got pulled for claims of libel (which only held up in UK courts, I note). No-one can take those away. They just can't sell more.

Do you want to know about physical or digital? In general physical is a LOT harder to stop, for the reasons @S'mon outlined re: digital.
 


pemerton

Legend
I sometimes do e-commerce law, so now I'm thinking of a US court ordering ISPs to block access to the website of the UK publisher... theoretically possible, but seems unlikely in practice. But the rightsholder (here, WoTC) could use a US court order to get the work taken off drivethrurpg, easily enough. They'd presumably have already DMCA'd it anyway.
Agreed. I think this is why the OP specified a mail-order hypothetical.

I think if WotC leans on DriveThru to not distribute allegedly infringing material, that is much harder for 3PPs as it seems to oblige those 3PPs to be the ones to take the plaintiff position. I can't see how ORC vs OGL makes a difference in this respect.
 

Reynard

Legend
Agreed. I think this is why the OP specified a mail-order hypothetical.

I think if WotC leans on DriveThru to not distribute allegedly infringing material, that is much harder for 3PPs as it seems to oblige those 3PPs to be the ones to take the plaintiff position. I can't see how ORC vs OGL makes a difference in this respect.
I just wanted it to be simple because my primary curiosity was about the process, not any outcome.
 

Tazawa

Adventurer
I don't think this is right, though. If WotC is asserting that there is no licence because they have unilaterally revoked it, then they are not going to be relying on the licence terms. And they are not alleging a breach of contract or licence rights; they are alleging copyright infringement. Once Reynard pleads the contract in his defence, section 13 is likewise irrelevant as Reynard is not conceding that there is any licence breach (and if in fact Reynard had breached the licence I think that would weaken his defence quite a bit).

I don’t think this is quite correct. So far WotC have been very careful to state that OGL 1.0a is “no longer an authorized version” and can not be used to distribute, etc. open game content under the OGL. They have not explicitly revoked it or released the other parties from their responsibilities under the license. The other clauses of the license are under effect. Does WotC saying it is no longer authorized, remove the ability of Green Ronin to go after Kobold Press for violating the license somehow (not to suggest they have)?
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I don’t think this is quite correct. So far WotC have been very careful to state that OGL 1.0a is “no longer an authorized version” and can not be used to distribute, etc. open game content under the OGL. They have not explicitly revoked it or released the other parties from their responsibilities under the license. The other clauses of the license are under effect. Does WotC saying it is no longer authorized, remove the ability of Green Ronin to go after Kobold Press for violating the license somehow (not to suggest they have)?
I do find it interesting that WotC has explicitly avoided saying that they are "de-authorizing" the 1.0a in any official statement or release. As if no one has seen the leaked documents saying just that.
 

Matt Thomason

Adventurer
I don’t think this is quite correct. So far WotC have been very careful to state that OGL 1.0a is “no longer an authorized version” and can not be used to distribute, etc. open game content under the OGL. They have not explicitly revoked it or released the other parties from their responsibilities under the license. The other clauses of the license are under effect. Does WotC saying it is no longer authorized, remove the ability of Green Ronin to go after Kobold Press for violating the license somehow (not to suggest they have)?
I feel the only way to answer this for sure would be a test case in court.

For arguments sake, lets assume this is also for a game that does not utilize WotC's SRD, so their only involvement is owning copyright of the license itself. My initial feelings are that the terms of license in question would solely be between GR and KP. My further thoughts are that a lawyer might bring the fact the license has been de-authorized by WotC into play in that case, if precident has already been set elsewhere (e.g by WotC bringing a case against someone continuing to use their SRDs under OGL 1.0a) and if they're looking for every possible loophole. It doesn't feel to me like that would get anywhere, but it doesn't stop it being a possibility.
 

It seems to me from reading this that Wizards could bring complaints that may well require discovery. They would certainly claim the SRD was copied, Paizo's lawyer would hold up OGL 1.0a, and I can see how the court would not require discovery to resolve that complaint.

But Wizards could also charge infringement of copyrighted material that was not in the SRD, for example, character creation and advancement. I could imagine there are some emails and other records out there that may have bearing on how that Pathfinder material was produced.
 

mamba

Hero
I don’t think this is quite correct. So far WotC have been very careful to state that OGL 1.0a is “no longer an authorized version” and can not be used to distribute, etc. open game content under the OGL. They have not explicitly revoked it
that is semantics, there is no appreciable difference
 

S'mon

Legend
It seems to me from reading this that Wizards could bring complaints that may well require discovery. They would certainly claim the SRD was copied, Paizo's lawyer would hold up OGL 1.0a, and I can see how the court would not require discovery to resolve that complaint.

But Wizards could also charge infringement of copyrighted material that was not in the SRD, for example, character creation and advancement. I could imagine there are some emails and other records out there that may have bearing on how that Pathfinder material was produced.

Yes indeed - however looking at the 3e SRD on a couple sites, I see full character creation rules for levels 1-20. Just no XP table; and PF uses a different XP table of course. And WoTC can always charge infringement of copyrighted material that is not in the SRD, any time they want.
 






pemerton

Legend
For arguments sake, lets assume this is also for a game that does not utilize WotC's SRD, so their only involvement is owning copyright of the license itself. My initial feelings are that the terms of license in question would solely be between GR and KP. My further thoughts are that a lawyer might bring the fact the license has been de-authorized by WotC into play in that case
I don't agree.

If you and I have entered into a contract, whose terms so happen to be expressed by the text of the OGL, nothing that WotC does affects our contract except for promulgating new authorised licences under section 9, which we have agreed between one another are variant terms on which our OGC can be licensed.

So far WotC have been very careful to state that OGL 1.0a is “no longer an authorized version” and can not be used to distribute, etc. open game content under the OGL.
This is one of the terms of the OGL v 1.1 as leaked, yes. So it would be binding on any part to the OGL v 1.1 - they would be voluntarily giving up the rights they currently enjoy, as against WotC, under their existing licence. (And promising not to take up such rights in the future.)

They have not explicitly revoked it or released the other parties from their responsibilities under the license. The other clauses of the license are under effect. Does WotC saying it is no longer authorized, remove the ability of Green Ronin to go after Kobold Press for violating the license somehow (not to suggest they have)?
I haven't read the OGL v 1.1 closely enough to try to work out if a party (say, G) contractually promise WotC not to proceed against another party (say, K) for K's violations of G's rights under a contract that exists between G and K having the terms of the OGL v 1.0/1.0a.

But raising the question makes sense. Because the whole point of the OGL/OGC regime is to create this intricate network of interlocking contracts. It's a private ordering, not a statutory one.
 

Staffan

Legend
Yes indeed - however looking at the 3e SRD on a couple sites, I see full character creation rules for levels 1-20. Just no XP table; and PF uses a different XP table of course. And WoTC can always charge infringement of copyrighted material that is not in the SRD, any time they want.
The old d20 System Trademark Guide (which was referenced by the d20 System Trademark License) had these definitions of "Character Creation" and "Applying the effects of Experience to a Character". The OGL did not forbid you from doing this, but the STL (via the Trademark Guide) did if you wanted to use the d20 logo, and these rules were specifically kept out of the SRD.

In my non-lawyer opinion, I think you'd have a hard time claiming copyright on the rules for character creation/advancement even if someone copied them from the PHB (though you'd probably have to rephrase them). That seems like the kind of process that copyright can't cover.

d20 System Trademark Guide said:
Definition of Character Creation:

Character creation means the process of generating and assigning initial scores to abilities, selecting a race, selecting a starting class, assigning initial skill points, selecting initial feats, selecting initial talents, selecting an occupation, and picking an initial alignment. You may, at your option, refer readers to the section on Character Creation in the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook or d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, including references to any of the named steps in the process for character creation. Character creation does not include creating or modifying the description of a race, a class, a skill, a talent or a feat.

You may indicate that a player should use a race, class, ability, etc., presented in a Covered Product in addition to, or exclusive of, those presented in the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook or d20 Modern Roleplaying Game. In no way should this paragraph be construed to allow you to present the process for creating a character as defined in the previous paragraph.

Definition of Applying the effects of Experience to a Character:

Applying the effects of Experience to a Character means the process for comparing the accumulated experience point total of a character to a chart to determine if the character's level should be incremented. If the experience level of a character exceeds threshold values as defined by the chart, the character is modified in a specified fashion.

Specifically, Applying the effects of Experience to a Character means incrementing the character level of a character by incrementing a class level by one rank, or by adding a new class at first level, and describing how to allocate new skill points, select new feats, select new talents, or gain new class-level linked abilities.

Applying the effects of Experience to a Character does not include creating or modifying an experience point chart or defining a new class (including describing what benefits that class provides at each level).
 

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