Legal Eagle ft Matt Colville on the OGL


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Tazawa

Adventurer
That the mechanics are uncopyrightable is not in question.

The sticky wicket is whether terminology such as the six ability scores, saving throws, etc. are considered such.

The are almost certainly uncopyrightable. They have been used in countless other games that do not use the OGL or a license from WotC. Saving throw, armor class, hit points are all terms from old wargames and were adopted into D&D by TSR without issues of copyright infringement.
 

Ondath

Hero
What part is wrong now?
This part:
TLDR: you don't need permission to make something "compatible with" DnD. Home brew and 3rd party adventure where always legal.

You just need it for using stuff like their logo, beholder, drizzt, or directly copying rules from the SRD, like quoting the fireball spell in a monster stat block.

OGL gives permission for some of that stuff.
You cannot use these under the OGL.
 


Did anyone end up listening to that Opening Arguments podcast that was supposed to debunk the whole Gizmodo article or something? I know it's out, but I'm just not that interested in listening to it. Wondering if anyone who did listen could give a summary.
 

p_johnston

Adventurer
So it might be interesting to go through the SRD and see how many things in there are actually copyrightable.
My instinct is that like 95% isnt with a few exceptions (like maybe halflings).

Thing is that being legally in the wrong doesnt stop WOTC from suing you into bankrputcy.
 

Did anyone end up listening to that Opening Arguments podcast that was supposed to debunk the whole Gizmodo article or something? I know it's out, but I'm just not that interested in listening to it. Wondering if anyone who did listen could give a summary.
I don't pay so haven't listened. But the comments on Twitter, are something...

It seems like an awful lot of OA's fans/patreon payers think OA missed the mark here, and missed the forest for the trees. And they describe the podcast quite a bit.

It apparently doesn't actually "debunk" anything. They spend 15-20 minutes "debunking" a single sentence Linda wrote, which they've misunderstood (it is admittedly ambiguous the way Linda put it, but you can see from Linda's other articles that Linda does understand it correctly - the same way as the OA guys).

Everything else, it's just what we already know.

They were saying that they were going argue that 1.1 was opt-in, but then they did not.

They actually argued that 1.1 works exactly the way we think it does - i.e. you can never make a new OGL 1.0a product ever again. Doesn't matter if you've made them before.

The OA guys are pretty salty/whiny/butthurt about the reaction, I think this like, only second time ever their fans have been disappointed in them. Loads of people particularly said "Why the heck did you only focus on Linda's article, and didn't actually look the whole issue?" and they don't really have a great response for that.

However, they do agree NO ONE should ever sign the OGL 1.1! So there is that takeaway. They believe the provisions re: ownership were absolutely completely insane, and not the "boilerplate" WotC implied, and on those grounds, no-one should have signed.
 
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(like maybe halflings)
I think they'd be lucky.

D&D also didn't invent the term, that's Tolkien. D&D started using halfling after they got sued (!!!) by the Tolkien estate for using hobbit, as a compromise. And I suspect it's been used by other fantasy authors and non-OGL/pre-OGL RPGs a fair bit.

It's going to be very little in the SRD, if anything. You might be able to claim some of the monsters, but it's going to be a stretch and it'll mostly be obscure ones like Chuuls, because all the big boys they can definitely claim are in the exclusions section of the OGL 1.0a.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Thing is that being legally in the wrong doesnt stop WOTC from suing you into bankrputcy.
Yeah. That’s the problem right there. If the person sued is big enough or liked enough in the community then the community would likely rally to the cause, but a smaller unknown, not likely.
 

Ondath

Hero
Did anyone end up listening to that Opening Arguments podcast that was supposed to debunk the whole Gizmodo article or something? I know it's out, but I'm just not that interested in listening to it. Wondering if anyone who did listen could give a summary.
I made a thread to see if anyone did!


Nobody answered. :(
 

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