OGL My thoughts on the new OGL v1.2 draft

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It's better. It's certainly better. But it's still not good. These are suggestions I would make for their feedback survey.

Revocability. It says it's irrevocable, but it's not -- while WotC can terminate your license at any time (they just say your content is 'harmful' or 'obscene' at their discretion, and you cannot even challenge them about it), it is still revocable at their whim. They can put an OGL publisher out of business with the flick of a pen.

The key phrase is -- "We have the sole right to decide what conduct or content is hateful, and you covenant that you will not contest any such determination via any suit or other legal action."

Will they? They say they won't. But they also said to us they wouldn't revoke the OGL v1.0a., and now they're trying to. So what they say doesn't matter--all that matters is that legal text.

I applaud the desire to keep bigotry and hateful content away from our hobby. It's something I work hard to do, too. We know NuTSR is out there, doing that stuff, and I understand why WotC wouldn't want them within a million miles of their brand. But a single company can't be the one to decide the fate of another. That decision would be better made by some kind of arbitrary panel made up of people not involved in that dispute. Not WotC (which, let's face it, has made some big misteps regarding their own content recently).

Termination. Linked to revocation, above. The text says "We may immediately terminate your license if you infringe any of our intellectual property; bring an action challenging our ownership of Our Licensed Content, trademarks, or patents; violate any law in relation to your activities under this license; or violate Section 6(f)."

Who decides whether we have infringed any of their intellectual property? Them, presumably? What do they consider infringement? What if I consider it fair use? I can't go to the courts for resolution; it says so right there. Violate any law? If I speed to get to a company meeting to discuss the content of our next book, can they immeidately terminate the license? This stuff is all too vague.

OGL v1.0a. They're still revoking OGL v1.0a. That is still not something I believe, and many others believe -- including themselves at the time -- they can legally or ethically do. It also makes no sense -- "Any previously published content remains licensed under whichever version of the OGL was in effect when you published that content." It's either a valid license or it isn't.

Good stuff? Is there good stuff? Well, there's an absence of some of the leaked bad stuff. But the bad stuff already isn't in OGL v1.0a, so 'not doing bad stuff' is a low bar. No royalties, no ownership issues, that's good. Not being able to change it at-will, that's good (but they can still just take it away from you). I say 'good'; I just mean 'not bad'.

Works covered. It needs clarity on web pages. Right now it covers "printed media and static electronic files (such as epubs or pdfs)". What about a web page with game content on it? Is that a static electronic file? Probably not, if it's managed by some kind of content management system or database. They claimed this was about NFTs. Well, make it about NFTs then.

Creative Commons. Eh. They already gave all that away and more under the original OGL. I feel like that sounds generous, but it's actually a reduction in the amount of freely available content (if you accept that the recovation of 1.0a is valid).

So, it's better, but it's still fundamentally flawed IMO. This would be my suggestion for their feedback form.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

OGL v1.0a. They're still revoking OGL v1.0a. That is still not something I believe, and many others believe -- including themselves at the time -- they can legally or ethically do. It also makes no sense -- "Any previously published content remains licensed under whichever version of the OGL was in effect when you published that content." It's either a valid license or it isn't.
Exactly. It doesn't address the concerns Justin Alexander eloquently brings up in this Twitter thread. And these are my main concerns as well. I don't personally care so much about what they want to do going forward; I care about the cultural vandalism left in the wake of this illegal scheme.

I haven't bought anything from Hasbro/WotC in more than a decade, and I'm obviously not about to. I'm not going to go into business with them either, under any terms. But I'll happily donate monthly to a legal defense fund to save our collective rights in this significant cultural heritage, most of which wasn't donated by WotC in the first place.

 
Last edited:

Aldarc

Legend
OGL v1.0a. They're still revoking OGL v1.0a. That is still not something I believe, and many others believe -- including themselves at the time -- they can legally or ethically do. It also makes no sense -- "Any previously published content remains licensed under whichever version of the OGL was in effect when you published that content." It's either a valid license or it isn't.
But this may be WotC's Immovable Object. If people can't agree on that point, what then?
 

It's better. It's certainly better. But it's still not good. These are suggestions I would make for their feedback survey.

Revocability. It says it's irrevocable, but it's not -- while WotC can terminate your license at any time (they just say your content is 'harmful' or 'obscene' at their discretion, and you cannot even challenge them about it), it is still revocable at their whim. They can put an OGL publisher out of business with the flick of a pen.

The key phrase is -- "We have the sole right to decide what conduct or content is hateful, and you covenant that you will not contest any such determination via any suit or other legal action."

Will they? They say they won't. But they also said to us they wouldn't revoke the OGL v1.0a., and now they're trying to. So what they say doesn't matter--all that matters is that legal text.

I applaud the desire to keep bigotry and hateful content away from our hobby. It's something I work hard to do, too. We know NuTSR is out there, doing that stuff, and I understand why WotC wouldn't want them within a million miles of their brand. But a single company can't be the one to decide the fate of another. That decision would be better made by some kind of arbitrary panel made up of people not involved in that dispute. Not WotC (which, let's face it, has made some big misteps regarding their own content recently).

OGL v1.0a. They're still revoking OGL v1.0a. That is still not something I believe, and many others believe -- including themselves at the time -- they can legally or ethically do. It also makes no sense -- "Any previously published content remains licensed under whichever version of the OGL was in effect when you published that content." It's either a valid license or it isn't.

Good stuff? Is there good stuff? Well, there's an absence of some of the leaked bad stuff. But the bad stuff already isn't in OGL v1.0a, so 'not doing bad stuff' is a low bar. No royalties, no ownership issues, that's good. Not being able to change it at-will, that's good (but they can still just take it away from you). I say 'good'; I just mean 'not bad'.

Works covered. It needs clarity on web pages. Right now it covers "printed media and static electronic files (such as epubs or pdfs)". What about a web page with game content on it? Is that a static electronic file? Probably not, if it's managed by some kind of content management system or database. They claimed this was about NFTs. Well, make it about NFTs then.

Creative Commons. Eh. They already gave all that away and more under the original OGL. I feel like that sounds generous, but it's actually a reduction in the amount of freely available content (if you accept that the recovation of 1.0a is valid).

So, it's better, but it's still fundamentally flawed IMO. This would be my suggestion for their feedback form.

This is my take as well. IMO, the only change that happened was the alignment of the presentation of the changes. It went from Stupid Evil to Clever Evil.

joe b.
 


eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
The key phrase is -- "We have the sole right to decide what conduct or content is hateful, and you covenant that you will not contest any such determination via any suit or other legal action."

Will they? They say they won't. But they also said to us they wouldn't revoke the OGL v1.0a., and now they're trying to. So what they say doesn't matter--all that matters is that legal text.
This is key.

We can't ever assume good faith because they already have proven that they can't be trusted to act in good faith.

There need to be mechanisms within the agreement to enforce compliance.
 



I would never count on WotC losing. Given the way some judges rule, they could just as easy score massive victories.
Nah. I don't live in a hellhole subjected to judicial capture by corporations. Jurisprudence here is largely consumer-friendly, and that license agreement is worldwide and contains no language concerning choice of law. Which, of course, is why they aren't likely to be suing me in the first place. The only worse OECD jurisdiction for them would probably be Iceland.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
The other thing, mentioned the the twitter thread above that @Aspirinsmurf posted is that, if WOTC "de-authorizes" the old OGL, what exactly happens to all the other non-WOTC derived open game content that's been used in works? Wizard's can't also provide permission to keep using it or render permission to use it under OGL 1.2, it simply does not have the power to grant a license to other people's content. This would leave a ton of published works essentially dead because, even if you wanted to re-publish under OGL 1.2, the dubious legality of it would likely stop you.

Which then, again, raises the question of what the real goal here is.
 

xiphumor

Hero
I would never count on WotC losing. Given the way some judges rule, they could just as easy score massive victories.
The nice thing is that became of the leak, WotC would be sued by other creators first for trying to deauthorize the OGL rather than it going to court because WotC sued some poor sap, which helps frame what’s at issue in the case.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The other thing, mentioned the the twitter thread above that @Aspirinsmurf posted is that, if WOTC "de-authorizes" the old OGL, what exactly happens to all the other non-WOTC derived open game content that's been used in works?
They'll need to switch to another license. They don't need the OGL, it's just convenient. The ORC or CC or something will do the job. It would be up to the licensors how their licensees should handle that, but it could be covered by a simple announcement.
 


The nice thing is that became of the leak, WotC would be sued by other creators first for trying to deauthorize the OGL rather than it going to court because WotC sued some poor sap, which helps frame what’s at issue in the case.
I'm not entirely sure if this is to our advantage. I'd personally much rather get sued as a consumer activist in Norway than having to go against WotC in the US state of Washington.
 

They'll need to switch to another license. They don't need the OGL, it's just convenient. The ORC or CC or something will do the job. It would be up to the licensors how their licensees should handle that, but it could be covered by a simple announcement.
There are orphaned works entangled in those ecosystems. So this is impossible. It's a nuclear wasteland at that point.
 

pemerton

Legend
The other thing, mentioned the the twitter thread above that @Aspirinsmurf posted is that, if WOTC "de-authorizes" the old OGL, what exactly happens to all the other non-WOTC derived open game content that's been used in works?
Are you referring to OGC that is in some fashion derived from a WotC-owned SRD?

Or to OGC that is part of a completely separate ecology (eg Mongoose Traveller; Evil Hat Fate).

First case: it is possible that use of the derived material, in the absence of a licence, could make a publisher liable for infringing WotC's copyright.

Second case: WotC has no contractual relationship to either licensor or licensee. But those two parties have promised one another, under certain circumstances, to reproduce the text of the OGL v 1.0a, over which WotC claims copyright. So fulfilling their contractual obligations to one another may oblige them to infringe WotC's copyright. But there are probably arguments available that they enjoy some sort of express or implicit permission from WotC to reproduce the text of the OGL v 1.0a (eg based on WotC's conduct encouraging other parties to join the open RPG movement).
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
They'll need to switch to another license. They don't need the OGL, it's just convenient. The ORC or CC or something will do the job. It would be up to the licensors how their licensees should handle that, but it could be covered by a simple announcement.
Right, but if say OGL 1.0a is "de-authorized" and nobody challenges it and it becomes the de-facto state of affairs, and you switch to ORC, wouldn't all the open game content from others you use and cite, right now, in your game (if any, I don't actually know) need to also switch to ORC and re-designate the same content as open game content?

How else could that work?
 


eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Or to OGC that is part of a completely separate ecology (eg Mongoose Traveller; Evil Hat Fate).
Right, sure, completely unrelated to WOTC so Mongoose, or some other guy who made a brand new Psionic Power in a different 3PP book who then designated it as open game content and you use it in your 3pp book and cite it as used open game content, as is the standard now.
 


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top