My thoughts on the new OGL v1.2 draft

Ah. That's one of those bits that I copied wholesale from a for-profit OGL print product (I don't want to potentially get anyone else in trouble, so I won't say which one). I've seen it used in a lot of OGL v1.0a products, and didn't think it was an issue.
I think you're also in breach of Section 7 by implying compatibility with Future D20, which is probably someone's trademark. You have thirty days to cure that now that you've become aware of it. :p
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I know you think this is something we just have to accept based on what they've been willing to surrender, but I don't believe it for a minute.

That's not it, at all.

I think that unless you understand motivations, you are likely to keep falling into the same traps. If your red line is "1.0a or nothing" (as I wrote at the beginning of the part you excerpted from) then ... well, that's your motivation.

But if Hasbro's response is, "Okay, nothing," because their red line is some ability to ensure that licensees using licensed content do not reflect badly on the brand ("OGL Stormfront & Swastikas") then that's helpful to know as well. As you see, there are a number of other people that are at least sympathetic to that - if not the exact implementation of it.

Accept what you want. Or don't. The sun will rise, the sun will set, and life will move on regardless of how super-duper important this seems right now. ¯\(ツ)
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
For me, it's because if either WotC or a company who bought WotC abuses this clause, I would simply stop buying product from them. And with the core rules existing in CC and apart from any one companies control, I'm sure I could find another system using the core rules of D&D from another company. For example, I recently deleted my Twitter account due to the person who bought that company.
That's all entirely legitimate, but it doesn't speak to the potential harm caused to the publisher whose product WotC has terminated (the premise being that you'd find said product not warranting such an action). Given that your dropping WotC provides only the most minimal, indirect help for the publisher so wronged (if that), isn't it better to prevent WotC from doing such a thing in the first place? Especially since there's no method of appealing WotC's terminating their right to the use license, nor recompense for said publisher should WotC reverse their decision?
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Cross-posting from D&D Beyond, my first post on the DDB Forums:

Problems with OGL 1.2a from the perspective of a 3rd party publisher. (Very small, my first book is on kickstarter, now)

1) De-authorization of OGL 1.0a.


I write for Level Up! and the Gate Pass Gazette through EN Publishing using a sublicense of 1.0a. Once 1.0a is deauthorized, I cannot create more Level Up! or Gate Pass Gazette content. In fact no one can until either the OGL from Level Up! is removed through a Revised Edition (expensive) or EN Publishing re-publishes Level Up! with the new 1.2a license (less expensive, but locks them into 1.2a). But even the idea that WotC can unilaterally declare a version of the OGL to be "Deauthorized" results in a situation where every year, or few years, we wind up back at this point. With WotC creating their next OGL and all previous works by a company being locked down until either the OGL is removed (expensive) or they sign the new OGL (less expensive, but locks them into the new license)

It means I have no real legal protection, here, on my publishing, since the terms and conditions can change moment to moment. The OGL was implemented as a powerful foundation meant to give 3pp a sense of structure and stability around the use of the SRD to create more content for the game we all love and not fear going bankrupt to WotC's legal fees. The idea that the foundation of all of our work, and businesses, could be ripped up at a moment's notice so WotC can dictate terms on a -new- foundation is untenable.

The OGL 1.0a cannot be de-authorized if we're to move forward. It needs to be enshrined, permanently, as the 5e/3e legal document it was created to be.

If they want their new clauses, it needs to be an OGL/GSL situation. And we all saw how many people were willing to publish under the GSL.

2. The Morality Clause

Very nifty in theory. Very dangerous in practice. Particularly in their "Revoke the License at our discretion" with no legal recourse. I'm a bisexual transgender white woman, so the basic idea of WotC protecting my work and their own work from hateful and awful new works (like NuTSR's Star Frontiers boondoggle) is actually really joyous! But. It still gives them unilateral ability to decide what is and isn't hateful with no legal recourse or third party arbitration. Which could result in a tolerance of intolerance situation in which presenting bigots as bad guys is "Hateful Content" and my license gets pulled. I don't know if anyone is willing to risk that kind of nonsense.

3. The Illegality Clause

Again, seems like a great idea! You can't publish illegal content. What a no-brainer! But... LGBTQIA+ characters or existence being shown in a positive light is illegal in Russia. Paranormal Power includes a brief passage about a nonbinary child using Psionic Abilities. If I sell a copy of Paranormal Power to a Russian Citizen, I've broken Russian Law, and WotC would have legal authority to revoke my license. Even if WotC itself opposes that law, all it takes is one person at WotC with a modicum of power to say "I don't like this Steampunkette person and her work." and blammo. License revoked, no further content from me, and I have no legal recourse to oppose the decision.

Heck, Florida and other states are looking to pass laws where "Exposing Children" to LGBTQIA+ content or existence will be illegal. Which means I'd need to slap an 18+ warning on Paranormal Power to sell it in the US under OGL 1.2a to avoid getting my license revoked. How messed up is that?

4. Methods into Creative Commons

It's a nice gesture. But as every copyright and trademark lawyer has said over the past several weeks (and some have been screaming for years) you cannot copyright 1d20+Modifiers. It's a method or game rule rather than any form of specific protected intellectual property. By announcing they're putting the base rules of the game (but not anything they can apply IP law toward) into Creative Commons they've reached out with an olive branch made of balsa wood.

They're saying "We won't sue you into oblivion over these rules" which is great and all, but it also acknowledges that the only reason those rules were in the OGL before was an attempt to bully people into using it with legalese and the implication they'd sue us into oblivion. Even knowing they could never "Win" such a case they could drag it out over however long it took to bankrupt a 3rd party publisher.

So it's -kind- of a nothingburger and kind of a "This is already the status quo, we're just gonna make it official and unload one of the guns we've been pointing at your head in a show of good faith."

5. Summation

The OGL was meant to last forever. It was meant to be irrevocable and permanent. It was never meant to be "De-Authorized" at any point. The terms WotC is trying to use to get rid of it -now- did not exist as specific legal concepts when it was written, and the architects of the OGL have explained that, repeatedly. There is no situation where getting rid of the OGL 1.0a is a good thing or a positive step. Particularly since it shows WotC is entirely willing to blow up any deal it has previously made to increase the control and power they now possess for their shareholders.

WotC can no longer be trusted by third party publishers. There is no real "Path Forward" after this. The best they can do is enshrine 1.0a and pretend this fiasco never happened, but the ORC is still going to be written. And most publishers aware of this event will be signing on to it, or Creative Commons, or some other license that offers real stability long-term.

Even if they took out all the poison pills, it still can't be trusted. Wizards have shown they'll change terms whenever the like. No contract will ever be held in good faith.
 

But if Hasbro's response is, "Okay, nothing," because their red line is some ability to ensure that licensees using licensed content do not reflect badly on the brand ("OGL Stormfront & Swastikas") then that's helpful to know as well.
As I said, I find it almost impossible to believe that anyone accepts this is why they're saying, "Okay, nothing." They want to get rid of 1.0a to protect their $146 million (and counting) investment. That simple.
As you see, there are a number of other people that are at least sympathetic to that - if not the exact implementation of it.
I'm sympathetic to it, for some meaning of "sympathetic." I just don't think this is what Wizards is nuking the commons over, and I'm flabbergasted that you do.

Incidentally, I don't care that much about the VTT stuff. I'd strongly prefer that they compete with other providers rather than wall off their product, but losing that possible future is hardly the worst outcome from all this. If they can find a way to wall off their garden without nuking the commons (perhaps by putting all the SRDs under the new license), I'd consider that a win.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I posted this a few days ago. After seeing their new draft, while much better, I don't see any carrots there

1674233486001.png
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
...
I think that this is fundamental to keep in mind when discussing this. In other words, unless Hasbro is just like, "Eh, whatevs, man, OGL 1.0a 4LYFE" whatever is on offer will always be fundamentally flawed if you are comparing it to what came before.

On the other hand, this is (as you acknowledge) better. Assuming that there is a new OGL, I think the fundamental dividing line is always going to be the harmful/obscene/harassing/illegal content provision. Here's the debate as I see it:
...

Additional text omitted.

I would expect the limitation of the new license to text and static resources would be also be a big problem. Are apps which help build characters allowed? What about encounter builders? As discussed previously, dynamic lighting in a VTT seems disallowed.

Plus, from what I can tell, what is allowed isn't very well defined. There was a brief explanation that seemed hardly definitive enough.

TomB
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
As I said, I find it almost impossible to believe that anyone accepts this is why they're saying, "Okay, nothing." They want to get rid of 1.0a to protect their $146 million (and counting) investment. That simple.

I'm sympathetic to it, for some meaning of "sympathetic." I just don't think this is what Wizards is nuking the commons over, and I'm flabbergasted that you do.

Incidentally, I don't care that much about the VTT stuff. I'd strongly prefer that they compete with other providers rather than wall off their product, but losing that possible future is hardly the worst outcome from all this. If they can find a way to wall off their garden without nuking the commons (perhaps by putting all the SRDs under the new license), I'd consider that a win.

Why are you flabbergasted?

Brands care about two main things. Control, and money. You are flabbergasted that I would believe that a major part of this is to control the brand and ensure that nothing reflects badly on it?

Have you ever dealt with a company before that is protecting its brand? And you are flabergasted that anyone would think that their main goal is control, after they completely gave up on royalties immediately but have kept that provision?

Okay. I guess we have a different take on the situation. It happens!
 

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