OGL My thoughts on the new OGL v1.2 draft


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LordRuyn

Explorer
Ah. So they say.
Indeed.
I posted this else where but we can't really negotiate with WotC on this because we don't have all the information.

WotC needs to let the 3pp under NDA out of their NDA. And they need to release the OGL 1.1 and all associated paperwork.
I would very much like to see that happen, but I also very much doubt it will. There's no good will to be gained there and it would be a losing proposition for them.
 

darjr

I crit!
Indeed.

I would very much like to see that happen, but I also very much doubt it will. There's no good will to be gained there and it would be a losing proposition for them.
I don't think so. It would make me think thier mea-culpa might actually be real.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I posted this else where but we can't really negotiate with WotC on this because we don't have all the information.

WotC needs to let the 3pp under NDA out of their NDA. And they need to release the OGL 1.1 and all associated paperwork.
I don't see the point.

If they were this willing to remove a ton from 1.1 to make 1.2, then 1.2 was an overzealous greedy opening bid.

We shouldn't waste bargaining capital on stuff WOTC no longer cares about. We need to focus their and our eyes on the stuff that matters to WOTC and Hasbro.
 

pemerton

Legend
Here's the text of the CC-BY, the version that WotC is proposing to use for some of its content: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode.txt

It's designed to effectively put works irrevocably into the public domain, worldwide. In consideration, you will always get credit as specified. At least, I think that's meant to be the "peppercorn".
I don't know enough IP law to try and work out the legal operation of a licence that puts work into the public domain. But that would already be a significant difference from the OGL, which expressly preserves the contributor's copyright as part of the mechanism whereby it operates.
 

pemerton

Legend
IANAL, but to my understanding it's a notice outside of the license with an effective date that is TBD. When the license is published the "de-authorization" goes into effect on the date stated.
I think that @Micah Sweet is asking what the legal effect is of the "deauthorisation".

If you don't publish anything under the 1.2, in what way does the de-authorizstion clause apply to you?
My view is that it withdraws WotC's offer to license their SRD to you under the terms set out in the OGL v 1.0a.
 

I don't know enough IP law to try and work out the legal operation of a licence that puts work into the public domain. But that would already be a significant difference from the OGL, which expressly preserves the contributor's copyright as part of the mechanism whereby it operates.
It doesn't actually put the work into public domain. It tries to do a very similar thing through what I believe is a contractual mechanism.
 

pemerton

Legend
It doesn't actually put the work into public domain. It tries to do a very similar thing through what I believe is a contractual mechanism.
OK, I was just going on your post here:
It's designed to effectively put works irrevocably into the public domain, worldwide.
Having had a quick look at the text that you linked to, I can't immediately see whether it's intended to operate as a contract, or as a conditional gratuitous licence. I don't know what mechanism, if any, precludes retraction.
 

rcade

Hero
I don't know enough IP law to try and work out the legal operation of a licence that puts work into the public domain. But that would already be a significant difference from the OGL, which expressly preserves the contributor's copyright as part of the mechanism whereby it operates.
Because it's surprisingly difficult to put something into the public domain worldwide, Creative Commons offers a license for that purpose:

 

ValamirCleaver

Jäger aus Kurpfalz
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:

Hasbro: We need this provision. This is about protecting our product and our brand from nitwits like nuTSR and others that might try and use this license and make us look bad. When we make mistakes (Hardozee) we can correct it. But if a 3PP is out there making D&D look bad, we need to be able to do something.

3PP: Yeah, but it's in your discretion. You can terminate it for any reason. And I can't do anything. How can I build a business with that uncertainty?

Hasbro: What? We want a successful community and 3PP. This is just to make sure that we get to decide what is best for the brand. We would work with anyone in good faith. We just don't want to get tied up in court forever because we're trying to get rid of some Stormfront D&D. But if you're working in good faith, of course we'd work with you! You trust us, right?

3PP: .....you've got to be kidding me.


Good post, as usual.
Here Raggi lays out some levelheaded, well-reasoned opinions & gives multiple historical examples of how similar "morality clauses" have existed in the past. He wonders how a "morality clause" might be used as a bludgeon if publicly held social mores drastically change. Here also gives a specific, real-world example of how the proposed "morality clause" is truly powerless to keep racist, homophobic, etc... RPG material from being published. He then ties it all into how something he published had won an ENnie award then became reviled 3 years later.


 
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rcade

Hero
My view is that it withdraws WotC's offer to license their SRD to you under the terms set out in the OGL v 1.0a.
WOTC is trying to unring a bell.

Courts will do what they do, but it should be impossible to ever take OGL 1.0a-licensed content out of the commons after it was published. It would be like someone publishing a book under a CC-BY-SA license 20 years ago and announcing today "we are withdrawing the license so it is no longer permitted to share that book. Tick tock the game is locked nobody else can play." The book would still be out there with CC-BY-SA and derivative works would be too under CC-BY-SA.

In 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, there will still be works out there with the OGL 1.0a inside, enticing people to reuse the content under its terms. Some publishers will do this.

Is WOTC capable of playing whack-a-mole forever to stop them? Would there even be benefit to doing that long-term?
 

WOTC is trying to unring a bell.

Courts will do what they do, but it should be impossible to ever take OGL 1.0a-licensed content out of the commons after it was published. It would be like someone publishing a book under a CC-BY-SA license 20 years ago and announcing today "we are withdrawing the license so it is no longer permitted to share that book. Tick tock the game is locked nobody else can play." The book would still be out there with CC-BY-SA and derivative works would be too under CC-BY-SA.

In 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, there will still be works out there with the OGL 1.0a inside, enticing people to reuse the content under its terms. Some publishers will do this.

Is WOTC capable of playing whack-a-mole forever to stop them? Would there even be benefit to doing that long-term?
Bad precedent here would wreak havoc on the entire IT industry. We're talking critical infrastructure there too. A huge part of the programming world relies on permissive licenses like the Apache license and the BSD license.
 

pemerton

Legend
WOTC is trying to unring a bell.

Courts will do what they do, but it should be impossible to ever take OGL 1.0a-licensed content out of the commons after it was published.
Clearly that was the result Ryan Dancey wanted to achieve. And it seems that, at the time, WotC believed it had been achieved. I think there are plausible arguments that it has been achieved, but I think there are also plausible arguments to the contrary.

I think the strongest arguments against WotC turn on their FAQ and related conduct and representations, rather than on purely textual interpretation.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Bad precedent here would wreak havoc on the entire IT industry. We're talking critical infrastructure there too. A huge part of the programming world relies on permissive licenses like the Apache license and the BSD license.
As someone pointed out in another thread, setting the precedent that a perpetual license can be "deauthorized" means WizBro could find themselves unable to legally use any software developed since 1998.
 

pemerton

Legend
As someone pointed out in another thread, setting the precedent that a perpetual license can be "deauthorized" means WizBro could find themselves unable to legally use any software developed since 1998.
If WotC litigates, they won't be arguing over the meaning and operation of those software licences. They'll be arguing over the legal meaning and operation of their own licensing agreement.
 

rcade

Hero
Clearly that was the result Ryan Dancey wanted to achieve. And it seems that, at the time, WotC believed it had been achieved. I think there are plausible arguments that it has been achieved, but I think there are also plausible arguments to the contrary.
There's also a moral argument for protecting the open gaming commons. If a person or company has contributed work to the commons under OGL 1.0a, they intended it to be shared forever under those terms. Some of those people and companies no longer exist. They won't be moving to another license. Even if the OGL commons doesn't grow like it used to because publishers begin using the ORC, we should fight for rights of new reusers to grow the OGL commons.
 



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