Paizo Posts New Draft of ORC License

Adds clarity, more FAQ information, and other changes

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A second draft of the Open RPG Creative (ORC) license has been posted by Paizo, incorporating changes based on feedback on the first draft.

This second draft incorporates changes and suggestions from hundreds of participating publishers on the ORC License Discord community, adds significant clarity to key terms and definitions, substantially increases the size and scope of the project’s official FAQ, and introduces several basic quality-of-life improvements across the board.

You can download a copy of the ORC license and its associated FAQ/AxE (Answers and Explanations) document below. Our intention is to solicit “final” feedback on the ORC License Discord until the end of the day NEXT Monday, May 22nd. We intend for this wave of commentary to be the last round before presenting the truly final version of the license, which we plan to release by the end of May.

Our deepest thanks to all project participants. Your feedback has been invaluable in making the ORC License an ideal open gaming license that will serve the community long into the future.

A new era of open gaming is nearly here!
 

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kenada

Legend
Supporter
Computer code is far more intricate than tabletop RPG mechanics. I doubt anything playable at the table comes close. And the only two companies with pockets deep enough to find out also have the most to lose from pressing the issue.
The rulings weren’t regarding computer code. The courts found there was a boundary where mechanics crossed over from functional to expressive. Like, in RPGs an attack roll or skill check is obviously functional. Elves? Wizards? Given there are different ways of expressing those, an argument could be made that how you do so mechanically is expressive not functional.

However, I agree we’re unlikely to find out where that boundary is or if it even exists for RPGs. The risk of finding out that RPG mechanics aren’t covered is too high. Maybe if the market had more players (like video games), it would be inevitable that someone would take a case all the way, but it’s doesn’t, so it’s not likely.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
I suppose it is, but that was the feeling given. Notice, for example, all of the statements of freeloading in this thread.
I stand by those statements, which were made regarding specific attitudes. If someone chooses to make their work available permissively, that’s their choice. It’s when people start expecting or demanding it that it becomes unreasonable, especially if they have no intention of reciprocating that permissively to their downstream users.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I stand by those statements, which were made regarding specific attitudes. If someone chooses to make their work available permissively, that’s their choice. It’s when people start expecting or demanding it that it becomes unreasonable, especially if they have no intention of reciprocating that permissively to their downstream users.
The thing is, that option of control being available is how RPG open licenses have always worked in practice. A creator wanting the full functionality that theybare used to isn't wanting to be a freeloader, it's just wanting the same options the OGL and CC have offered. And the solution is simple enough, a lot of people will just stick with the OGL and CC ecosystems.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
The thing is, that option of control being available is how RPG open licenses have always worked in practice. A creator wanting the full functionality that theybare used to isn't wanting to be a freeloader, it's just wanting the same options the OGL and CC have offered. And the solution is simple enough, a lot of people will just stick with the OGL and CC ecosystems.
There are two issues here. In a practical sense, if you don’t want to give back, then don’t use content with a license that requires it. It’s really that simple. If that’s what people end up doing, then it seems like a good thing to me.

The other is the nature of the OGL. I think it’s a shame it wasn’t clear enough about what it required. That people were able to take advantage of that lack of clarity does not make a compelling case for continuing it in a successor license. It seems like it should make the opposite case, assuming one cares about the creators of the original work rather than just those using it.

Again, if the change in licensing means some people will only use permissively licensed content, then that seems like how it should be. Good on them for doing the right thing. The ones I’m calling out (as freeloaders) are those who want to continue the status quo of taking advantage. I don’t think that’s a reasonable position, and I disagree with it pretty fundamentally.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
There are two issues here. In a practical sense, if you don’t want to give back, then don’t use content with a license that requires it. It’s really that simple. If that’s what people end up doing, then it seems like a good thing to me.

The other is the nature of the OGL. I think it’s a shame it wasn’t clear enough about what it required. That people were able to take advantage of that lack of clarity does not make a compelling case for continuing it in a successor license. It seems like it should make the opposite case, assuming one cares about the creators of the original work rather than just those using it.

Again, if the change in licensing means some people will only use permissively licensed content, then that seems like how it should be. Good on them for doing the right thing. The ones I’m calling out (as freeloaders) are those who want to continue the status quo of taking advantage. I don’t think that’s a reasonable position, and I disagree with it pretty fundamentally.
Wanting to continue the traditional approach to using and sharing content seems perfectly reasonable, and it makes sense to me that being called "freeloaders" might be off-putting.

As this stands, yeah, simply a lot of people will probably avoid working in the ORC ecosystem, when other options more in their favor exist (and other market factors).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Wanting to continue the traditional approach to using and sharing content seems perfectly reasonable, and it makes sense to me that being called "freeloaders" might be off-putting.
Honestly, good. Fie on them. The “traditional approach” involves exploiting of a lack of clarity in the license. What I’m calling is unreasonable is the expectation that others should continue producing content for their benefit. Note that I’m not calling out preferring a permissive license. That’s fine. What’s at issue is the want for maintaining the status quo with a defective license.

As this stands, yeah, simply a lot of people will probably avoid working in the ORC ecosystem, when other options more in their favor exist (and other market factors).
My guess is there will be a mix. There will be systems with a stripped down SRD licensed under CC-BY, and there will be games using the ORC license. There will also be games with special licenses for making content for their game, but you won’t be able to use their mechanics for a new game. There’s no need for everyone to use the same license or approach.
 


dbolack

Adventurer
The ORC license authors are explicit about their intent to create a copyleft license. I don’t think making it more permissive was ever on the table, so I’m not surprised it would get a poor reception. If you want to make a base system with a more permissive license while reserving setting-specific stuff, why not use one that already exists (like CC-BY)? I know Blades in the Dark does that, and I was considering that model before the ORC license was announced.

At the time I joined the discussions, no, I would not say explicit. The louder parts of the (pre)fanbase did, but there's always a chunk that claims to speak for the silent majority. My mistake was assuming they wanted feedback. :)

I have yet to do research on how CC-BY works for print and/or mixed content. That might work. I have seen claims. Dunno.
 

There are two issues here. In a practical sense, if you don’t want to give back, then don’t use content with a license that requires it. It’s really that simple. If that’s what people end up doing, then it seems like a good thing to me.

The other is the nature of the OGL. I think it’s a shame it wasn’t clear enough about what it required. That people were able to take advantage of that lack of clarity does not make a compelling case for continuing it in a successor license. It seems like it should make the opposite case, assuming one cares about the creators of the original work rather than just those using it.

Again, if the change in licensing means some people will only use permissively licensed content, then that seems like how it should be. Good on them for doing the right thing. The ones I’m calling out (as freeloaders) are those who want to continue the status quo of taking advantage. I don’t think that’s a reasonable position, and I disagree with it pretty fundamentally.
I'll just note that seeing several publishers and content creators very angrily calling out WotC during the OGL Fiasco and changing their avatars to "Open DnD" while simultaneously opening up little to none of their own content by using highly restrictive OGC declarations that back in the 3.x era would have widely been considered license violations was interesting to observe. 🤔
 

dbolack

Adventurer
Computer code is far more intricate than tabletop RPG mechanics. I doubt anything playable at the table comes close. And the only two companies with pockets deep enough to find out also have the most to lose from pressing the issue.

Agreed. I think it will come down to something like in patents where simple/known/established things are not protectable but suitably unique combinations are. It's not so much "mechanics" that are protected, but systems of mechanics. And yes it would require the folks with the most to lose to go to court to get it decided when it's easier to ignore a probable infringement - particularly when operating on an "All gaming is Taco Bell" plan.

There are two obvious safe harbor spaces here. The way that OGL was used ( misused/misread. Pick your poison ) where a publisher could designate something as "don't use please, thanks" or the ORC way of "all crunch is open." Both have value but slightly different use cases.
 

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