Paizo Posts New Draft of ORC License

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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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Parmandur

Book-Friend
ORC is stuck in the same room with the same elephant as all other open licenses WRT any D&D-like, WotC can still sue you and simply say that your ripping them off. This was ALWAYS the business case for using the OGL and it hasn't changed one bit! Given that reality OGL will always have a huge extra appeal over ORC et al. as it IS a pretty good bet WotC won't come after you for using it. Now that they've clarified their understanding of OGL as being irrevocable and viral, or at least stated they don't intend to press that issue, it seems like the more desirable of the two licenses, from a legal standpoint. ORC is probably a better choice if you are designing a game 'whole cloth' that is not in any way D&D-like, though, as it seems to clarify certain points, though I am still personally of a mind that CC licenses are more proven and may work better.
If I were making a D&D product, I'd use the CC option and material. The use case for ORC seems to me to be for anyone making PF2E material...but when then, if I were making PF2E material, using the OGL seems like a better bet, and allows for a lot of d&D-isms ORC cuts off. And it's an even better bet Paizo won't sue anyone who sticks with the OGL!
 

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anting a new OGL replacement to work in the same way as has been industry standard for 20 years hardly seems in bad faith.
Yeah, except, as I read it, OGL is SUPPOSED to exclude mechanics from being PI, just like ORC does. It is merely a quirk of the way it is worded which (arguably, though I think its a weak argument myself) allows people to get away with using it in what you are claiming is the 'industry standard' way. My guess is 90% of the people reading the license think it works the way it was meant to. So, by utilizing a different interpretation IMHO you are not acting in good faith.

Think of it this way, I license you my mechanics by implication as the OGL seems to envision. You then add some additional mechanics to my core game engine and designate your OGC. That is NOT good faith! Its you building off my work and not sharing yours back, which was exactly the benefit I anticipated from using an open license in the first place!

And philosophically, how is it that copyleft can function if you can simply derive stuff from other people's work and call it not part of the community contribution? MY contribution is now having lesser value because your work, which fundamentally depends on it, has attracted those eyeballs, and I'm left with no way to do the corresponding thing, again as I intended to be able to do by using the OGL!

I get that there are permissive licenses, but people KNOW they are using them when they use them. Their use cases are also quite different from open licenses. Bending one so it looks like the other and then claiming the cover that you are just doing what other people do with a completely different license regime doesn't seem honest to me.

I really haven't followed the whole ORC debate much, so I'm not hostile to the possibility that there's some sort of third way to argue this, but on the face of it, the whole thing doesn't wash.
 

If I were making a D&D product, I'd use the CC option and material. The use case for ORC seems to me to be for anyone making PF2E material...but when then, if I were making PF2E material, using the OGL seems like a better bet, and allows for a lot of d&D-isms ORC cuts off. And it's an even better bet Paizo won't sue anyone who sticks with the OGL!
I'm a bit confused by why you would think CC is a good option for D&D-like, as it leaves you completely open to WotC claims that you need to abide by the OGL to use their 'stuff'. I get that any claim they make could be weak, and CC is a good license, but the whole point is OGL makes the Ogre Go Left instead of Right (hahaha, yes funny).
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah, except, as I read it, OGL is SUPPOSED to exclude mechanics from being PI, just like ORC does. It is merely a quirk of the way it is worded which (arguably, though I think its a weak argument myself) allows people to get away with using it in what you are claiming is the 'industry standard' way. My guess is 90% of the people reading the license think it works the way it was meant to. So, by utilizing a different interpretation IMHO you are not acting in good faith.

Think of it this way, I license you my mechanics by implication as the OGL seems to envision. You then add some additional mechanics to my core game engine and designate your OGC. That is NOT good faith! Its you building off my work and not sharing yours back, which was exactly the benefit I anticipated from using an open license in the first place!

And philosophically, how is it that copyleft can function if you can simply derive stuff from other people's work and call it not part of the community contribution? MY contribution is now having lesser value because your work, which fundamentally depends on it, has attracted those eyeballs, and I'm left with no way to do the corresponding thing, again as I intended to be able to do by using the OGL!

I get that there are permissive licenses, but people KNOW they are using them when they use them. Their use cases are also quite different from open licenses. Bending one so it looks like the other and then claiming the cover that you are just doing what other people do with a completely different license regime doesn't seem honest to me.

I really haven't followed the whole ORC debate much, so I'm not hostile to the possibility that there's some sort of third way to argue this, but on the face of it, the whole thing doesn't wash.
This isn't a question of philosophy, it's business (and I say that as someone who studied philosophy at a graduate level!). The OGL works a certain way, whether it was intended to or not, it just has done so. Publishers are not necessarily philosophical ideologues, they are gamers who want to publish and benefit from their work. Expecting a replacement of the OGL to function as the OGL does in fact, rather than it maybe intended to on a philosophical level, is not acting in bad faith.
I'm a bit confused by why you would think CC is a good option for D&D-like, as it leaves you completely open to WotC claims that you need to abide by the OGL to use their 'stuff'. I get that any claim they make could be weak, and CC is a good license, but the whole point is OGL makes the Ogre Go Left instead of Right (hahaha, yes funny).
WotC released the 5E SRD under Creative Commons with Attribution, and even included an attribution they consider acceptable. Anyone can make a derriivitive of 5E without even agreeing to the OGL now, with no potential legal danger, and sell it as desired. Hard to make a case for a licenses wth caveats and enforcing restrictions to legal rights when making products for the market leader doesn't require giving up any rights whatsoever.
 

This isn't a question of philosophy, it's business (and I say that as someone who studied philosophy at a graduate level!). The OGL works a certain way, whether it was intended to or not, it just has done so. Publishers are not necessarily philosophical ideologues, they are gamers who want to publish and benefit from their work. Expecting a replacement of the OGL to function as the OGL does in fact, rather than it maybe intended to on a philosophical level, is not acting in bad faith.
So, if the bank comes to you and says "gosh, your mortgage agreement seems to be legal and binding, but this wording over here says we get your house now, get out" you are OK with that? And OK with their response to "go away" that is "well, we got away with this 100x before, so its fine!"? I mean, that's maybe a tad hyperbolic but it gets across the logical gist of your position.
WotC released the 5E SRD under Creative Commons with Attribution, and even included an attribution they consider acceptable. Anyone can make a derriivitive of 5E without even agreeing to the OGL now, with no potential legal danger, and sell it as desired. Hard to make a case for a licenses wth caveats and enforcing restrictions to legal rights when making products for the market leader doesn't require giving up any rights whatsoever.
Ah, OK. I kind of tuned out the whole kerfluffle around the point where WotC started doing damage control, so I hadn't really picked up on that detail. Well, then, OGL seems like it is only really going to matter when dealing with existing OGL content, or some non-SRD aspects of D&D that may still fall under OGL if there are any. I certainly agree, CC BY is the best of the best in licenses, and yeah ORC is then only relevant to anything which eventually falls under that, etc.

I don't really think ORC is a bad license, I just trust the strength of CC licenses, which have stood up to some pretty wide-ranging examination. I SUSPECT you can do anything with CC you can do with ORC by using different designations for various parts of your work. I will probably release my own game under a CC license, especially in view of the 5e SRD licensing, given that it has some resemblance to D&D, though more in passing than substance, lol.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So, if the bank comes to you and says "gosh, your mortgage agreement seems to be legal and binding, but this wording over here says we get your house now, get out" you are OK with that? And OK with their response to "go away" that is "well, we got away with this 100x before, so its fine!"? I mean, that's maybe a tad hyperbolic but it gets across the logical gist of your position.
To see where the publishers in question are coming from in good faith, let's adjust the analogy to Paizo being the bank offering mortgages with certain conditions, and the publishers as prospective homebuyers. If the conditions are not favorable, the homebuyer will go to a different bank.
Ah, OK. I kind of tuned out the whole kerfluffle around the point where WotC started doing damage control, so I hadn't really picked up on that detail. Well, then, OGL seems like it is only really going to matter when dealing with existing OGL content, or some non-SRD aspects of D&D that may still fall under OGL if there are any. I certainly agree, CC BY is the best of the best in licenses, and yeah ORC is then only relevant to anything which eventually falls under that, etc.

I don't really think ORC is a bad license, I just trust the strength of CC licenses, which have stood up to some pretty wide-ranging examination. I SUSPECT you can do anything with CC you can do with ORC by using different designations for various parts of your work. I will probably release my own game under a CC license, especially in view of the 5e SRD licensing, given that it has some resemblance to D&D, though more in passing than substance, lol.
I don't think ORC is bad, for sure, I just don't see much of a strong business case for using it instead of OGL or CC, even for PF2E material.

Putting out the 5E SRD (a 400+ page document) out under CC-BY kind of killed the controversy, even if it didn't unborn all the bridges: M. T. Black has already put out a complete game of his own on DriveTrhru RPG free of the OGL but including all open D&D content, and others are following suit.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
If I were making a D&D product, I'd use the CC option and material. The use case for ORC seems to me to be for anyone making PF2E material...but when then, if I were making PF2E material, using the OGL seems like a better bet, and allows for a lot of d&D-isms ORC cuts off. And it's an even better bet Paizo won't sue anyone who sticks with the OGL!
Basic Roleplaying is also released under the ORC license. If Paizo can get more publishers to release things, then that will be a nice bit of material all under a compatible license. BRP under ORC is way better than it was under Chaosium’s BRP-OGL.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Wanting a new OGL replacement to work in the same way as has been industry standard for 20 years hardly seems in bad faith.
Declaring mechanics as Product Identity seems like a recent trend. All the games I’ve got that do it were released in the last few years. Do you have any examples of older releases that did likewise?
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, except, as I read it, OGL is SUPPOSED to exclude mechanics from being PI, just like ORC does. It is merely a quirk of the way it is worded which (arguably, though I think its a weak argument myself) allows people to get away with using it in what you are claiming is the 'industry standard' way. My guess is 90% of the people reading the license think it works the way it was meant to. So, by utilizing a different interpretation IMHO you are not acting in good faith.
The courts could clarify it, but that would require enforcement. Has anyone tried? I’m not aware of any cases or stories about it.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I'm a bit confused by why you would think CC is a good option for D&D-like, as it leaves you completely open to WotC claims that you need to abide by the OGL to use their 'stuff'. I get that any claim they make could be weak, and CC is a good license, but the whole point is OGL makes the Ogre Go Left instead of Right (hahaha, yes funny).
WotC released the 5.1 SRD under CC-BY. It should provide the same safe harbor under a more permissive license.
 

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