Ryan Dancey -- Hasbro Cannot Deauthorize OGL

I reached out to the architect of the original Open Gaming License, former VP of Wizard of the Coast, Ryan Dancey, and asked his opinion about the current plan by WotC to 'deauthorize' the current OGL in favour of a new one.

He responded as follows:

Yeah my public opinion is that Hasbro does not have the power to deauthorize a version of the OGL. If that had been a power that we wanted to reserve for Hasbro, we would have enumerated it in the license. I am on record numerous places in email and blogs and interviews saying that the license could never be revoked.

Ryan also maintains the Open Gaming Foundation.

As has been noted previously, even WotC in its own OGL FAQ did not believe at the time that the licence could be revoked.

7. Can't Wizards of the Coast change the License in a way that I wouldn't like?

Yes, it could. However, the License already defines what will happen to content that has been previously distributed using an earlier version, in Section 9. As a result, even if Wizards made a change you disagreed with, you could continue to use an earlier, acceptable version at your option. In other words, there's no reason for Wizards to ever make a change that the community of people using the Open Gaming License would object to, because the community would just ignore the change anyway.


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Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Cheers to Ryan Dancey, I really, really, really hope he is right.

I do worry that wotc my try to bully 3pp publishers, legal or not, due to the short time publishers have to decide to use the new 1.1 license before they have time to find an alternative solution.
This rumor mill has already had a chilling effect on third-party publishers I know personally. Suffice it to say the bullying train is going according to plan.


I just wish the word "irrevocable" appeared in the OGL v1.0!
To be fair, if I recall, the GPL didn't even include that word until v3 in 2007. So Ryan basing the OGL on standard language of open-source software licenses of 2000 not having it makes sense.

Although, of course, I'm right there with you in wishing it was different to avoid this ambiguity.


While it would be nice to have better wording in the OGL, I think it's wishful thinking to believe that would stop what is clearly a bad-faith, malicious reading of it. The decision makers chose to do this not because the OGL allows it, but because they think they can get away with it. It's very clear that the intent of the OGL was to be open and irrevocable.


The EN World kitten
Perpetual does.
Yeah, but there's an assertion being made (if I understand things correctly) that there's a difference between being perpetual (i.e. having no built-in expiration date) and being revocable (i.e. the issuer can say the license is no longer valid). I have no idea if that's necessarily true, and I suspect that it'd take a court ruling to conclusively affirm or deny, but it seems to be the current line of thinking on WotC's part as of now.

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