OGL So was it a poison pill?


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Jer

Legend
Supporter
Specifically, he said it was a license designed for everyone never to accept.
There's got to be a name for the logical fallacy where you assume that people are competent and so when they do something that looks stupid it must be because it's actually part of a genius plan that you just don't understand. Is there a name for that?

Anyway that's what seems to be going on here. The explanation that the current leadership at Wizards doesn't understand the tabletop rpg market seems ridiculous, so it must be that that they do understand it and all of this blowing up in their faces was part of an intentional plot to do something we just can't really understand.

Meanwhile Occam's Razor suggests that they might just be bad at their jobs, like so many other high-level executives are in this day and age. I know which way I'd bet if I were a gambling man.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I agree that OGL 1.1 was a poison pill, but I don't believe it was intended to flat out stop people from making content. Rather, I think they probably wanted to drive significant 3PP to approach WotC to negotiate a less onerous license deal.

And if that drove out some of the leeches on Hasbro's IP? I think they'd have been perfectly fine with it.
 




mamba

Hero
Why would anyone take royalties on profits, most small companies profits are zero...
I believe it was royalties only on the revenue over 750k, so not that much at all.
you do see how your two statements contradict each other, no?

Most projects, including the large kickstarters, would lose money at 25% over 750k of revenue…
 

mamba

Hero
There's got to be a name for the logical fallacy where you assume that people are competent and so when they do something that looks stupid it must be because it's actually part of a genius plan that you just don't understand. Is there a name for that?
no fallacy here though, it was designed so no one accepts it. They expected the big publishers to negotiate separate licenses, that part did not happen
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Most projects, including the large kickstarters, would lose money at 25% over 750k of revenue…
If you made 800k and they only too 25% of the (800-750) = 12.5k.
12.5k to license something that made 800k on?
That is laughable. And all you do is increase the price a little.

Anyway they removed the clause so doesn't matter.
 

Undrave

Hero
What's with the "formerly known as" ?

To engage with the point, yeah probably. While I don't necessarily know that that was the main intent at best, it was probably a shrug and "well, worst case that leaves us to provide and sell more content, oh well" territory. You can really explain it all away with simple ignorance of how the thing they make actually operates. Which, if you are imported Microsoft MBA bros, yeah, certainly possible.
Should have been Linux bros :p
 

Undrave

Hero
Because Hasbro is clearly against NFTs.

And the friggin' Transformers Funko Pops NFT Lottery...

No actual fans liked those, it was just BS to attract crypto bros and we've told them multiple time it was a bad idea...

but I think Retreater meant non-Hasbro NFTs, so it makes sense they would be against that.
 

WillPhillips

Explorer
It would kill many 3PP companies, certainly.
So I agree with the "poison pill" analogy. And I subscribe to the conspiracy theory that it was designed to kill the OGL, to reset the fanbase (getting rid of fans who care about "non-WotC" content). I think that it was purposefully made to free WotC from the "dead weight" of fans like me - who merely buy the books and run the games in person, who don't engage with it on DND Beyond, who wouldn't subscribe to their VTT services.
The $30/month per player will outspend me anyway - because I purchased maybe 2 hardcovers from WotC per year.

I think those are two different objectives (and both of them pretty fair and accurate).

1. There's a mountain of some good, some bad, lots of meh content out there for 5E, and lots and lots of designers riding the coat tails of 5E's popularity to make a couple bucks. I cannot begrudge WotC for expecting a slice of that pie and wanting to QC some of it. But of course that's going to go over like a lead balloon.

2. Cynthia Williams has already admitted that D&D is "really under monetised" and that she / Hasbro wants to push for "recurrent spending." This is the part I really hate: that Hasbro is primed to force WotC's D&D team to nickle and dime everything via D&D Beyond. Hate hate hate that (while I can understand how they think it may be a viable tactic). In that, I hope they fail.
 

Revenue is standard for licensing agreements. No license uses profits as the calculation for royalties.
Exactly, it's the value that was ludicrous.
1. There's a mountain of some good, some bad, lots of meh content out there for 5E, and lots and lots of designers riding the coat tails of 5E's popularity to make a couple bucks. I cannot begrudge WotC for expecting a slice of that pie and wanting to QC some of it. But of course that's going to go over like a lead balloon.
They trouble is, they didn't ask for a slice of that, they instead let small companies go unharmed, and asked for such a giant slice from anything larger that it would virtually ensure they were no longer meaningfully profitable, or making a loss.

It's also a tiny market, so it's unserious of them to target it. It's exactly the nickle-and-dime approach you detail in 2.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
If you made 800k and they only too 25% of the (800-750) = 12.5k.
12.5k to license something that made 800k on?
That is laughable. And all you do is increase the price a little.

Anyway they removed the clause so doesn't matter.
Depends on if you expected to make that kind of money or if you ended up with a windfall. The royalty on anything over a certain amount would have had the hardest impact on things like kickstarters - where a more modest project exceeds expectations and can't really be planned for. A smaller % royalty on all levels of revenue is something easier to plan for since it's an increase over the whole product, whether an expected level of success or a windfall.
So, definitely not laughable.
 


macd21

Adventurer
If you made 800k and they only too 25% of the (800-750) = 12.5k.
12.5k to license something that made 800k on?
That is laughable. And all you do is increase the price a little.

Anyway they removed the clause so doesn't matter.
Many Kickstarters at that level of revenue break even, or lose money. And even 3PPs with decent revenue operate on thin margins. A company on 2 million in revenue would be looking at royalties of 312,500. That’s crippling.
 


"Poison Pill" in the legal space is primarily the term for a defense strategy a corporation uses against hostile takeover. Typically it involves issuing and selling more shares at a discount to existing shareholders when a would-be acquirer crosses a certain threshold of ownership to dilute that ownership percentage and make it difficult or impossible for them to ever reach a controlling interest. Adoption of such a scheme is announced so that the would-be acquirer knows not to try.

"Poison pill contract" has also more rarely been used to refer to various contracts for professional sports players designed to screw over some party, which is presumably what inspired the adoption of the term in the video. That may well be the usage more familiar to followers of the particular sports.

Given that "poison pill" already means something in the broader business law space, given that Hasbro themselves actually used the poison pill strategy in 1989 so that that is what "poison pill Hasbro" google results will return, and given that the particular phrasing of "poison pill" rather than any other analogy of toxicity (even in pill form) is already imbued with specific legal meaning and a specific phrasing I'm not sure I've ever heard outside of a law or law adjacent space, I think it is an exceedingly dumb analogy to use specifically, and reaks of either someone trying to sound vaguely lawyerly while not really knowing what they're talking about, or else of a lawyer with no imagination using a term they are familiar with rather than coming up with a new one to describe a new thing. There are other analogies to use that don't have bagage.

Now if people want to call the OGL 1.1 or 2.0 or whatever a "cup of hemlock", a "cyanide capsule", or you know, just toxic, I'd support that. Extra points if your analogy somehow smoothly references a "pellet with the poison" being in "the flagon with the dragon".
 



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