The Final Open RPG Creator (ORC) License Is Here!

Open-RPG-Paizo-21190388.jpeg

After several drafts and feedback rounds, Azora Law has announced the final version of the Open RPG Creative license. The license is now ready for use!
The new license was created as a response to the 'OGL crisis' earlier this year, when Wizards of the Coast announced its intention to attempt to 'deauthorize' the Open Gaming License. While WotC eventually reversed course on that plan, and then released the core of Dungeons & Dragons 5E into Creative Commons, the ORC license--spearheaded by Paizo and Azora Law--forged ahead. This license is designed to be completely irrevocable.

Some features of the license:
  • Mechanics are expressly made 'Licensed Material' (their term for 'open' content which can be freely used).
  • Trademarks, lore, art etc. are 'Reserved Material' (not open and cannot be freely used) but can be designated by the creator as 'Expressly Designated Licensed Material' and shared.
  • You don't have to include a copy of the license in your product, but you do need to include an 'ORC Notice' which notes attribution, reserved material, and expressly designated licensed material.
The license has been submitted to the US Library of Congress; this doesn't give them control over it in any way, it simply ensures that the original is safely and indisputably stored somewhere in case there's a dispute over the content of the license. Given that the license will no doubt be found in many places on the internet (including this thread), it's mainly a redundancy measure.

For my (and EN Publishing's part) we today added ORC to the OGL and CC licenses which the full What's OLD is NEW rules are released under at woinrules.com, and will be doing so with Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition shortly at a5esrd.com.

The ORC License and accompanying ORC AxE (Answers and Explanations) document are now final and ready to be used by game publishers large and small. The public commentary portion of this process is now complete, and there will be no further changes with one small exception. The final text of the ORC License and ORC AxE have been submitted to the Library of Congress for copyright registration. As soon as copyright registration issues, the ORC License and AxE will be updated solely by insertion of the US Copyright registration number, which we expect will be ready in about six months. In the meantime, publishers are free to begin using the ORC License right now. No other elements of this document will be changing in the future.

I am deeply grateful to the army of collaborators that gave us incredibly useful guidance in drafting and refining this and coming up with bugs and edge cases that made the final product vastly better could otherwise have been produced.

This license strives to create a system-agnostic, perpetual, incorruptible, and irrevocable open gaming license that provides a legal “safe harbor” for sharing rules mechanics and encourages collaboration and innovation in the tabletop gaming space. It is also company agnostic and no organization, company, law firm, or individual has the power or political influence to corrupt or bend this agreement to their need.

Ask Questions:

If you are at Gen Con, please come to SEM23ND240468 to ask me or one of the other key stakeholders your questions about the ORC license.

Get CLE Credits at Gen Con:

For the lawyers, the Indiana State Bar has requested I put together a CLE on Thursday of Gen Con. You should be able to take this for Continuing Legal Education credits in your state. Please reach out to me if you are interested.

Thank you for entrusting me to work on this for you and I hope it serves the gaming community and the best interests of gamers everywhere for decades to come.

(from Brian Lewis, Azora Law)
 
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SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
One of the issues with ORC (which is also true with the OGL) is that once you use it for a product, all downstream products need to use it. A CC BY license has no such restriction. You can take CC BY material and license it with other licensed works as long as you abide by the rules and restrictions of the CC BY license (which are pretty easy to follow). The same isn't true with ORC.

Since the 5.1 SRD is out under CC BY, it isn't clear why we'd want to use a more restrictive license.

For me, I'll be sticking to using CC BY whenever I can, and to show my money is where my mouth is, I released the Lazy GM's Resource Document using the CC BY:


Scott, Teos, and I are planning to do the same with material from Forge of Foes. Not the whole book but a lot of the stuff to help people quickly build 5e monsters.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
One of the issues with ORC (which is also true with the OGL) is that once you use it for a product, all downstream products need to use it. A CC BY license has no such restriction. You can take CC BY material and license it with other licensed works as long as you abide by the rules and restrictions of the CC BY license (which are pretty easy to follow). The same isn't true with ORC.
That sounds like working as intended (assuming those releasing the upstream content want a copyleft or share-alike license).
 

robertsconley

Adventurer
Since the 5.1 SRD is out under CC BY, it isn't clear why we'd want to use a more restrictive license.

They address that.

1688241860821.png


The difference is the same different as using the BSD open source license versus the GPL open source license. It boils down to whether you believe that anything based on open content ought to be open as well. That is not to take but not give back. Others dislike the coercive aspect of a viral copyleft license and feel it should be voluntary every step of the way.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
One possibility that should make most people happy is to use the ORC license for everything while also separately releasing a CC-BY SRD with the core mechanics in it. As far as I can tell, it’s uncommon to release entire games as CC-BY. If you were going to do that anyway (releasing a subset as a CC-BY SRD), and creators would have been fine with just that, then also releasing the rest under the ORC license seems better than not making that content available under any license (or under a restrictive one).

(The fact that open gaming license aren’t very compatible with each other definitely sucks. Free and open-source software licenses had that problem, but it’s less of an issue now with modern licenses.)
 

They address that.

View attachment 289298

The difference is the same different as using the BSD open source license versus the GPL open source license. It boils down to whether you believe that anything based on open content ought to be open as well. That is not to take but not give back. Others dislike the coercive aspect of a viral copyleft license and feel it should be voluntary every step of the way.
Those two things seem contradictory. The first says share alike means you can’t reserve it, the second suggests you can choose not to share content building on the SRD.

I was fairly sure you can choose what of your original work you keep under CC and what you don’t.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Those two things seem contradictory. The first says share alike means you can’t reserve it, the second suggests you can choose not to share content building on the SRD.

I was fairly sure you can choose what of your original work you keep under CC and what you don’t.
The first point is talking about CC-BY-SA, which is a different license from CC-BY. CC-BY-SA requires those who use content under that license to share-alike. If you want to mix content, you have to keep it separate and designate what is available under which license (e.g., the PF2 Core Rulebook does this for some third party content it includes). Personally, I think that’s a bigger issue than the one the AxE presents because it would result in a proliferation of different designations from publisher to publisher. The ORC license solves this problem by providing a framework for designating Reserved Content.

The second point is talking about the CC-BY, which only requires attribution. Paizo releases almost all of their content under the OGL (and will presumably release content going forward under the ORC license). Putting it under the CC-BY would mean anyone could use all of Pathfinder without paying or giving anything back. Paizo wants something for all the content they release, which is preserving what they call the “virtuous cycle” of open content, so that’s a non-starter.
 

robertsconley

Adventurer
I was fairly sure you can choose what of your original work you keep under CC and what you don’t.
You can but there is no standard way of indicating the difference non-open and open content. The assumption running throughout the CC documentation is that the license applies to the entire work. Then there is the sticky issue of derivative content. If I use a CC-BY-SA SRD and it has an orc monster. And I have a section that is declared as closed content that includes a story about an orc. It is a derivative work or not? Obviously the author can draw from the same creative wellspring that the author of CC-BY-SA and claim that the origin of the orc in the story. But start edging into more unique concepts found an a SRD then the line gets blurry with CC-BY or CC-BY-SA.

The solution I advocate to solve all of these corner cases is to be as open as you can. The problem only crops up when folks don't want to share. Personally, I tend to go for CC-BY and BSD style license but I also pretty much open up everything when it comes to my original IP like Blackmarsh or the Majestic Fantasy RPG.
 


bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
The assumption running throughout the CC documentation is that the license applies to the entire work.
But this isn't true. One merely need browse CreativeCommons.Org and see them mix licenses on most pages

On this page the art is CC0
The rest of the page is CC BY 4.0


The people who use Creative Commons more than anyone else likely know how to do so, and they mix various CC on their own website
 

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