OGL Was the leaked OGL actually a draft?

How sure are we that the leaked document was meant to be signed?

The statement released yesterday is widely seen as including at least one lie: the claim that the leaked document was a “draft.” Most of the commentary I’ve come across insists that this was an executable document intended to be signed as-is, and therefore not a “draft.”

But was it?

It includes bracketed portions obviously meant to be filled in later, for example with contact info.

And I’ve seen lots of repetition of the claim that this was intended as a threat to coerce the selected, NDA’d publishers into signing separate deals with slightly more favorable terms. (I’ve seen the figure of a 15% preferred partner royalty bandied about.)

If that’s the case, is it possible that the version we have seen was in fact provided as a draft version of what these publishers would be stuck with if they failed to sign the (as yet unleaked) sweetheart deal instead?

Before anyone accuses me of being a WotC shill, let me say that even if this scenario were correct, it wouldn’t change my view of the fundamental situation: WotC attempted under cover of secrecy to bully far less powerful people into submission via threats of financial ruin, and it still intends to violate decades-old promises in a legally dubious and ethically awful manner. They would not be off the hook.

But the past 24 hours have proved that when WotC has committed malfeasance, it isn’t helpful to embrace specific claims of further malfeasance unless those have a high degree of credibility.

So: what is the evidence—or the original source of the claim—that the leak was definitely not a draft document?
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My guess is the truth is somewhere in the middle. The actual document that got leaked probably was a draft, but the exact wording may very well have been what was included in the contracts that 3pp received to sign which were not leaked.


The reported deadlines of signing the deals or else did not leave time for revisions of the OGL. If it was to get them to sign a deal with the revised OGL as the backdrop it is not plausible to say it was only a draft. I would not expect WotC to say "We are thinking of it this way, right now, but it is only a draft, so sign binding contracts now for these terms which are not a draft."

It is plausible to say that until it became enacted it was technically only a draft, but that is only technically.
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The thing that is troubling me is that even if WotC are not technically lying, they seem to be continuing to misrepresent. Which makes me doubt everything else they claim as being potential spin, rather than an honest attempt to be open about the situation moving forward.


(he, him)
It was a draft, in the sense that it was not formally published. It was very clearly the final draft, given that they were expecting people to sign up to specific deals on the back of it. It is what have been publish, non-draft, if the proverbial had not hit the fan.


The EN World kitten
The copy that we saw, over on ogl.battlezoo.com, certainly looks like a draft, but other than the fact that the link to the signature doesn't seem to be an actual hyperlink, I suspect that it was the license that the companies to whom the "term sheets' (i.e. sweetheart deals offered ahead of the license's general debut) were shown, and asked to sign.

That it looks so slopping and incomplete is kind of a non-issue, given that WotC had a clause about changing it however they wanted, whenever they wanted in there.

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