OGL Why not a CC license?

M_Natas

Adventurer
So, after following some of the discussions (it is impossible to follow all of the OGL discussions unless I quit my full time job :D ), I had one on Facebook about the need to create ORC and why we can't just use a CC license.
Like, if I would develop a new RPG or would want to transfer my old products from OGL to a safer license, why can't I just use a Creative Common attribution share alike license for the rules and like a cc non commercial license or just no open license for the actual setting and adventure?
Why do I need ORC or OGL, what does that really do better than my CC solution?
 

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M_Natas

Adventurer
As I understand it, the biggest reason is that the OGL is written to permit the presence of open game content and closed game content in the same document, while the CC licenses do not allow for that granularity.

Presumably the ORC will be similarly designed.
But can't I get the same effect by declaring what is under CC? With the OGL I also needed to declare what in my Book will be put under OGL and what is not covered by it (a lot just put the whole Book under OGL).
 

mhd

Adventurer
If it's coming from inside of the industry and operates pretty much how people thought the other license operated for 23 years, it's going to gain more acceptance than something barely known to most people.

Plus yeah, that OGC/PI thing instead of having licensing declaration totally external to the license.
 

rcade

Hero
But can't I get the same effect by declaring what is under CC? With the OGL I also needed to declare what in my Book will be put under OGL and what is not covered by it (a lot just put the whole Book under OGL).
Nobody needs to keep portions of a work outside of the OGL. The declarations of Open Game Content and Product Identity serve that purpose by delineating what portion can be shared.

Creative Commons lacks a concept like Product Identity -- the ability to share a portion of a work while protecting some parts of that portion from being reused.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Creative Commons lacks a concept like Product Identity -- the ability to share a portion of a work while protecting some parts of that portion from being reused.
You just do what Fate does -- make your SRD avaiable via CS.

One big reason (not the only reason) OGL is more popular than CC in the TTRPG industry is that (a) the OGL predates CC and (b) usin git you get access to WotC's SRD. If you're not bothered by the latter, the case for OGL is not nearly as strong.
 

rcade

Hero
You just do what Fate does -- make your SRD avaiable via CS.
I did not know Fate did that in order to use Creative Commons. It's very cool.

 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
But can't I get the same effect by declaring what is under CC?

No, not exactly.

Under a CC, if one includes modifications of Open Content, then one is required to make the modification Open Content as well.

By contrast, the OGL 1.0a allows a creator to integrate Open Content but still keep the new distinctive amalgamation part of the closed Product Identity.

(For example, the OGL 1.0a lets a creator protect a new distinctive subclass, despite it modifies the Open Content Class.)

In the OGL 1.0a, any contribution to the Open Content must be voluntary, and clearly marked.

Future users of an OGL 1.0a product can only monetize the clearly designated Open Content.
 

Under a CC, if one includes modifications of Open Content, then one is required to make the modification Open Content as well.
That would IMO only apply to CC licenses that include SA (share alike), e.g. CC-BY-SA. If you license your content as CC-BY (credit source), then there is no need to open up your own content as well.
Still, it would require a bit of extra work since you need to extract the shared content and make sure you don't accidentally share things you consider product identity.
 

Kinematics

Adventurer

Yaarel

Mind Mage
That would IMO only apply to CC licenses that include SA (share alike), e.g. CC-BY-SA. If you license your content as CC-BY (credit source), then there is no need to open up your own content as well.
Still, it would require a bit of extra work since you need to extract the shared content and make sure you don't accidentally share things you consider product identity.
But if your own content modifies the CC Open Content, it must also be Open Content too.

For example, say, you create a brand new game from scratch. You write up an SRD for your game and give it to the CC license for others to use.

That CC actually discourages other creators from creating products for your game. Because while they modify aspects of your game, they can make money from their modifying products − but cannot protect their own intellectual property, since it would necessarily become CC Open Content.
 


But if your own content modifies the CC Open Content, it must also be Open Content too.
I don't think that is true (unless using "share alike"). If it helps, I can try to break my understanding of CC licenses down a bit tomorrow (and how it would apply to the case you describe).

For the moment: I do agree that the OGL provides a more convenient solution. I just think that you can achieve anything it does also with CC licenses.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I don't think that is true (unless using "share alike"). If it helps, I can try to break my understanding of CC licenses down a bit tomorrow (and how it would apply to the case you describe).
Please do. Details matter.

For the moment: I do agree that the OGL provides a more convenient solution. I just think that you can achieve anything it does also with CC licenses.
The philosophical concept of the CC licenses is: what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine.

The OGL 1.0a does something different. It says, a business can protect its own intellectual property, even if it partly borrows from the shared pool of Open Gaming Content. The open content is a resource that anyone can make use of. At the same time, a business can still make calculated strategic decisions about what to give to the Open Gaming Content, and what to keep out of it.
 

Rainynights

Villager
But can't I get the same effect by declaring what is under CC? With the OGL I also needed to declare what in my Book will be put under OGL and what is not covered by it (a lot just put the whole Book under OGL).
The 5e SRD specifies that rights to use content from it are exclusively granted by the OGL, meaning you may be able to say your content is compatible with 5e (so long as you can find a way to do so that sneaks past the weird clause in the ogl saying you cant do so if not using it since the wording there seems highly specific and open to loopholes, just gotta find them), but unless you use the ogl for at least part of your product then you would have to create something completely original with no ties to either the srd or the main rulebooks wotc has released
 

trancejeremy

Adventurer
I'll be honest - I've found the CC licensing to be confusing, while the OGL is surprisingly clear. And there is six difference licenses and different versions of the license and different ways of attributing works you've cited


I mean, it's got charts. And symbols

The OGL is one license. Simple to use. Simple to attribute (just copy the produce you are using's Section 15, though to be fair, a lot of people get this wrong. No weird symbols.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I'll be honest - I've found the CC licensing to be confusing, while the OGL is surprisingly clear. And there is six difference licenses and different versions of the license and different ways of attributing works you've cited


I mean, it's got charts. And symbols

The OGL is one license. Simple to use. Simple to attribute (just copy the produce you are using's Section 15, though to be fair, a lot of people get this wrong. No weird symbols.
This, I mean it isn't as hard, you just have three or so choices: BY (attribution required or not), C/NC (Not commercial or commercial), and SA (share-alike) It is pretty straightforward when it comes to whole works. It is also straightforward if you are the originator and want to reserve some stuff. It gets complicated if you want to reuse from one or more sources and you still want -or need- to reserve some stuff.

Edit: Ok, there is also ND, but there is little point to it for our purposes.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
Fundamentally, the OGL and CC BY-SA are pretty similar, sure. By my understanding, the key issues are:
  1. The OGL actively facilitates designating part but not all of your document "Open Game Content". In theory, you might be able to do your own ad-hoc designation of part but not all of a book/file as a "work" under CC BY-SA and the rest unreleased (or released under another), but it's likely to confuse people and result in unlicensed material being used under the assumption that it's all CC BY-SA.
  2. The number of CC licenses, and the multiple versions thereof, often confuses people and results in misuse of content released under one license under the terms of another one.
  3. The amount of content under the OGL for D&D-adjacent gaming is larger than that under CC BY-SA
The first may or may not be a bigger deal than confusion around what's Open Game Content and what's not under the OGL 1.0a, but I tend to think it is, and ORC can copy the OGL there.

The second is avoided by having just one ORC license.

The third, well, it's not clear ORC would have an advantage over CC BY-SA, but at the moment, many of the big 3PPs are talking ORC, not CC BY-SA.
 

Please do. Details matter.
Ok, I'll try.

My understanding of CC licenses is that while they generally promote sharing, they are actually more of a toolbox that allows non-lawyers to specify how content they created can be re-used in derived works in a legally sound way.
The building blocks are:
  • BY = attribute/credit the author
  • SA = "share alike" - derived work has to use the same "licensing" terms
  • ND = no derivates - can only be used "as is"
  • NC = no commercial use
From these blocks, CC built four licenses: CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-NC-SA, CC-BY-NC-ND.

Comparing it to the OGL 1.0(a), you can IMO achieve a similar licensing effect, if you remove all things you consider product identity from your SRD and share the remaining document under CC-BY license (which neither imposes sharing under the same conditions nor forbids commercial use). You might then also share what exactly you consider product identity in a separate document, but I don't think you have to. The important part is, of course, that you have to make sure that you really do not accidentally provide product identity parts in your SRD. Which is, of course, a less convenient than the OGL where you can simply declare the parts as product identity.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I don't think that is true (unless using "share alike"). If it helps, I can try to break my understanding of CC licenses down a bit tomorrow (and how it would apply to the case you describe).

For the moment: I do agree that the OGL provides a more convenient solution. I just think that you can achieve anything it does also with CC licenses.
So, I do think you’re correct that the OGL doesn’t do anything you couldn’t achieve with a CC license of some sort. But keep in mind that the OGL predates CC.

As for why create ORC to mimic OGL instead of a CC license… I mean frankly, for publicity. Announcing that they were going to make their own OGL (“with blackjack! and hookers!”) at the peak of the OGL 1.1 furor was a brilliant move on Paizo’s part, because they get to come out looking like the heroes of the day, and a lot of people mad at WotC will likely switch to Pathfinder because of it, even before any real details about ORC emerge. Secondarily, there’s a degree of familiarity. Being able to say “The ORC will work just like the OGL, but actually irrevocable” is going to be much easier for a lot of folks to grok than CC with its various license types. Lastly, it provides a single banner for all the 3rd party publishers to rally under.

So, short answer? ORC is just sexier.
 

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