WotC Talks OGL... Again! Draft Coming Jan 20th With Feedback Survey; v1 De-Auth Still On

Following last week's partial walk-back on the upcoming Open Game Licence terms, WotC has posted...

Following last week's partial walk-back on the upcoming Open Game Licence terms, WotC has posted another update about the way forward.

Screen Shot 2023-01-09 at 10.45.12 AM.png

The new update begins with another apology and a promise to be more transparent. To that end, WotC proposes to release the draft of the new OGL this week, with a two-week survey feedback period following it.


They also list a number of points of clarity --
  • Videos, accessories, VTT content, DMs Guild will not be affected by the new license, none of which is related to the OGL
  • The royalties and ownership rights clauses are, as previously noted, going away
OGL v1 Still Being 'De-Authorized'
However, OGL v1.0a still looks like it's being de-authorized. As with the previous announcement, that specific term is carefully avoided, and like that announcement it states that previously published OGL v1 content will continue to be valid; however it notably doesn't mention that the OGL v1 can be used for content going forward, which is a de-authorization.

The phrase used is "Nothing will impact any content you have published under OGL 1.0a. That will always be licensed under OGL 1.0a." -- as noted, this does not make any mention of future content. If you can't publish future content under OGL 1.0a, then it has been de-authorized. The architect of the OGL, Ryan Dancey, along with WotC itself at the time, clearly indicated that the license could not be revoked or de-authorized.

While the royalty and ownership clauses were, indeed, important to OGL content creators and publishers such as myself and many others, it is also very important not to let that overshadow the main goal: the OGL v1.0a.

Per Ryan Dancey in response this announcement: "They must not. They can only stop the bleeding by making a clear and simple statement that they cannot and will not deauthorize or revoke v1.0a".


Amend At-Will
Also not mentioned is the leaked draft's ability to be amended at-will by WotC. An agreement which can be unilaterally changed in any way by one party is not an agreement, it's a blank cheque. They could simply add the royalties or ownership clauses back in at any time, or add even more onerous clauses.

All-in-all this is mainly just a rephrasing of last week's announcement addressing some of the tonal criticisms widely made about it. However, it will be interesting to see the new draft later this week. I would encourage people to take the feedback survey and clearly indicate that the OGL v1.0a must be left intact.
 

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pemerton

Legend
Someone really needs to explain to me what the OGL 1.0a has to do with making a movie. They put a lot of Attack Rolls and Skill Checks in movies these days? Are SRDs full of game rules suddenly relevant to the plot structure of feature films? Even WotC and TSR didn't bat an eye when they wanted their fictional characters to do stuff that was explicitly against the rules of the game, why would it be relevant in even the smallest possible way to a filmmaker who wanted to make a D&D inspired movie?
Looking at this from a slightly different angle - I could be wrong, but I really doubt that any studio would make a movie on a multi-million dollar budget relying on a free-to-all-the-world licence like the OGL. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but to me that seems an absurd risk to take for such an expensive venture.
 

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Matt Thomason

Adventurer
Looking at this from a slightly different angle - I could be wrong, but I really doubt that any studio would make a movie on a multi-million dollar budget relying on a free-to-all-the-world licence like the OGL. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but to me that seems an absurd risk to take for such an expensive venture.
The only thing that possibly makes sense would be if the OGL parts were only a small part of the movie, with the rest being their "Product Identity". They would also, of course, have to deal with the more practical problem of how to provide the Open Game Content they are reusing in a human-readable form... and I suddenly have images of the OGL license text and OGC definitions scrolling up in the end credits for a duration almost as long as the movie itself.
 

pemerton

Legend
The only thing that possibly makes sense would be if the OGL parts were only a small part of the movie, with the rest being their "Product Identity".
Agreed with the rest of your post. Just picking up on this - if the licence falls over for whatever reason, and then WotC seek an injunction against the distribution of your infringing movie . . .

For a publisher you get to earn your returns under the OGL piece-by-piece. For a movie studio you're putting all your eggs in one pretty expensive basket . . . .
 




ngenius

Adventurer
The Foundry Virtual Tabletop folks are not pleased with 1.2. Is that the target for Wizard's monetization drive? I would have thought it was the many million Dollar Kickstarters who did not pay royalties to Wizards. But royalties have been removed from OGL 1.2 now. Honestly, I thought we would have more positive energy in preparation for the 50th Anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons.

Below is from the Foundry website highlighting what that business does not like in OGL 1.2

1674300545946.png
 

demoss

Explorer
let’s face it, most people wanting to provide feedback have one, minus the 50k or so who quit over it, and at 13M accounts, that makes no difference to the count
I think 20-30% active users out of total users is the rule of thumb.

So it could be upto 2% of active users - and I'm guessing they look at people spending money vs free accounts as well, which could plausibly push that up by x 10.

We obviously don't know, but they had a very strong reaction to cancelled subs and deleted accounts, so thinking "50k out of 13M is nothing" is clearly not the way they saw it.
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
GSL also had a poison pill clause.

d20 Trademark Licence did not, and was apparently quite popular: D20 System Trademark License
As a minor point of digression, the term "poison pill" was often used (when referring to the original GSL) to refer to the provision about how product lines that were released under the license (i.e. the original GSL) had to, if they were also released under the OGL, immediately cease being put out under the latter license, and could not be continued under the OGL even if WotC later terminated your right to keep using the GSL. This provision was wildly unpopular, and was eventually removed from the revised GSL.

Which is to say, I was slightly confused by the use of that term here, since I think you're referring to a morality clause which allows WotC to conduct oversight and terminate the license in the event that they don't like what they see.

In that case, it's worth noting that the d20 STL was meant to act as a complementary license to the OGL. As I recall, all you got in exchange for adhering to the d20 STL's terms was the right to use the red-and-white d20 compatibility logo. If you were hit with violating any of the license's terms, you could dump it altogether and all you had to do was remove said logo. (Which today is most of the PDFs of Green Ronin's old books now have a "3rd Era" notice where the d20 logo used to be.) So it was hardly any sort of make-or-break clause the way it was for the GSL or the proposed OGL v1.2.

As it so happens, I seem to recall that the d20 STL's "quality standards" clause was only added to the license in late 2003, when WotC got wind that the Book of Erotic Fantasy was about to be released. They added those, to which in response the publishers of the BoEF changed the book's cover to remove the d20 logo (which is still on the cover of the BoEF preview booklet, for those who have it).
 

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