OGL 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 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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

demoss

Explorer
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

That is what I was referring to, since it was the reason GSL never really took off, IMO. I had completely forgotten they ended up removing it.

The Trademark License was AFAIK reasonably popular until they killed it.

I think a Trademark License would be their best bet now to get what they want.

1. Reverse course on 1.0a, or better yet, release 1.0b which clarifies the irrevocability and makes the offer of the license irrevocable as well. This would be a strong show of good faith and a nice mea culpa.

2. For 6e only provide a bare-rules-no-content SRD under OGL, matching their current CC-BY slice.

3. Provide a Trademark License that is more in line with current Draft OGL 1.2 in terms of control it provides them for access to more 6e content, and which allows you to stick a logo on cover. (Get rid of the worst abusive parts first, though.) People will sign up on that. Might even be able to claw back more control on Owlbear and Magic Missile with "you agree to not use Product Identity belonging to WotC in any future OGL products" -style clause. Might even stick VTT limitations there.

I don't for a second think they will do this, though.

The mindset is "we need to own the owlbear" has set in, and the only way they can do that is by calling backsies on 1.0a; people voluntarily choosing which license to use is too alien to that way of thinking.
 

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Staffan

Legend
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.
You were also allowed to use the phrase "Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook" (or one of a number of similar phrases) on the cover, with some limitations on size (so you couldn't do "Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook"). That was pretty much the only way around for your book to point back to D&D, seeing as the OGL specifically forbids using trademarks to indicate compatibility unless separately licensed.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You were also allowed to use the phrase "Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook" (or one of a number of similar phrases) on the cover, with some limitations on size (so you couldn't do "Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook"). That was pretty much the only way around for your book to point back to D&D, seeing as the OGL specifically forbids using trademarks to indicate compatibility unless separately licensed.
Which is funny, because referencing a trademarked work is fair use.
 



SKRobocoastie

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


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.
Actually the concern is if the next D&D is going to have a different license. If it does then previous D&D under OGL1.a means you can only publish for effectively old material, and if that is the case then it's best to abandon publishing for any WoTC and shift focus on Paizo/Castles & Crusades/DCC/etc.. let WoTC realize they have lost a big market share of people but new players won't care about it all, they will buy and only play WoTC material anyway.
 




Dausuul

Legend
Actually the concern is if the next D&D is going to have a different license. If it does then previous D&D under OGL1.a means you can only publish for effectively old material, and if that is the case then it's best to abandon publishing for any WoTC and shift focus on Paizo/Castles & Crusades/DCC/etc.. let WoTC realize they have lost a big market share of people but new players won't care about it all, they will buy and only play WoTC material anyway.
That depends on how different 1D&D ends up being from 5E. Based on the playtests to date, it would be fairly trivial to make third-party content for 1D&D using the 5E SRD.

Now, this could change and 1D&D might evolve to be very different from 5E. That would break WotC's "backwards compatibility" promise, but Wizards has been pretty cavalier about keeping its promises lately. However, it would also be an enormous risk -- many times bigger than attacking the OGL -- to take with the most successful edition of D&D ever printed. Even now, I'm sure a lot of players and DMs haven't noticed the OGL brouhaha, but everybody's going to notice major changes to the core rules.

My guess is Wizards would prefer to die on the OGL de-authorization hill rather than make sweeping changes in 1D&D. Unless, of course, they decide they need to retool D&D to be more friendly to their new VTT... but in that case, they're re-enacting the process that led to 4E, and they'd probably still want to plow ahead with de-authorization in a (likely futile) attempt to smother the next Pathfinder in its cradle.
 
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