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.

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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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And as others have said, it's too easy for them to filter out obvious surveys that aren't providing constructive opinions. It's not any different than reading product reviews, generally the 1 star reviews can be ignored.
Then let them filter them out.

The best result for everyone involved would be if huge numbers of people responded and every single person that responded bombed the survey with a 1 star review equivalent.

What they are looking for is precisely where are the chinks in the armor where they can strike to convince people that they're not exactly what their prior behavior has indicated them to be.

That's it.

joe b.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Much of what Americans love about burritos happened in San Francisco, FWIW. I'd put California's Mexican food up against Tex-Mex any day.
“What Americans love about burritos” is pretty far removed from authentic Mexican food. Not to say that it isn’t good, it’s just a different category of cuisine. Though, I suppose we did arrive at this point from talking about American pizza, which is likewise a completely different thing than the Italian food it’s inspired by. So, I guess I’ll concede this point. Anyway, as Latin food goes I prefer Puerto Rican over anything.

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