OGL 1.1 = old school tactics

squeen

8, 8, I forget what is for
Matt's podcast was good. It's worth a listen. Matt is planning of creating a new gaming license for Swords&Wizardy. OSRIC is going to stick with the OGL 1.0 (i.e. not adopt its successor) and see how that plays out, with Stuart Marshall saying WotC can come to England to sue him.
 

Hemlock

Should be playing D&D instead
This comment brings me joy. Said better than I could have said it:

The OGL was based on the GPL v2, which had been around for about a decade. V2 did not include the word "irrevocable". From what I recall, it was during the many SCO lawsuits in the mid 2000s that the combination of legal phrases used around "perpetual" and "authorized" was not equivalent to "irrevocable" leading to the term being in GPL v3.

However, it is notable that a LOT of software is still GPL v2, notably the Linux kernel. If WotC were to be successful in arguing the OGL could be broken, tomorrow Linus Torvalds could revoke the license for the Linux kernel and the world would fall apart.

Same goes for any developer of a key bit of ubiquitious software infrastructure who didn't assign their rights to the FSF or similar entity and, more specifically, their heirs. If Linus died while owning his copyrights and his kids were like the Hasbro execs, well, bad things.

As such, any actual lawsuits filed by Hasbro/WotC would almost certainly result in some of the most capable contract law firms being unleashed on Hasbro, in a mix of pro bono and amicus forms.

It would be pointed out in very stern terms that should Hasbro prevail against these legal titans, Hasbro itself certainly has a ton of GPL v2 code in its many digital offerings (mobile apps & DDB) as well as its corporate infrastructure and those would almost instantly be deauthorized. Not necessarily for the whole world, but for Hasbro in particular, either directly or indirectly.
Source: https://www.enworld.org/threads/so-why-didnt-the-ogl-contain-the-word-irrevocable.694514/
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
When they say WOTC isn't after the OSR $ but after the Twitch Streaming and Kickstarter $$$, I understand what they're saying about Twitch since some of those are making huge money (and if they screw up publicly it will reflect poorly on Hasbro corporate IP), but what are they talking about with Kickstarter? How are people making (apparently more than $750k) with Kickstarter with enough regularity that WOTC sees it as a legitimate income stream?
 

Malrex

So ... slow work day? Every day?
When they say WOTC isn't after the OSR $ but after the Twitch Streaming and Kickstarter $$$, I understand what they're saying about Twitch since some of those are making huge money (and if they screw up publicly it will reflect poorly on Hasbro corporate IP), but what are they talking about with Kickstarter? How are people making (apparently more than $750k) with Kickstarter with enough regularity that WOTC sees it as a legitimate income stream?
I don't know, but man, their approach is total bullshit. With all the unknown factors and paying everyone that contributed (editors, artists, other writers), taxes, kickstarter fees, other bullshit fees--everyone wants a piece of the pie, and with WOTC trying to swoop in at 20%--that could literally mean you lose money. Especially if you can't really plan for that...as you dont know if your product will blow up or not.

Their whole statement in response to the chaos they created sickens me. I get that OSR is a different animal and was run by a different company at the time, but to be honest, it makes me feel gross to even play D&D, let alone 'promote' it by publishing adventures. I'm in awe of how dumb they are and their actions.
 

bryce0lynch

i fucking hate writing ...
Staff member
Presumably this is why WotC never followed up on their cease-and-desist letter they sent the author in 2019: because he showed every willingness to take the case to court and win it, even if it cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and because WotC would lose much more than that if they were found guilty of copyright misuse.
All they've got is trademark enforcement and threats. Everyone will get a C&D from the megacorp and someone will eventually be willing to challenge one it in such a way that Risk Management will recommend an settlement/agreement, just like with Mayfair ... so that their threats don't become meaningless.

The OGL has never been a requirement ... it just meant that maybe you were less likely to get a letter from the megacorp. It was inevitable that the megacorp, looking for new revenue streams, would attempt something to get access to them.

You can just imagine a room full of megacorps in suits, looking at the licensing agreements, and saying to each other "Why aren't we getting a % of those kickstarters/twitchs/Critical Roles?"
 

squeen

8, 8, I forget what is for
You can just imagine a room full of megacorps in suits, looking at the licensing agreements, and saying to each other "Why aren't we getting a % of those kickstarters/twitchs/Critical Roles?"
Like with so much copyright/patent/IP, the notion that I (megacorp etc.) should be able to sit back AND DO/CREATE NOTHING while a portion of society's wealth is streamed to me for years and decades into the future, all based on what someone (who I tricked out of the IP years ago) did in their basement or lab over the course of a few weeks of effort in the distant past is something that make little functional sense.

An entity that puts a tax on us all, while we struggle to do new work in the here-and-now based on some sort of purchased "right", is nothing more than a parasite. Feudalism.

Creator rights should be just that. The creator personally owns the direct products of their (mental) efforts for a limited time...or it goes into the public domain. Corporations can license those rights from the creator for mass production, but only so long as the creator is engaged/paid for it (in real-time). A corporation should only own what it produces...never ideas.

This whole combat over creator's rights was a big deal in the 1970's comic industry. I'm not sure if the needle ever really moved.

Gygax & Arneson die (or some shorter period). Everything they wrote goes into the public domain. End of story. We all can talk freely about D&D was (historical fact) and try to do new things with it. No one should "own" it---certainly not a bunch of OneD&D corporate jackasses who label orcs as racist.

Right now copyright lasts the life of the author + 70 years. That's probably so his descendant can continue to live off it no matter how young he/she were when they did the "magic thing making all the money".

But honestly, those descendants are getting a free ride in life. Why shouldn't they also be required to do something to earn an honest wage? They already potentially get the interest from the huge pile 'o money persumably made while the creator lived.
 

Beoric

8, 8, I forget what is for
If the small players wanted to crowdsource a legal defense fund, to be used for whoever WotC decided to make an example of, I would contribute to it. I suspect everyone who supports RPG Patreons and Kickstarters would.

There would have to be clear rules on the use of the fund, though.
 
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The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
I don't really understand what I'm reading about this new 1.2 deal. People are calling it a win. Other people are calling it 'not a win'. The lynch mob seems to have gotten bored and gone home (there to plot amongst themselves?). I don't get what's going on now. Does anyone have an update on this whole WOTC dustup. Should I become despondent and stop pretending like I'm going to publish this ridiculous vanity project someday? Did this only ever really affect the publishers of retro-clone rule systems in the OSR community and the rest of us were splatting the OGL boilerplate in the back of our adventures out of politeness?
 

robertsconley

Should be playing D&D instead
I don't really understand what I'm reading about this new 1.2 deal. People are calling it a win.
There isn't a 1.2 deal. What happened is that Wizards said they are no longer mucking around with the OGL 1.0a by trying to reauthorize it. And they released the SRD 5.1 under the Creative Commons license specifically CC-BY. The only requirement for using its content is putting Wizard's credit in the work.

Other people are calling it 'not a win'.
Now that the OGL 1.0a has been put under a microscope there are flaws folks, including myself want fixed in order to preserve all the open game content of the last 23 years for reuse. Wizards did not explicitly disclaim their right to reauthorize the license. Along with putting the D20 SRD and the D20 Modern SRD under creative commons as well.

But in fairness, now that the SRD 5.1 is licensed under a creative commons, there not a whole of economic incentive by Wizards to try to fuck up OGL 1.0a again. During this whole debate nobody disputed that Wizards could put OneD&D under a different license like they did with D&D 4e.

The lynch mob seems to have gotten bored and gone home (there to plot amongst themselves?).
Now that the immediate danger is over, it replaced by a quiet determination to sever the industry and hobby from having to deal with Wizards. The Open RPG Content (ORC) license initiative will continue. People with original systems and like to share open content will likely either move away from the OGL or dual license with Creative Commons. Many are waiting to see what happens with ORC. Some are moving on to alternatives like Pathfinder 2e. Some are just planning never to buy from Wizards again.

In general this will be an inflection points with most of the hobby and industry going one way and Wizards with a shrunken audience going another.



Should I become despondent and stop pretending like I'm going to publish this ridiculous vanity project someday? Did this only ever really affect the publishers of retro-clone rule systems in the OSR community and the rest of us were splatting the OGL boilerplate in the back of our adventures out of politeness?
The point of the OGL and content released under the OGL like the d20 SRD, and the SRD 5.1 is to provide certainty over what the IP holder, Wizards for example, was OK with as far as what folks used to share or publish content.

That certainty has been shattered. What you can rely on in that there is now a CC-BY licensed SRD 5.1 that contains all of what you need to support 5e, along the terms needed to provide the certainty that retro-clone are OK. If D20 still your jam , the OGL 1.0a remains intact. And as a hobby publisher likely the worst outcome you will experience is a cease & desist if the next change in management at Wizards turn out to have even bigger assholes then then the current management team has.

If your project relies on a third party work like Swords & Wizardry then you need to use OGL until the author offers a new license.

My plan is to continue to use the OGL 1.0a for my rules stuff and dual license my setting stuff under CC-BY and OGL 1.0a. After ORC comes out, after Matt Finch come up with the next editions of Swords & Wizardry, I will see what I need to do as far as licensing goes.

If I wanted too it would be relatively straight forward for my Majestic Fantasy RPG to it's own thing. Only a handful of paragraphs were cut and pasted from S&W Core 2e (the version of S&W I started with). And I can easily re-write those if need be. But I don't really want to do this as I like to keep things as frictionless as possible for people use other OSR stuff and reuse my stuff.
 

Malrex

So ... slow work day? Every day?
I'm waiting for ORC as well and at some point will look more deeply into the CC-BY. However, this whole scenario/situation sickens me. I find lately that I don't have much desire to write let alone even play anymore. I'm not sure what that's all about. Feels like my girlfriend slept with another dude or something and I don't want to continue to support her...which includes my time and creativity.

I got some projects I'm working on with other authors, but I'm taking a break on my own material. I'm debating on just doing/creating something else. Maybe I'll finally pick up that pencil and start drawing.
 
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