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posted by hubie on Monday January 23 2023, @02:34AM   Printer-friendly

Amid all the backlash, Wizards of the Coast is pursuing a radically different strategy for its future open licensing:

Dungeons & Dragons released a statement today saying that the future of its open gaming license will include its core rules being placed under the purview of the Creative Commons. The Creative Commons is "a nonprofit dedicated to sharing knowledge, and it developed a set of licenses to let creators do that," says the newest update from Kyle Brink, the executive producer at Dungeons & Dragons.

This decision is a direct response to a lot of the fears the community had after io9 reported on the initial OGL 1.1 draft on January 5. The CC license will cede Wizards of the Coast's control over the base rules and mechanics of D&D to the nonprofit that stewards the license, which means that Dungeons & Dragons and WOTC will be unable to touch it and will not be able to revoke it. Likewise, content that goes beyond the remit of using core rules will fall under a new OGL, dubbed 1.2, which will contain specific language denoting the license as "irrevocable"—a massive pressure point for creators who used the original OGL 1.0 and were worried about the implications of the 30-day termination clause in the OGL 1.1.

[...] Wizards of the Coast seems committed to having a firm stance on bigoted and hateful content—something that people praised in the leaked draft. "If you include harmful, discriminatory, or illegal content (or engage in that conduct publicly), we can terminate your OGL 1.2 license to our content," reads the statement. [...]

Additionally, Brink states that "what [Dungeons & Dragons] is going for here is giving good-faith creators the same level of freedom (or greater, for the ruleset in Creative Commons) to create TTRPG content that's been so great for everyone, while giving us the tools to ensure the game continues to become ever more inclusive and welcoming." [...]

Previously: Dungeons & Dragons' New License Tightens its Grip on Competition

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Monday January 23 2023, @07:56AM (4 children)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Monday January 23 2023, @07:56AM (#1288150)

    retroactively changing it in a way that allowed them to gather fees from people who created content for their IP (on anything already made or to be made in the future)

    IANAL but how is this legal? Retroactively changing a license?! My reflexive reaction is "STFU unless I publish something new"?

    it's way more complicated than that, I try to give a 2 line synopsis for someone who doesn't want to watch a 2 hours video about it or read a few dozen pages worth of drama

    It is appreciated. Considering how wacky this explanation has been already, I assume the answer is "lawyerese, they convinced somebody to change the rules, definitely not in exchange for money/favors".

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by MrGuy on Monday January 23 2023, @03:22PM (1 child)

    by MrGuy (1007) on Monday January 23 2023, @03:22PM (#1288182)

    Whether it's legal or not is something for IP lawyers (IANAL) to debate, but the basic gist is that the original license allowed derivative content to be created on "any authorized version" of their license, and they decided their new version could "deauthorize" the previous license. Via Gizmodo []

    The original OGL granted “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive license” to the Open Game Content (commonly called the System Resource Document) and directed that licensees “may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.” But the updated OGL says that “this agreement is…an update to the previously available OGL 1.0(a), which is no longer an authorized license agreement.”

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday January 23 2023, @08:27PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday January 23 2023, @08:27PM (#1288242)

      Kind of sounds like their previous license's "everything is forward-compatible and you can use whatever version you like" was a terrible idea to begin with.

      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday January 23 2023, @05:58PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Monday January 23 2023, @05:58PM (#1288214)

    Retroactively changing a license?

    Theres two weird FUD things going on in parallel on the same topic, sorta.

    First one is the company has a history of making "superficial" changes then calling it a new version, and its time to "force" everyone to rebuy everything by releasing a 6th edition, which would have come with the awful license everyone hates. So sure, keep selling "5e" products or even older, it'll be legal, just nobody will buy it because for better or worse the entire market will be on "6e" with the new shit license.

    Second issue is, as much as I hate to say it, the "good guys" spreading FUD about 30 days. There's a termination clause in the OGL, line 13, where the company is being nice guys instead of instantly terminating your license if you F up, they give you 30 days to "cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the breach". So under line 2, you're not allowed to put the WOTC corporate logo on your creations claiming its an officially approved WOTC product or similar, and under other licenses your license would instant terminate and you're F-d if you have a warehouse full of your own books, but now you have 30 days. For example if your sales website had an "Action photo" of gamers playing and in the background there's a WOTC product displaying the WOTC logo in your marketing photo, you got 30 days to put up a new marketing photo that doesn't contain their trademark, or all your books are unlicensed thus illegal. The company is actually being lenient but its being FUD'd as some "they can take away your license in 30 days if they want to" which is complete bullshit as anyone who actually bothers to read the license could see.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday January 23 2023, @06:05PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday January 23 2023, @06:05PM (#1288217)

      Oh and as a followup, I forgot to mention, this termination clause can more or less be found elsewhere.

      Check out the termination clause #8 in the GPL version 3; IANAL but I read it as being the same deal, rephrased, you F up in following the license you got 30 days post-notification to un-F yourself before the license terminates.

      Note that the MIT license does not have a termination clause OR a severance clause OR a time limit, so as I read it, and IANAL and enforcement and interpretation depend on where you live, however, as I read it, if you totally F a MIT licensed piece of software, perhaps by claiming the author is liable or by intentional removal or defacement of the copyright notice, you instantly (permanently?) lose your MIT license and have to treat it as closed source copyrighted "stolen" software. Therefore my opinion is you're safer as a company with GPL licensed software than with MIT licensed software because at least you have a legal right to fix GPL violations in a month rather than insta-termination.

      I'm too lazy to look up other licenses.