D&D maker still wants to revoke earlier versions of ‘open’ gaming license

D&D Wizards of the Coast trying to destroy their original open game license with fire.”/>

Enlarge / Artist’s conception of J&D-maker Wizards of the Coast attempts to destroy its original open game license with fire.

Dungeons and Dragons (J&DManufacturer Wizards of the Coast’s (WotC) latest attempt to update its decades-old Open Gaming License (OGL) still includes the controversial statement that “Open Gaming License 1.0a is no longer an authorized license. “. The news comes after the company’s first attempt to write an OGL update with similar language (and other controversial changes) sparked widespread outrage from fans and alienation from the creator community.

WotC says this proposed “delicensing” of OGL v1.0a will not affect any original content released under this prior license since its inception in the early 2000s and that such content will not need to be updated or renewed. to comply with any new OGL language. But all published content after the coming into force of the proposed OGL v1.2 could not simply choose the earlier license instead, according to the update as written.

In an explanatory post on the D&D Beyond blog, WotC executive producer Kyle Brink said that WotC realizes that this planned deauthorization is of “great concern” to the community. But he added that it was a necessary measure to enforce the OGL’s new restrictions on illegal and/or hateful content, including “harmful, discriminatory, illegal, obscene or harassing behavior”, as determined by WotC.

“We cannot use the protection options of 1.2 if someone can simply choose to post harmful, discriminatory or illegal content under 1.0a,” Brink wrote. Ensuring an “inclusive gaming experience” in this way was an “extremely important” goal that was not included in the original OGL, he added.

Whether WotC actually has the legal power to completely revoke the earlier version of OGL, however, remains an open question. Indeed, the original OGL contains a clause clearly stating that players may “use any licensed version of this License to copy, modify, and distribute any open game content originally distributed under any version of this Licence”.

The original OGL does not contain any specific language indicating that it is irrevocable. But in an FAQ posted when the original OGL was published, WotC directly stated that “even if Wizards made a change [to the license] you do not agree, you may continue to use an acceptable earlier version of your choice. And in a recent interview with tabletop gaming site En World, original OGL architect and former WotC VP Ryan Dancey said the company “does not have the power to undo the authorization of a version of the OGL. If that had been a power we wanted to reserve for Hasbro, we would have listed it in the license.”

Coming to the Commons

Besides deauthorizing OGL v1.0a, the new draft language reduces many of the more controversial parts of the leaked original update, including plans to require revenue reporting, collect royalties for top content creators and force a license to WotC. for original content. The new draft text also explicitly notes that the new license is “perpetual, non-exclusive and irrevocable”, with only a few technical sections subject to change in the future.

Conception artistique de la discussion à venir entre Wizards of the Coast et la communauté <em>D&D</em> on proposed OGL updates.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/dnddiscuss-640×447.jpg” width=”640″ height=”447″ srcset= “https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/dnddiscuss-1280×895.jpg 2x”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Artist’s impression of the upcoming discussion between Wizards of the Coast and the J&D community on proposed OGL updates.

J&DThe core mechanics of would be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, which WotC says “places no limitations on how you use this content.” While not strictly true, this license grants “a worldwide, royalty-free, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license” to this rules content provided that the licensor appropriately credits WotC for its creation.

For “essentially J&D content” published by WotC (e.g. classes, spells, monsters and other creative content created by the company), the new license would allow use, modification and distribution with some restrictions. In addition to limits on illegal content and /or hateful content, as noted above, the Language Project prohibits anything that infringes third-party intellectual property or involves official WotC endorsement.

A survey allowing members of the public to comment on this new draft OGL language will be made public on Friday, WotC said, and will be available through Feb. 3. Further updates based on this feedback will be released no later than February 17, according to the company, and this type of iteration on the feedback “will go on as long as necessary…until we get it right.” properly,” Brink wrote.

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