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Quote: Gizmodo's Scoop on New WotC License

·375 words·2 mins
Quotes d&d ttrpg

What a scoop! Linda Codega got a leaked copy of Wizards of the Coast’s new version of the OGL. The new version of the license is “over 9,000 words long”1, and, well, it sounds pretty bad.

While there is plenty more to parse, the main takeaway from the leaked OGL 1.1 draft document is that WotC is keeping power close at hand. There is no mention of perpetual, worldwide rights given to creators (which was present in section 4 of the original OGL), and one of the caveats is that the company “can modify or terminate this agreement for any reason whatsoever, provided We give thirty (30) days’ notice.”

WotC also gets the right to use any content that licensees create, whether commercial or non-commercial. Although this is couched in language to protect Wizards’ products from infringing on creators’ copyright, the document states that for any content created under the updated OGL, regardless of whether or not it is owned by the creator, Wizards will have a “nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sub-licensable, royalty-free license to use that content for any purpose.”

There are a lot of implications in this extended policy, and the ramifications of this updated OGL could have a chilling effect on new licensed products. As only “static” products are included, all work that publishers do for virtual tabletops may have to be offered as non-commercial, free products, which de-incentivizes their production. The royalties associated with any company making above $750K could also prompt publishers to hold back extra products or scale down projects so they stay under the Expert Tier.

Linda Codega, Dungeons & Dragons’ New License Tightens Its Grip on Competition, Gizmodo

If this draft, or even something similar, is what they end up releasing it’s going to have a major chilling effect on third-party publishers of D&D-compatible content. It remains to be seen whether some of the document’s clauses, such as ending the original OGL as an approved license would hold up in court, but it seems that Hasbro’s desire to “ fully monetize D&D” is in full effect.

I’d strongly encourage you to go and read the linked article, because the quote above is only a fraction of what’s changing.

  1. The original OGL was less than 900 words. ↩︎