A leaked version of the draft of the Open Game License (OGL) update, which lays the groundwork for third parties to make use of the IPs of the famous game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), has generated a huge impact within the huge gaming community. gamers, content creators, artists and video game developers linked to the fantasy universe owned by Wizards of the Coast (Wotc).
The draft of the new OGL, which updates the previous version that hundreds of thousands of people use for the day-to-day work, creates significant game-changing restrictions for those who make a living from generating D&D-related content.
Behind the launch of One D&D, an official subscription platform with a lot of D&D digital content and which seeks to be the main stop for its players, WotC began planning an update to its OGL 1.0, considered one of the most open third-party licenses within universe of board game and related IPs.
In the new version, considered by WotC a draft that sought to measure the reaction of its potential users, OGL 1.1 would greatly restrict -and do it retroactively- the freedoms previously provided and would generate, among many other new rules, a 25% royalties debt for those successful new content based on D&D (they must exceed USD 750,000 in profits or simply be part of a KickStarter campaign), which would affect competitors, such as Pathfinder, and multiple D&D-based games that use crowdfunding to finance their development.
In addition, all new content would have to be registered with WotC, and would give the Hasbro-owned company “a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sublicensable, royalty-free license to use that content for any purpose.”
Those potentially affected by this new version of the OGL quickly came to cross it, led by hundreds of YouTube channels that dedicate their time to broadcasting live games, creating campaigns, going over lore, or other similar elements related to Dungeons and Dragons.
“[OGL 1.1] stifles the vibrant community that has flourished under the original license,” reads an open letter signed by several of the potentially affected parties. “No matter the creator, it locks everyone into a new contract that restricts their work, requires them to report their projects and income to Wizards of the Coast, and gives WotC the legal right to reproduce and resell creators’ content without permission or compensation.”
WotC let the community panic for a few days, but less than a week later it released a statement about it, assuring that the purpose of its new OGL is to prevent D&D products from being used to generate “hate and discrimination”, as well as to block its use in web3, blockchain games and NFTs, among others.
“[For this reason] our early drafts of the new OGL included the provisions they did,” the statement said. “That draft language was provided to content creators and publishers so their feedback could be considered before anything was finalized. In addition to language allowing us to address discriminatory and hateful conduct and clarifying what types of products the OGL covers, our drafts included royalty language designed to apply to large corporations attempting to use OGL content. It was never our intent to impact the vast majority of the community.”
“However, it’s clear from the reaction that we rolled a 1,” the text says.
WotC ensures that the final version will not have a royalty structure, nor the licensing restrictions that would make WotC the owner of third-party creations based on its game.
“Our plan was always to solicit the input of our community before any update to the OGL; the drafts you’ve seen were attempting to do just that,” the statement said. “We want to always delight fans and create experiences together that everyone loves. ”
“Finally, we’d appreciate the chance to make this right. We love D&D’s devoted players and the creators who take them on so many incredible adventures. We won’t let you down,” ends the statement.
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