The original OGL (Open Game License) has been the universal copyright license by Wizard of the Coast, and it has allowed creators of all sizes to create Dungeon and Dragons’ related content. The license has let users create, modify, and redesign content and game mechanics for their products. However, the system is shifting drastically.
The new report published by Gizmodo reveals that the upcoming OGL 1.1 will severely hinder the content allowed under the new license. Moreover, the report also deeply suggests that old and universalized Open Gaming License will be rendered useless for creators and developers already utilizing them in their projects.
The report concerns a leaked document dated early to mid-December that entails all the unfortunate changes in the upcoming license.
- The upcoming OGL 1.1 will deeply restrict creators from commercially producing third-party apps, as it makes the rules stricter and more specific. The new OGL is over 9000 words while the original was below 900 words.
- The old Open Gaming License will also allegedly be nullified, causing all the publishers to quickly adapt their business models and products to comply with the new rules.
- The OGL was not supposed to fund creators or let them create apps, except for any printable material, as stated in the document. The new OGL will reflect that idea by updating its rules to be stricter.
- We suggest taking the rumor with a grain of salt.
The new OGL was initially announced when Wizards of the Coast decided to create a revised edition of the Dungeon & Dragons rules codenamed One D&D; the company said the OGL would be updated as well. The original Open Gaming License has been in use since the 2000s, but that will be changed moving forward.
The new OGL is a staggering over 9000 words in contrast to the original Open Gaming licensing that stood at under 900 words.
The new license adopts an aggressive view against bigoted content; for instance, the company may terminate the agreement if third-party creators publish material that is “blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, trans-phobic, bigoted or otherwise discriminatory.”
Moreover, the new Open Gaming License 1.1 also addresses new inclusions in technologies like the contentious Blockchain and NFTs. Unfortunately, the centralized OGL will be rendered invalid; the original license is supposedly updated to say, “no longer an authorized license agreement.”
The rejection of the previous OGL suggests that previously licensed creators will have to adapt quickly to the new changes. The products will have to be overhauled to fit the new rules by Wizards of the Coast.
the Open Game License was always intended to allow the community to help grow D&D and expand it creatively. It wasn’t intended to subsidize major competitors, especially now that PDF is by far the most common form of distribution,” noted the leaked document.
Thus it will heavily restrict the competition hindering the original Dungeons & Dragons in any way. The idea is allegedly repeated further in the leaked document:
OGL wasn’t intended to fund major competitors and it wasn’t intended to allow people to make D&D apps, videos, or anything other than printed (or printable) materials for use while gaming. We are updating the OGL in part to make that very clear,” quoted the document.
Furthermore, the new OGL is also very limiting about what third-party content can be created to be profited from. The new license mentions the particulars as follows.
Only allows for creation of roleplaying games and supplements in printed media and static electronic file formats. It does not allow for anything else, including but not limited to things like videos, virtual tabletops or VTT campaigns, computer games, novels, apps, graphics novels, music, songs, dances, and pantomimes. You may engage in these activities only to the extent allowed under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy or separately agreed between You and Us.”
The fan content policy can be reviewed here. It revolves around fan content “based on or incorporating our IP. Fan Content includes fan art, videos, podcasts, blogs, websites, streaming content, tattoos, altars to your cleric’s deity, etc.”
If the document is genuine, major publications will have to quickly adapt their business model and products to survive the changes. The D&D may change drastically when the updated OGL rolls out in the future.
When io9, the original breaker of the report, tried to reach out to Wizards of the Coasts, a spokesperson referred it to a blog post published in December.
If the original OGL is nullified, every licensed publisher utilizing D&D content will be affected by the change since they will have to report their new and old products. Furthermore, creators of every tier will have to seemingly register with the Wizards of the Coasts.
We suggest reading the original report by Gizmodo linked above, as it features a thorough investigation into the 9000 worded document. Additionally, we still suggest taking the strong rumor with a grain of salt.
What are your thoughts about Wizards of the Coast’s new open gaming license 1.1 allegedly being more controlling to the creators of all sizes? Do you think more restrictions upon creators and invalidating the original OGL will cause Dungeons & Dragons’ popularity to decline? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.
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