Open(ly) Ganking (the) License!

This is my first business post in 2023. Unexpectedly, it is also my gaming post for this month. (I told you two weeks ago I wasn’t sure when it was going to happen…). It’s not the way I planned it. It’s just how things went.

A lot has come out recently about WOTC/Hasbro’s new Open Gaming License (OGL) 1.1 (Subsequently changed to “2.0” in their ongoing attempts to survive the flack storm…). There’s been a lot of commentary about it, which I don’t need to re-cover. Instead, I’m reporting on how the change is affecting some of my projects, and some general thoughts about intellectual property.

I had announced that I was going to start a series of encounters based in my world but also useable with Dungeons and Dragons 5e. That project and a related one have kind of stalled out for a while. And, I’m actually glad!

I’m glad things stalled out because, with the change in OGL, Wotc/Hasbro could have effectively stolen my intellectual property. And, worse, made me pay for the use of my own IP…

I have no problem what so ever with a person or company protecting their ideas and creations. Actually, it’s something I agree with rather strongly.

If things had started out as a closed license, I would have no problems with the concept of a royalties clause. But that’s not what’s happening here. They’re trying to transfer an open license into a closed one. And trying to force a one-sided deal down our throats.

In effect, Wotc/Hasbro’s action has created a lie. And then made it worse. As I said, it’s not really an open license anymore. The royalties clause killed that. And, they way it’s set in the version of the “OGL” that I’ve seen, Wotc/Hasbro must think they’re real royalty. They state they can change the amount and “buy in” level of the royalties at any time of their choosing.

That makes it worse than most negotiated licenses because you don’t have a fixed agreement. You have one side dictating terms to another. It only gets worse when you notice they’ve inserted language that you, the individual, have to pay them royalties but they get to use your IP for free, and in perpetuity!

That’s not acceptable to me. And, it shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone else. A “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” mindset is pretty socially maladaptive. And, it’s the stance that Wotc/Hasbro are taking.

Is my stuff going away? No. In fact, I’m making it better. And freeing myself from some pretty sociopathic behavior on a major company’s part. I’m freeing things up and going my own way. It’s for the best.

Yes, dear reader, the road may be hard. But when someone, anyone, seeks to take away your choices, freedom, or property (even intellectual property) without your consent, there’s a problem. And, in the case of “OGL” 1.1, I’m cutting the problem loose and going my own way.

Intellectual property is a big topic. We’ll be visiting it again.

In the meantime, remember, your thoughts are your own (Just like everyone else’s). And, I’ll see you next post.

Published by Farangian

I'm a writer (fiction and non fiction) with a Masters in Psychology. I am also a sculptor, metal smith, lapidary, tutor/trainer, and eternal student. The name Farangian comes from the name of a fantasy world I created called Farangia. That name comes from Farang with is a term that the Thai use for westerners.

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