Wizards of the Coast releases an update on its Open Game License

One D&D

There’s been a lot of chatter and protest against a leaked draft of the update to the Open Game License for Dungeons & Dragons.

Launched in 2000 for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, the license allowed the use of a portion of the game for third parties to create compatible material. During the 4th edition, there was a more restrictive royalty-free license called the Game System License which took away some freedoms from the original license (though that was irrevocable and remains in use). Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition returned to the OGL and featured additional licensing options by publishing through the Dungeon Masters Guild storefront which allowed for the sale of content and creators could name their own price with Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf taking 50% of the proceeds.

With One D&D on the horizon, a new version of the license has been in the works and a leaked draft caused an uproar in the community. The unconfirmed leaks claimed the original OGL would be discontinued and the new 1.1 version would include royalty fees and greater rights to the material by Wizards of the Coast. This led to threats of protest and other publishers announcing their own open licenses.

Wizards of the Coast today released a response about the updated OGL which has still not been released.

The statement claims the revised OGL had three goals:

  1. The ability to prevent the use of D&D content in hateful and discriminatory products
  2. To address the use of D&D in web3, blockchain games, and NFTs, making it clear the OGL content is limited to tabletop roleplaying content like campaigns, modules, and supplements
  3. To ensure that OGL is for content creators, homebrewers, aspiring designers, players, and the community. It’s not meant for major corporations

The leaked draft’s section about royalties was to apply to large corporations attempting to use the OGL for their own content. The company has admitted they fumbled that and they can’t achieve all three goals.

The company has now stated the next OGL will focus on protecting and cultivating an inclusive environment and specify it only applies to tabletop RPG content. Educational, charitable campaigns, livestreams, cosplay, VTT-use, and more will remain unaffected by the update. Content released under 1.0a will also be unaffected.

The new update will also not contain any royalty structure or license back provisions. That was a concern by some thinking Wizards of the Coast would use it to steal work.

You can read Wizards of the Coast’s full statement here.

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