[od-discuss] Getting the Open Game License accepted under the Open Definition

Chris Sakkas sanglorian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 11 09:30:01 BST 2013

Hi folks,

I thought I'd take another shot at this now that I've seen the License
Approval Process on the Open Definition site.

*The Open Game License:* http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/ogl.html

*Rationale: *The licence was created to put the rules to the then newly
released third edition of the tabletop roleplaying game *Dungeons & Dragons
*under a licence that would both allow third party publishers to create
supplementary works and protect the 'product identity' of the
thirty-year-old *Dungeons & Dragons *brand.
*Specific to an Organization/Place/Jurisdiction: *No. It was designed for
use with text but has been used with images, and it has been used by
hundreds of publishers and individuals.

*Compare and contrast:*
Probably the most useful comparison is between the OGL and the OD-compliant
GNU Free Documentation License. The GNU FDL has optional sections that make
the licence non-free. Mike Linksvayer suggested that Product Identity in
the Open Game License plays the same role: when exercised, Product Identity
renders a use non-free/libre/open, but when Product Identity is not
exercised, it is free/libre/open.
*Benefits versus licence proliferation:*
Ideally, the licence would be deprecated and all the works under the
licence would be ported over to CC BY-SA. Unfortunately, the cat is out of
the bag and the OGL remains the licence of choice for many tabletop game

I doubt the Open Game License is compatible with the Creative Commons
licences with Attribution clauses. The Open Game License requires a very
specific and limited form of attribution.
*Public drafting process:*
None. Done in house by Wizards of the Coast.

*Previous discussion on this list:*


Thanks folks, it would be good to see a final decision on this one way or
the other. I think the Open Game License is not only currently relevant and
of historical importance, it's also a case study that let's us test and
explore where the boundaries of the Open Definition are.

It will also have practical consequences. I currently index the >100 OGL
licensed works as free/libre/open on the FOSsil Bank (
http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/licence:ogl/), but would switch to indexing
them as proprietary if that's the way this list goes.


*Chris Sakkas
**Admin of the FOSsil Bank wiki <http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/> and the Living
Libre blog <http://www.livinglibre.com> and Twitter

On 4 December 2012 09:53, Chris Sakkas <sanglorian at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Mike,
> Thanks for following this up!
> As far as I understand, Product Identity is not sticky in the same way
> that the OGL is. If you use content under the OGL (work 1), you have to
> re-license it under the OGL (for work 2). However, you do not need to
> declare the Product Identity of work 1 in work 2. That means if someone
> creates work 3 from work 2, they are not bound by the Product Identity of
> work 1. (If they are creating work 3 from work 1 too, then they would be).
> Here's an example:
> In Dungeons & Dragons there's a monster, the beholder (a multi-eyed orb
> monster). It is Product Identity. If you were creating a work from the
> System Reference Document, you couldn't use the term 'beholder'. However,
> if you were creating a work (work 3) from a work (work 2) that was itself
> created from the System Reference Document (work 1), you could. This would
> allow you to create a NoX RPG (NoX had a similar but different monster
> called a beholder).
> At least, that's my interpretation. The alternative would be that every
> time you created a derivative of a work, you would need to identify the
> Product Identity of every work that that work was a derivative of.
> Therefore, it shouldn't be too hard to find (or create) works without
> Product Identity, even if they are derived from works with Product Identity.
> But I am not a lawyer, so take all this with a grain of salt.
> Cheers,
> *Chris Sakkas
> **Admin of the FOSsil Bank wiki <http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/> and the Living
> Libre blog <http://www.livinglibre.com> and Twitter feed<https://twitter.com/#%21/living_libre>
> .*
> On 4 December 2012 09:15, Mike Linksvayer <ml at gondwanaland.com> wrote:
>> Months ago Chris Sakkas wrote to this list re the subject
>> http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/od-discuss/2012-May/000149.html and I
>> didn't see any followup.
>> I suggest http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/ogl.html *might* be Open
>> Knowledge Definition compliant, with the proviso that no "Product
>> Identity" is defined (akin to FDL with no invariant sections etc). But
>> I'm not at all certain.
>> This is an old license (2000). It has been discussed thoroughly
>> elsewhere, though I don't have a specific reference. Does anyone? Does
>> anyone know of important uses free of "Product Identity"?
>> Mike
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/od-discuss/attachments/20130711/1055db15/attachment.htm>

More information about the od-discuss mailing list