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Monday, July 7, 2014

It Was Bound to Happen - Someone Has "Published" their own 5e SRD under the Guise of the OGL - Say Hello (and Goodbye?) to SRD5

There is an excellent thread on this over at ENWorld, including the following post by the poster / publisher / whatever of SRD5 (which is pretty much a cut n paste of the recently released D&D Basic Rules).


So, according to Artificer, he has declared all of Basic 5e to be open and is offering a SRD5 Compatibility License.

Fun times.

I'm going to bookmark the thread, as I expect the roller coaster ride to be entertaining if nothing else ;)

24 comments:

  1. Now there's someone who must just love dealing with lawyers.

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  2. The entertainment doesn't stop with the 5e launch. We should have added the internet to Dungeons & Dragons a long time ago!

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  3. Gotta say WotC has been very liberal with their enforcement and interpretation of the OGL, but this guy needs to be put down. Can't he effing wait until they come out with their license, for crying out loud?

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  4. OSRIC opened this can of worms. You can't unscrew a pregnant woman.

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    1. Unlike this guy, OSRIC has a legal leg to stand on, as I understand this. After all, writing 1e rules in a coherent, consistently understandable, and well-organized way transforms it into something that barely resembles what Gygax wrote? :-P

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  5. I really don't know enough of the legal issues, but this guys is a dick no matter how you slice it.

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  6. I predicted this would happen in a G+ post around the time Basic was announced. He might have a partial legal leg to stand on using the OGL... but what isn't clear is how the mechanics that aren't specifically covered by the OGL are covered. Things like "Advantage", "Second Wind", "Backgrounds" aren't in the original 3.x system reference document, so their legal status may still be protected under normal copyright since they won't be publishable under the OGL.

    In any case, it will never reach a court. Hasbro is likely to cite the DMCA in a take down notice to his hosting provider. He'll have to go offshore if he hasn't already. Even if he hosts offshore, if he's a U.S. Citizen he could be in very dangerous law suit waters. IP lawyers don't #$%& around.

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    1. It's unlikely he could pull any defense using the OGL. It's hard to claim that his spells with OGL versions are derivative of the OGL content when the text exactly matches the published 5e rules. Unless he's outside the US, he's screwed in court. And I imagine WotC really loves the fact that he's trying to create his own license for their content. How he can do that and claim he's not challenging WotC's IP with a straight face boggles the mind.

      I'm not a lawyer, but this looks easy enough for a non-lawyer to figure out it's illegal.

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  7. Given the nature of present intellectual monopoly laws and the court system in the US, this guy is certainly taking quite a risk. Having said that, D&D will thrive (or not) on its own merits (or lack thereof) in the marketplace.

    I think the name calling is uncalled for.

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  8. Everyone is looking to corner their little piece of the 5E market but no one actually know what Habro / WOTC is planning. First move advantage normally works when you know what the second move might be. To me, I think I few people are showing their "hands" a little to early.

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    1. Good. Seriously....I'm fine with people creatively using the OGL to support 5E, but cloning a game that's barely begun to roll out is just in bad taste, regardless of the legality.

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  10. Looks like he took it down more from all the negative feedback he was getting than from any legal action...

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  11. My inner conspiracy theorist cries out, this is all a publicity stunt of WotC, first to spread the word, and second to discourage similar approaches to this, even if they made in a more legit way. Especially if they are made that way. o_Ô
    But I don't listen too often to my inner conspiracy theorist - he talks bull**** most of the time. ;)

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    1. Companies are not so cavalier with their own IP. Remember the old axiom "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by laziness or stupidity."

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    2. The guy is Chris Sakkas, who seems obsessed with open source and free library (libre and such) resources online. Not much else to him, but his profile fits his intent. Most likely he'll resurface with some better legal focus if he can wait long enough for WotC to announce their 3PP plan (whatever form it may take...and it may take many forms, so avert your eyes!)

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I didn't get a chance to see the document, but it sounds like it didn't include anything about Drizzt or Dragon Lance stuff, etc. As some ENworld poster mentioned yesterday, 5e has nothing new rules-wise. Everything in it can be found somewhere else in D&D. Plus, you can't copyright game mechanics.

    So, if that guy wasn't asking for any money, the OGL of 3rd edition (and everything that's followed, like OSRIC) gives him more than just a wobbly leg to stand on legally. That is my opinion; I'm not a lawyer.

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    1. There's a difference between nothing new rules-wise and cutting and pasting. I only glanced at the website earlier, and its been taken down now, but my understanding is that it was a cut-n-paste job. You can't cut n paste something not in the OGL into the OGL; you need to rewrite it.

      Also,if the concept did previously exist under the OGL and he copied it from there, he'd have to cite it in the Section 15.

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