WotC Maintains OGL 1.0a and Releases SRD 5.1 Under CC License
Wizards of the Coast seems to take the feedback provided seriously. Wow, I did not expect this sudden change. In their recent decision they have stated that they are planning to keep the Open Game License (OGL) 1.0a in place and make the entire System Reference Document (SRD) 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license. The Creative Commons license has already happened when they posted it with the announcement of the change of direction. WotC has stated that the move came as a response to the OGL survey that showed overwhelming support for OGL 1.0a and dissatisfaction with deauthorizing it.
“88% do not want to publish TTRPG content under OGL 1.2,” and “90% would have to change some aspect of their business to accommodate OGL 1.2,” were just some of the results from the survey. Additionally, “89% are dissatisfied with deauthorizing OGL 1.0a,” and “86% are dissatisfied with the draft VTT policy,” further emphasizing the community’s preference for OGL 1.0a.
Wizards of the Coast stated, “We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched.” They also added, “We are also making the entire SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license. You choose which you prefer to use.” This Creative Commons license, CC-BY-4.0, makes the content freely available for any use, and it is irrevocable and open, meaning there’s no need for a VTT policy. Creators only need to use one sentence to invoke the use of the SRD5.1 into their works.
Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that provides a standardized system of licenses for creative works such as text, images, music, and videos. CC-BY-4.0 is a specific type of Creative Commons license. It stands for “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International” license. It is a permissive free culture license, allowing for sharing, adapting, and distributing the licensed material. The license requires that the original creator is attributed in any use of the licensed material, and also allows for commercial use. These licenses allow creators to share their work with others while still retaining some rights to control how the work is used. The CC licenses are designed to make it easy for creators to share their work while also ensuring that they are properly credited and compensated for their contributions. The license is irrevocable, meaning that the original creator can’t change the terms of the license after it has been applied to the material.
There was a large movement by many online communities, including the #OpenDnD movement, to keep the OGL 1.0 & 1.0a licenses open and not deauthorized. The public outrage was started at the beginning of January when OGL 2.0 was leaked and everyone was able to read through the plans for deauthorizing previous OGLs, royalty payments, and other unpopular aspects. It was not good. Wizards of the Coast was immediately silent after the leak which made things worse, and after many other missteps they created the online survey (playtest) with an update version to check the temperature of the community. The #OpenDnD movement also pushed for a large exodus of people to stop their subscriptions to DnDBeyond which was reported to be nearly 40,000 subscription cancellations (DnDBeyond was recently acquired by Wizards of the Coast).
#OpenDnD, online backlash, loss of DnDBeyond subscriptions, along with the survey results may have prompted Wizards of the Coast to take this next step to protect the D&D play experience into the future and rely on the community’s choices to define the future of play. It was seen by many as a way to silence the online uproar by focusing attention away from the negative online talk. But as we found out today, they released the survey results which were very much against all of the recent decisions by Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast. This decision also came amid Hasbro’s recent stock decrease by -5.19 (-8.13%) in the past 5 days, and terrible December financials news.
Wizards of the Coast has stated that their goal is to deliver on what the community wanted from the survey results, and they have said they are grateful for the passionate and active community that will help protect the game’s inclusive and welcoming nature. They have made a PDF of SRD 5.1 with the Creative Commons license available for download and I am still reading through it for changes. The SRD 5.1 is 403 pages, but it appears to be the same SRD 5.1 that was released back in 2016. So with SRD5.1 in CC, will there even be any new D&D 5th edition products produced using the OGL 1.0a in the future? I don’t know.
By the way, who won? As they say, no press is bad press. And all of this happened right before the release of the D&D Movie. I guess I won’t feel so guilty about watching it. The conspiracy theorist side of me still thinks that this may have all just been a marketing plan to beef up the movie… nahhhhhh It was just terrible terrible terrible business decisions by executives & management. There are many that are ready to move on from this mess and roll some dice and have fun (me), but there are also some online skeptics about Wizards of the Coast’s future with D&D.
By the way, this movie trailer with the chonky red dragon makes me excited especially with the Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love” music in the background. Wow!
They took down the post that famously said;
“Those people will only be half right. They won—and so did we…” So no link…