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Wizards of the Coast Break Silence on OGL 2.0, Roll Back Royalties and More

Published: January 13, 2023 11:54 AM

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The saga of the new OGL for Dungeons & Dragons continues this morning as Wizards of the Coast break their silence to release an update on the OGL and the next steps. Over the past few days we've been inundated with leaks about the proposed OGL 1.1, a revised OGL 2.0, and a FAQ document outlining some of WOTC directives related to the OGL. This statement is what many have been waiting for as Third Party Publisher and fan outcry has continued to escalate with many rallying behind the banner of #OpenDND to force WOTC to see how damaging their intended changes would be on creators and the D&D community.

What is Wizards of the Coast planning on changing with the proposed OGL 2.0?

Early on in the post WOTC state "it's clear from the reaction that we rolled a 1" and with it there are a number of changes that they are intending to make to the previously leaked OGL that will remove a number of the more controversial aspects of the new OGL. The changes that are going to be made are:

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The OGL 2.0 will only apply to content for TTRPGs while Livestreams, Cosplay, and more will be left as is

The post explains that while OGL 2.0 will need to be signed for Third Party creators to continue making campaigns and setting resources but that other mediums such as "educational and charitable campaigns, livestreams, cosplay, VTT-uses, etc., will remain unaffected by any OGL update". This means content creators wanting to stream their own home games won't need to worry about any OGL 2.0 changes and that larger corporations like Critical Role or Dimension 20 will not need to make any changes in regards to their video content creation. For Critical Role's publishing arm, Darington Press, the OGL 2.0 will apply to future campaign or setting books.

It's also clarified here that all products that have previously been released under OGL 1.0 will remain unaffected and can continue to be sold as such.

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Wizards of the Coast will not collect any royalties from companies whose OGL 2.0-related products sell over a certain threshold

This is largely the biggest change. Previously it was stated that any company whose OGL 2.0-related products generated over $750k in revenue would be required to pay 25% of what was above that threshold in a year to Wizards of the Coast. The initial leak of OGL 1.1 stated that it would be 25% standard, and 20% if the revenue was obtained through Kickstarter, and then in the leaked OGL 2.0 FAQ that released last night it was changed to 20%. The complete removal of the royalty plan is a large plan and one that many small creators are likely excited to see.

Creators will also be happy that WOTC has announced that any verbiage related to license back provision, where there was a fear that WOTC would have the ability to take and sell content that Third-Party Creators had published under OGL 2.0 will be completely removed. This means that "under any new OGL, you will own the content you create. [Wizards of the Coast] won't." They state that the thought of taking others work "never crossed [their] mind" and was intended to protect themselves and their partners from those who might allege plagiarism. The new OGL will contain new verbiage surrounding this protection, but will remove the license back provision.  

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What to look for next with OGL 2.0?

WOTC state that while OGL 2.0 was going to be officially revealed today with the reactions to leaks, plans of alterations, and the fast-paced landscape that this issue has created they're going to take the time to work and reshape it. They state in the DNDBeyond post, much like they did in their FAQ to creators, that their plan "was always to solicit the input of our community before any update to the OGL." Which contradicts the information that we've seen this past week, including handing creators the OGL 1.1 to sign and giving them a one-week deadline. It wouldn't make sense for a draft to be given a week's deadline for those creators to sign, especially as the blog post sets the expectation that the reveal was meant to happen today.

The next step that third-party creators and the greater Dungeons & Dragons community will be holding Wizards of the Coast responsible for their words and ensure that if they state that the license back provision, or the royalty plan are being removed from the OGL that when it is publically available those changes have indeed been made. For the most part, this announcement seems to roll back pretty much all of the controversial aspects of the leaked OGL showing the power that the community has had with #OpenDND and the well-needed outcry of creators. What remains to be seen is how much of the community has WOTC already burned too badly for these changes to make a difference.

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