“Rolled a 1;” Wizards of the Coast’s new Open Games License

 Wizards of the Coast had a critical failure on this skill check. Photo via MalukuSeito.​​

Wizards of the Coast had a critical failure on this skill check. Photo via MalukuSeito.​​

Adam Alexander, Social Media Manager

The game company Wizards of the Coast (WotC) had a leak of information regarding their new Open Games License (OGL) that was leaked on Jan. 9. Essentially, the OGL is a public copyright that WotC created in 2000. The OGL has allowed the community of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) to create and distribute content associated with D&D under the same license.


You would think this sounds like a good thing, but with the new version 1.1 leak it was stated that WotC was allowed to essentially take any work created under the license and claim it as their own.


From the multiple sections of the leak, “You agree to give us a nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sub-licensable, royalty-free license to use that content for any purpose.” Under this leaked version of the license, WotC is able to take community created content for themselves and use it anyway they like.


For some time WotC stayed quiet, while the D&D community took to social media to bash the decision to change this license. The community used TikTok and Twitter to urge members of the community to act out and cancel D&D Beyond subscriptions. In doing so, WotC finally made a response.


Kyle Brink, executive producer on D&D, made a statement apologizing for the version of the OGL that got leaked. Brink also stated that video content, accessories for owned content, non-published works, virtual tabletop content, Dungeon Master’s Guild content, OGL 1.0a content, revenue and ownership of content will all stay safe under the new version of the OGL currently being worked on.


A draft of the OGL 1.2 was officially released claiming, “Your Licensed Works are yours. They may not be copied or used without your permission.” This is a great step in ensuring the safety of a creators work they created; however, it is still not a guarantee that WotC will not backpedal to a previous version of the OGL.


Personally, I feel as if WotC was attempting to make a move that was promoted by Hasbro, their parent company. Hasbro has been seeing diminishing returns recently and with that they attempted to use D&D, their largest source of revenue, as a means to gain money. Call it what you will, corporate greed or just a company defending its product, but it is not their product. A community made D&D what it is today and as a member of that community, until an official OGL is released allowing content creators to own their content I will be canceling my D&D Beyond subscription. I urge you and anyone you know to do the same. Send the message that we will not allow a company to ruin our community.

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