Wizards of the Coast’s proposed replacement for Dungeons and Dragon’s Open Game License 1.0 removes a major legal right for third-party creators.
Wizards of the Coast (WotC) proposed Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License (OGL) 1.2 would take a major legal right away from creators.
Wizards of the Coast (WotC) released its “playtest” Dungeons & Dragons (OGL) 1.2, which would replace the longstanding OGL 1.0, via a D&D Beyond blog post by Executive Producer for Dungeons & Dragons Kyle Brink. Fans expressed concern about a change that forces creators to waive class action lawsuits under OGL 1.2. This is particularly concerning for the fans who believe that it was that very threat of possible class action lawsuits against the company that caused WotC to back down from its originally announced plans for OGL 1.1.
What Legal Rights Do Creators Waive Under the New OGL?
The major legal change (none of these waivers were present in the original OGL) occurs in the MISCELLANEOUS section of the license, where it states:
Governing Law/Jurisdiction/Class Action Waiver. This license and all matters relating to its interpretation and enforcement will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and any disputes arising out of or relating to this license will be resolved solely and exclusively through individual litigation in the state or federal courts located in the county in which Wizards (or any successor) has its headquarters, and the parties expressly consent to the jurisdiction of such courts. Each party hereto irrevocably waives the right to participate in any class, collective, or other joint action with respect to such a dispute.
This would mean that creators could not band together for lawsuits against WotC, and historically, class action lawsuits have been particularly influential in effecting corporate change. Class action lawsuits have also been used against WotC in the past, like a 2019 lawsuit regarding a special edition of Magic: The Gathering cards.
D&D Fans React to the OGL Change
Twitter user DarkLordWaffles tweeted the most detailed reaction to the change, “Wizards is trying to divide the community with their updated OGL 1.2 stipulating we cannot class action sue them or have a trial by jury. Forcing individual litigation is another means to stifle us banding together. They also seem to be able to terminate your OGL if you sue them. Seems pretty clear to me they want to stop us from banding together again.”
Other users reacted similarly:
WotC DnD OGL Controversy So Far
A leaked copy of Wizards of the Coast’s OGL appeared online two weeks ago, sparking massive protests among the community. That version, which WotC has since claimed as a draft, gave the company a license-back agreement that would allow it to manufacture and sell third-party creators’ products. It also severely limited the types of content allowed and implemented a high royalties payment for those making over $750,000.
WotC’s most recent adjustments removed most of these clauses, though it did not agree to keep the original OGL intact as most fans demanded. D&D players have protested the changes by canceling their D&D Beyond accounts en masse and moving over to other TTRPG systems. Some third-party creators have stepped away from D&D as well, announcing the creation of their own core rules sets and OGLs.
Source: D&D Beyond
#WotCs #DnD #OGL #Replacement #Removes #Class #Suit #Rights #Creators