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Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:46 pm
by jeffmoore
I am planning to eventually rework all of my previous projects to make them some kind of open content. Currently I am trying to figure out the difference between placing the creative commons / attribution mark on my works and pasting the WOC Open Game License into my docs. I'd love for someone to tell me what the pros and cons of each of these is. I would like to retain my "ownership" of my work while still allowing people to copy, change, create and share anything they want of those same works. Also, if I declare my work to be OGL is it enough to copy and paste the OGL verbatim or are there components that I should consider examining and changing to my individual needs?

Thanks for the help!

Jeff Moore

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:42 pm
by Rob Lang
CC is becoming more common and I think the CC website is really good for describing what can and can't be done. I'm going CC with Icar, which is something of a shock for me! :)

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:38 pm
by Starglim
The OGL allows you to lock down things like trademarks or setting elements as Product Identity, which you not only don't release, but also anyone using your work must explicitly agree not to use. If your projects are entirely your own work, I believe that's the main difference.

If you've derived parts of your text from OGC sources (D&D 3e, d20 Modern, anyone who has used those, FATE or certain others) you have no choice - you can only release it without infringement by using the OGL.

As well as adding a copy of the OGL, you must
  • (section 2) place a notice stating that the Open Game Content in your work can only be used under the licence,
  • (section 6) update the copyright notice section of the licence (that is, section 15) with the notices from all sources that you used and with a notice for your own product, and
  • (section 8 ) clearly indicate which parts of the work are Open Content, usually by a "Designation of Open Content" paragraph alongside the section 2 notice and your other legal notices.
There is not too much to this - just have a look at an existing product from a major publisher (some nevertheless manage to get it wrong) or a guide such as:

The OGL text itself is copyright WotC and you can't add or subtract terms from it.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:05 pm
by Sanglorian
That's a great summary from Starglim!

Is receiving credit for your work important to you? The OGL forbids credit except in the Section 15 which is rarely read.

Do you want adaptations of your work to be open as well? CC Attribution won't do this; the OGL or CC Attribution-Share Alike will.

Do you want a clear differentiation between open content and closed content? The OGL makes this easy with the Open Content Declaration and the Product Identity declaration. It's probably still possible if using a CC licence (AGON makes the cover image open but not the rest) but it'd be more complicated.

Can you spare a page for a licence? If not, CC just requires a paragraph-long snippet.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:38 pm
by Chainsaw Aardvark
Two questions to add a bit of discourse. First - What does it take to create your own copyright or license? Secondly, what would you want to be in that legal document? (Excuse the short rant, but it the grounds for my suggested copyright at the bottom)

My major gripes with intellectual property laws as they stand, is that they really last too long, and are often applied in ways that the creators of the law could not have foreseen as harmful.

I certainly believe that a creator should get credit and compensation (if applicable) for their work. However, if someone writes a song, they really shouldn't be depending on its royalties 10 or 50 years down the line, hopefully in that time they will create another piece of music to sell. As to computer software, in ten years it might not be able to run due to changing hardware and many types of media dissolve or rot in a few decades - so its hard to even preserve a creative work for all that long.

Most of the patent laws we conceived in a different time. The first patent law in the USA is from about 1790 - about 160 years before before anyone Watson and Crick created a model of DNA, much less anyone found out how to manipulate genes. How could those lawmakers have seen the complications caused by companies patenting cretin genes and thus having a monopoly on certain types of cancer tests and treatments?

Hence, some of the things I would like to see in such a document:

  • Mechanics themselves are fairly open - from the spirit of rule zero and since you can't make insure no other game uses the sum of two six sided dice. So I'd want acknowledgment of authorship, but those could be used on your own.
  • Setting would be protected for as long as it remains in flux, plus some length of time. So as long as you keep adding source-books or new worlds, its yours, but after ten years with no additional books, the game becomes open.
  • Perhaps a "Peter Pan" clause would be included (ie one could name a charity that the work is dedicated too, allowing for longer protection provided the proceeds are not for personal gain - see GOSH hospital and copyright)
  • Patents on medical products would be more open

Those are the major points anyway - creating your own copyright would probably require a few more weeks of discussion.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:26 pm
by Sanglorian
Your talk that creators shouldn't be depending on royalties decades after their work reminded me of Founders' Copyright. You keep your copyright for 14 or 28 years, and then it lapses into the public domain - as the US Founding Fathers intended.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:33 am
by Age of Fable
Personally I'd use Creative Commons. This is because it's easy to see what rights you're giving away and what you're keeping.

I've read of people making mistakes with the OGL and doing things like saying that "this game is the property of Wizards of the Coast" :shock: or not specifying what was Product Identity.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:51 pm
by misterecho
the OGL is really heavy on legal-ese, CC is much easier to understand.

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:54 am
by Rob Lang
misterecho wrote:the OGL is really heavy on legal-ese, CC is much easier to understand.

Completely agree!

Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:19 am
by koipond
Yup. That's why I'm going with a two tiered CC license for Geasa.

All rules text is BY-SA
All example text, story text and the second half of the book is BY-SA-NC