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    Default Finally, some information on the 4e license

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20080502

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    Q. Will there be a fee to participate? Do we still have to pay $5,000?
    A. The Game System Licenses are royalty-free licenses and there is no developerís kit fee associated with them.

    Q. Can anyone participate?
    A. Yes. Interested third party publishers will be required to submit a registration card, agreeing to the terms of use. This registration card will be part of the materials available to publishers on our website beginning June 6, 2008.

    Q. When can we start publishing GSL products?
    A. The effective start date for sales of D&D 4E GSL publications is set for October 1, 2008. The timing for the d20 GSL has not yet been determined.

    Q. Is the new license finished yet? Can you provide a firm timeline?
    A. The D&D 4e GSL will be released when we launch Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition on June 6, 2008.

    Q. What are the specific details of the license?
    A. The specific details will be available to the public upon the release of the licenses.

    Q. How will the GSL interact with the OGL?
    A. The two GSLs are new licenses, separate from the OGL. They are designed for companies that wish to publish 4th edition compatible products.

    Q. Can companies still produce 3.x products under the OGL?
    A. Yes, but we anticipate that interest in the 4e GSLs will be greater.

    Q. Can publishers release new products under both the OGL and 4E GSL?
    A. No. Each new product will be either OGL or 4E GSL. If a new product is published under the 4e GSL, it cannot also be published as 3.x product under the OGL; and vice versa.

    Q. I have multiple product lines. If I update one product line to 4th Edition, do they all have to be updated?
    A. No. Publishers are able to choose on a product line by product line basis which license will work best.

    Q. Will there be a different license for other lines, such as d20 Modern?
    A. The d20 GSL will allow for other genres of roleplaying games.

    Q. Why are there two different licenses?
    A. The D&D 4e GSL is specific to the Dungeons & Dragons brand. The d20 GSL allows for non-fantasy genres. Both licenses tie to the 4th edition rule set.

    Q. Do I have to give up my right to publish 3.5 OGL products in order to publish 4e compatible products?
    A. No. Publishers are free to print product lines under either the OGL or 4E GSL. We would love to see our industry colleagues convert their entire product offerings to 4E, as we are doing, but we do not expect or require entire companies to convert to the new edition.

    Q. Can publishers update their previous publications from older editions to the D&D 4th Edition rules?
    A. Yes. Publishers participating in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition GSL will be allowed, and encouraged, to convert their publications from earlier editions to the 4th Edition rules.


    So, it seems that WotC won't ban 3e products if you want to work in 4e, as was speculated earlier. Companies won't be able to release books with both 3e and 4e material, but it doesn't appear to be any more restrictive than that.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    So, it seems that WotC won't ban 3e products if you want to work in 4e, as was speculated earlier. Companies won't be able to release books with both 3e and 4e material, but it doesn't appear to be any more restrictive than that.
    Well that seems fair enough. Having done a lot of searching around on my own for factual information, I've been wondering where the rumor that you couldn't make both types of books came from, anyways.
    Anyone know?

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    I remember i wrote a large theory on why WotC was doing this on the last thread, i wonder if it is still valid
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    Well that seems fair enough. Having done a lot of searching around on my own for factual information, I've been wondering where the rumor that you couldn't make both types of books came from, anyways.
    Anyone know?
    The wording we were given previously did in fact say this in unambiguous terms, so the rumor was well founded. The information itself came from, I believe, Necromancer Games. That they have refined the wording (Or that we have gotten a more accurate glimpse of it, whichever) to say that a company can use both, but not in the same book, is much better, though the previous wording left it pretty easy to circumvent anyway.

    Edit: Hm, given the wording, it's possible that you may not be allowed to print the same book twice, once as 4e and once as 3e. Not sure how I feel about that, but I don't think I care too heavily either way.
    Last edited by Rutee; 2008-05-04 at 01:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutee View Post
    Edit: Hm, given the wording, it's possible that you may not be allowed to print the same book twice, once as 4e and once as 3e. Not sure how I feel about that, but I don't think I care too heavily either way.
    I doubt that.

    Q. Do I have to give up my right to publish 3.5 OGL products in order to publish 4e compatible products?
    A. No. Publishers are free to print product lines under either the OGL or 4E GSL. We would love to see our industry colleagues convert their entire product offerings to 4E, as we are doing, but we do not expect or require entire companies to convert to the new edition.
    Q. Can publishers update their previous publications from older editions to the D&D 4th Edition rules?
    A. Yes. Publishers participating in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition GSL will be allowed, and encouraged, to convert their publications from earlier editions to the 4th Edition rules.
    So, they can still publish 3e products and they can convert 3e products to 4 products. As such, it seems quite impossible to deny first printing 3e product and the next day a 4th edition converted version. ;)

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyPacifist View Post
    So, they can still publish 3e products and they can convert 3e products to 4 products. As such, it seems quite impossible to deny first printing 3e product and the next day a 4th edition converted version. ;)
    Actually, they mentioned "Product Lines". While you may be able to have one last hurrah, as it were, where one set of books is released, and then the next day, you update them to 4e, you may not be able to continue printing products under the same trademarked product line name as 3.5e. It strongly depends on the wording of the GSL, I'm merely pointing out the possibility thereof.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutee View Post
    Edit: Hm, given the wording, it's possible that you may not be allowed to print the same book twice, once as 4e and once as 3e. Not sure how I feel about that, but I don't think I care too heavily either way.
    Will the 3.x version have the same ISBN as the 4e book?
    Yes: Cannot publish under both 3.x and 4e, as they are the same product.
    No: Different product, even if it has near-identical titles and flavor texts.

    Example: I'm pretty sure that you can't release the same product for both the Xbox and the Gamecube (i.e. the same disk can't work in both systems). However, Sonic Heroes for the Xbox would then be technically a different product from the same game but released for the Gamecube.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    It'd be relatively trivial to say.. oh dammit, Trademark and Copyright law are not my specialties at this time, but that a particular trademarked product name (For instance, Forgotten Realms, or Pathfinder) was used on 4e, it could not then be used on 3.5e

    I'm not trying to doomspeak, just trying to keep the jubilations down until we have the actual GSL to look at. As they pointed out, the details will be there.
    Last edited by Rutee; 2008-05-04 at 02:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Wait rutee, are you a lawyer or just a person who studies law? I'm not really criticizing you, just interested
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Yep. "Some" information, emphasis on "some". Wow, them lawyer types sure are vague.

    Anyway, glad to hear they're not stupid enough to ban companies from publishing for both editions. Even if it was circumventable.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Q&A
    Q. Can companies still produce 3.x products under the OGL?
    A. Yes, but we anticipate that interest in the 4e GSLs will be greater.
    This would seem to be a reasonable anticipation from WotC.
    WotC is completely converting to 4e, which should include Living Greyhawk and all RPGA events, conventions, sponsored tournaments, etc. Many D&D players will also be converting to 4e, especially any who play in any of the above formats.
    And also many 3/3.5e players already have a full set of source books / splat books, etc, while no one has any 4e material. It's a new market, and getting to market first is often very profitable.

    There may be companies who decide to continue printing their 3/3.5e materials and not bother with 4e. But I'm betting that those companies will see their market share drop significantly within the first year of 4e publication.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yep. "Some" information, emphasis on "some". Wow, them lawyer types sure are vague.
    Damn straight. It's the only sensible choice when you don't have all the information, and you want to be smart about talking about what you do have (Especially when what you do have is in flux).

    Also, if this is going in for sure, I'll have reminded myself of why I spoke up.

    "Q. Can publishers release new products under both the OGL and 4E GSL?
    A. No. Each new product will be either OGL or 4E GSL. If a new product is published under the 4e GSL, it cannot also be published as 3.x product under the OGL; and vice versa."

    This is rather unequivocal wording. You can not upgrade a new product. You must choose when you publish it what it will be. I assume that there will be an allowance in upgrading existing product (So the shrewd 'last hurrah' would be releasing the day before DnD 4e does)

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    As someone with a vested interest in this situation (), I'm reasonably happy with this approach, and frankly, it's what I expected. The rumored approach of the GSL being a poison pill was just so stupid a move (from both a PR view and a legal view [too easy to circumvent]) that I never actually expected that to be true.

    While I would ideally love to be able to keep product lines in both versions, I understand WotC's position on this, and can live with it. Most of our current projects are pretty tightly tied to 3.5 anyway, and 4e conversions would likely prove difficult. One of the adventure series we're working on may be reasonable to convert to 4e, but we'll make that decision after reviewing the final license and the SRD; we'll probably still release part 1 under 3.5, as it'll be done before October, but we may convert it later... or we may not, we'll see.


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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Before I make my point, I'd just like to say I have absolutely no legal training, so I could be completely wrong.

    OK, on with the point.

    Looking at that wording, it seems like you could produce two seperate product lines. Let's call them, for the sake of argument, Steel Nations and Nations of Steel.

    The difference between them? Steel Nations is 4e, while Nations of Steel is 3.5e. They might have slightly different sourcebooks coming out, but they'd be very similar (The Book of Guns that Shoot Guns for Steel Nations and the Tome of Gun-Firing Guns for Nations of Steel both cover weaponry that launches weaponry and have very similar base classes, but BoGtSG contains some Paragon Paths involving guns that shoot guns, while ToGFG has some prestige classes).
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by MorkaisChosen View Post
    The Book of Guns that Shoot Guns for Steel Nations and the Tome of Gun-Firing Guns for Nations of Steel
    If you do that, it may well be one of those cases where you would be completely correct from a purely legalistic point of view, but would nevertheless be sued into oblivion because WOTC can afford better lawyers than you.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    If you do that, it may well be one of those cases where you would be completely correct from a purely legalistic point of view, but would nevertheless be sued into oblivion because WOTC can afford better lawyers than you.
    I got the imression that WOTC are reserving the right to say 'screw you' to people and stop them using the GCL if they **** them around in any case. HTat would probably break terms and agreements.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    If you do that, it may well be one of those cases where you would be completely correct from a purely legalistic point of view, but would nevertheless be sued into oblivion because WOTC can afford better lawyers than you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Project_Mayhem View Post
    I got the imression that WOTC are reserving the right to say 'screw you' to people and stop them using the GCL if they **** them around in any case. HTat would probably break terms and agreements.
    Exactly, no need to sue; no mess, no fuss, they just withdraw the license. The former licensee could then try to sue, but it's pretty obvious that they would be in the wrong.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Exactly, no need to sue; no mess, no fuss, they just withdraw the license. The former licensee could then try to sue, but it's pretty obvious that they would be in the wrong.
    Yup, that looks like what they are doing here, which is well within their rights, legally and otherwise. I strongly doubt that they would leave a loophole in place that would allow the publication of two exact copies of two "different" sourcebooks, one printed in accordance with 3.5 the other 4e. That would be a very easy hole to close, and would be easily identifiable and easily enforceable.

    Until we see the actual text of the license though, its still all pure speculation. Fun though, isn't it!?
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Q. Can publishers release new products under both the OGL and 4E GSL?
    A. No. Each new product will be either OGL or 4E GSL. If a new product is published under the 4e GSL, it cannot also be published as 3.x product under the OGL; and vice versa.
    From this, it looks like 3rd party setting material will have to be one or the other. So if I were a company producing Athelas: the Mending, I would not be able to produce both a 3.5 and a 4e version of that setting. That strikes me as a raw deal.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Raw Deal?

    WotC is letting people publish fluff that is 100% compliant with the #1 selling RPG in the world, and they let you do it for free, despite the fact that they could easily prohibit it. So they want your support in making their newest publication do well... that's a pretty fair trade off there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by theos911 View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    So they want your support in making their newest publication do well... that's a pretty fair trade off there.
    They want free support for their system that will encourage people to switch to 4e, and in return, they aren't allowing people to use their stuff unless they stop using 3.5 for thier existing material. At least that's how I read it. I might be wrong, but it seems like say, Green Ronin has a choice of releasing thier setting sourcebooks as 3.5 or 4e, and a given sourcebook can't be released in both formats. Of course, I might be wrong, and the liscence is actually just a prohibition on using both 3.5 and 4e material in the same book.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka View Post
    They want free support for their system that will encourage people to switch to 4e, and in return, they aren't allowing people to use their stuff unless they stop using 3.5 for thier existing material. At least that's how I read it. I might be wrong, but it seems like say, Green Ronin has a choice of releasing thier setting sourcebooks as 3.5 or 4e, and a given sourcebook can't be released in both formats. Of course, I might be wrong, and the liscence is actually just a prohibition on using both 3.5 and 4e material in the same book.
    See, I look at it from the other direction.


    You're looking at it as, "they let people publish for 3e all they want, so they should let people publish for 4e all they want!"

    I'm looking at it as, "they would be perfectly within their rights to take anybody trying to publish for 4e and sue them into the ground. Instead, they're letting them publish for 4e, with one minor restriction."
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutee View Post
    I'm not trying to doomspeak, just trying to keep the jubilations down until we have the actual GSL to look at. As they pointed out, the details will be there.
    Agreed. The wording here is unclear as to if conversion to 4e is a one way door for any given trademarked/copyrighted product line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka
    They want free support for their system that will encourage people to switch to 4e, and in return, they aren't allowing people to use their stuff unless they stop using 3.5 for thier existing material. At least that's how I read it. I might be wrong, but it seems like say, Green Ronin has a choice of releasing thier setting sourcebooks as 3.5 or 4e, and a given sourcebook can't be released in both formats. Of course, I might be wrong, and the liscence is actually just a prohibition on using both 3.5 and 4e material in the same book.
    Right, could be either. We'll find out in a month probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger
    Raw Deal?

    WotC is letting people publish fluff that is 100% compliant with the #1 selling RPG in the world, and they let you do it for free, despite the fact that they could easily prohibit it. So they want your support in making their newest publication do well... that's a pretty fair trade off there.
    Fair? Sure. They could just tell all the third party publishers to go screw but that would be bad for 4e. However, depending upon the language of the liscence (WotC seems to have better lawyers now than they did when the OGL was written) it may still be a deal that thir-party publishers will not want to sign on to. More below on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew
    Exactly, no need to sue; no mess, no fuss, they just withdraw the license. The former licensee could then try to sue, but it's pretty obvious that they would be in the wrong.
    Well, this depends upon the terms of the liscence. I suspect, and if I were in their shoes would, be including a clause that allows them to withdraw/change the rights granted under the liscence at any time, without notice, and at their sole discretion. This means that they could withdraw the liscence or change it whenever they want. Converting for a larger publisher (with more to lose than say VP) would then be agreeing to allow WotC to essentially hold a gun to your companies head, as they could kill your major product lines because they felt like it that day.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    You're looking at it as, "they let people publish for 3e all they want, so they should let people publish for 4e all they want!"

    I'm looking at it as, "they would be perfectly within their rights to take anybody trying to publish for 4e and sue them into the ground. Instead, they're letting them publish for 4e, with one minor restriction."

    Actually, I'm looking at it the correct way, which is to say, if, for example, Green Ronin switches to 4e, all of Green Ronin's customer base will need to buy 4e corebooks. Which is better than free advertising for WotC.

    If they don't switch, Green Ronin's customer base will not need to buy 4e core books. Which is likely, since from what I've heard, Green Ronin has no interest in switching.

    Does Green Ronin suffer from not switching? No. Does Green Ronin have any reason to switch if the GSL is in fact unfavorable in the manner I described? No.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Exactly, no need to sue; no mess, no fuss, they just withdraw the license. The former licensee could then try to sue, but it's pretty obvious that they would be in the wrong.
    Ah, Burden of Proof...helping the big guy squelch the little guy since.....I dunno, a long time ago.

    Also known as "Our lawyers get paid more than your lawyers" and other ****measuring posturing that happens in America's court system.
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka View Post
    Actually, I'm looking at it the correct way, which is to say, if, for example, Green Ronin switches to 4e, all of Green Ronin's customer base will need to buy 4e corebooks. Which is better than free advertising for WotC.
    Oh FFS. This is getting freaking ludicrous.

    Oh. God damn. Noes. WotC makes business choices that support itself. And still leaves two licenses that let you use material for free.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    Well that seems fair enough. Having done a lot of searching around on my own for factual information, I've been wondering where the rumor that you couldn't make both types of books came from, anyways.
    Anyone know?
    The uber-paranoid voices at boing boing and /. expounding what little was known despite third parties already bound by the license saying it wasn't like that.

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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by MorkaisChosen View Post
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Oh FFS. This is getting freaking ludicrous.

    Oh. God damn. Noes. WotC makes business choices that support itself. And still leaves two licenses that let you use material for free.
    I credit you with more intelligence than that, Rutee. You know full well that it is in WotC's best interest for the other gaming companies to fall in line behind 4e. What neither of us know is the wording of the document, as all we have is a FAQ. I don't think it would be in WotC's best interest to try to force companies to pick whether their setting material is being released for 3.5 or 4e, so I don't think that is what they are doing. However, the wording of what we have strongly implies that source book X from a 3rd party company cannot be released in a format for both editions. I've got a pretty good idea which way Green Ronin and Paizo are going to fall if that is the case, and WotC can't afford that, IMO.

    What they probably mean to say is that given book X cannot contain both 3.5 and 4e material. Which would be a pain to do anyway.

    If what they actually mean to say is that FakeCompanyNames'R'Us can't release The Dungeon of Dum'As the Mad 4e, and then release The Dungean of Dum'As the Mad 3.5, then they are both being jerks, and likely hurting themselves in the process (due to aformentioned loss of free product support).
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    Default Re: Finally, some information on the 4e license

    Quote Originally Posted by Skjaldbakka View Post
    I credit you with more intelligence than that, Rutee. You know full well that it is in WotC's best interest for the other gaming companies to fall in line behind 4e.
    What the hell do I care? I care about two things when I ponder purchases. What's good for me, and how something may be hurt by this. The latter consideration is primarily saved for truly unfair business practices; Things like sweatshop labor. First off, what WotC doing is hardly 'unfair business practices'. Oh. Freaking. Noes. You can't use all their mechanics. The only reason people care in the first place is that they allowed people to use their mechanics for free (And you know what? I'm pretty that as a consumer, I was hurt by the OGL; yanno why? Suddenly everyone makes DnD-mechanics based books. *I don't care at all for DnD 3e*) That was bad for me as a consumer; It was also bad for me as a gamer who actually likes other systems. Do you know how freaking entrenched a lot of gamers get about DnD? They can't even be bothered to /ponder/ a new system.

    So I don't even give a damn in the first place if Green Ronin can't use Dungeons and Dragons mechanics. Not only is that /not/ unfair business practices, but it means Green Ronin can make their own; They're pretty smart fellas. Honestly, I think they can produce better mechanics. What the hell do I care that WotC isn't letting them use their material.

    If what they actually mean to say is that FakeCompanyNames'R'Us can't release The Dungeon of Dum'As the Mad 4e, and then release The Dungean of Dum'As the Mad 3.5, then they are both being jerks, and likely hurting themselves in the process (due to aformentioned loss of free product support).
    They're being jerks.. for not letting you make money off their material for free? Explain the logic underlying that conclusion.

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