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Research topic: Wizard Licencing
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Author Topic: Research topic: Wizard Licencing  (Read 15581 times)
daan
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« on: May 11, 2005, 06:31:45 pm »

Hey people!

I feel really exited about the upcoming Redblade. Smiley I have big plans, which I will disclose later. There are some questions though that I will need your help in answering, and I hope you guys are willing to help me out. Smiley

I love Wizard for D&D, I wish to stay on their good side. My problem is this: I'm full with ideas but I want to make sure none of them will give me any legal trouble. I am not a lawyer. I have no good contact within Wizard itself to sort these out.

My questions are as follows:
A) Can I legally supply Redblade Rulebooks via this site, beyond the core books?
B) Can I legally supply Redblade Rulebooks with Redblade, beyond the core books?
C) if so, what are my restrictions?

Definition of a Redblade Rulebook: A downloadable file which provides Redblade with classes (normal/prestige), races (normal/templates), languages, skills, feats, and spells. For example, the PHB, MM and DMG would each become its own Redblade Rulebook.

Thanks for any help you can give!
Daan
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Eriru
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2005, 10:14:44 pm »

A while back I was going to make a character generator in the vein of redblade but time has been kind to me since I basically play too many games...and can be very lazy.

Anyway, after doing some research on my own for this very same topic this is the basics of what I found.

This is a link the software FAQ provided by Wizards.com about the d20 SRD.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123i


Hope this helps,
EriRu
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daan
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2005, 03:40:55 am »

Quote from: "Eriru"
A while back I was going to make a character generator in the vein of redblade but time has been kind to me since I basically play too many games...and can be very lazy.

Anyway, after doing some research on my own for this very same topic this is the basics of what I found.

This is a link the software FAQ provided by Wizards.com about the d20 SRD.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123i


Hope this helps,
EriRu


Thanks a lot. Smiley Posting it here as research material:

from: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123i

There has been some confusion about how these licenses are applied to software. We will attempt to clarify the major sticking points. This FAQ assumes you have read and are reasonably familiar with the Open Game License, the d20 System Trademark License, and the d20 System Trademark Guide.

Q: Can the licenses be used with software?

A: Yes, both licenses can be used with software. However, several sections of the licenses require a bit more work to properly implement in software than they do in printed material and the d20 License has restrictions specific to software.

Q: How can the OGL be used with software?

A: Just like with other material, the OGL allows you to use any Open Content, provided you follow the terms of the OGL. Follow the requirements of the License, include the text of the license and the appropriate copyright information, and clearly identify Open Content.

NOTE: The biggest problem we've found with software and the OGL is that programmers aren't paying attention to Section 8 of the OGL. Section 8 states: ņIf you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Content.î This doesn't mean you can say ņall rules in my program are Openî, the users need to be able to see all that Open Content. You can do this by putting Open Content in a format that is easy to understand. Popular solutions have been to place everything in text files that the program pulls info from, having everything in a viewable database within the software, using Java script on a webpage (viewing the source of the webpage will display the code and Java script is relatively easy for a user to interpret). The key is that the user has to see everything that is Open Content that the program uses and be able to understand it without too much effort. The whole point of the OGL is that once information is declared Open everyone has free access to it under the OGL. Compiling that information into a program denies the user that access and violates the spirit of the Open Gaming License.

Q: So what kinds of programs can I make with the OGL?

A: Anything. Character generators are popular, as are programs that help GMs keep track of their adventure. Random treasure generators are also fun.

Q: So I could make a game?

A: Sure. Remember though, you cannot use any Product Identity with the OGL or claim compatibility with anything. So you can't say your game is a d20 System game or uses D&D rules or call it ņElminster's Undermountain Crawl.î

Q: What is different if I use the d20 System License?

A: In addition to following all the rules of the OGL for any Open Content you use, the d20 System Guide doesn't let you describe the process for creating a character, describe the process for applying experience to a character, and cannot be an interactive game.

NOTE: Please pay attention to the section of the license that prohibits a Covered Product from being an interactive game. It is not enough to say your product isn't a game; the license gives a definition for what is considered to constitute an interactive game.

"Interactive Game": means a piece of software that is designed to accept inputs from human players or their agents, and use rules to resolve the success or failure of those inputs, and return some indication of the results of those inputs to the users.

This includes the obvious examples of attacking in combat, saving throws, and skill checks, but also includes dice rolling for character ability scores and hit points and rolling for damage. Why? Because in the d20 System a higher number is almost always better. Rolling an 18 for strength is obviously a preferable outcome to rolling a 3. In any circumstance where one outcome is quantifiably better than another is considered by Wizards to be an indication of success or failure; the software cannot perform these kinds of operations without breaching the license.

Q: Why can't I use those things in my program?

A: No d20 System Product can include rules for character creation or applying experience. In exchange for using the d20 logo you are prohibited from making a product that replaces the core rulebooks. Covered Products supplement the core rulebooks; they may not replace them. That is why all Covered Products must state that they require the use of the core rules.

The interactive game restriction exists because Wizards has an exclusive licensee for all interactive games. Authorizing other parties to make electronic games would violate the exclusive terms of that license.
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daan
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2005, 04:31:36 am »

Quote
Q: How can the OGL be used with software?

A: Just like with other material, the OGL allows you to use any Open Content, provided you follow the terms of the OGL. Follow the requirements of the License, include the text of the license and the appropriate copyright information, and clearly identify Open Content.

NOTE: The biggest problem we've found with software and the OGL is that programmers aren't paying attention to Section 8 of the OGL. Section 8 states: ņIf you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Content.î This doesn't mean you can say ņall rules in my program are Openî, the users need to be able to see all that Open Content. You can do this by putting Open Content in a format that is easy to understand. Popular solutions have been to place everything in text files that the program pulls info from, having everything in a viewable database within the software, using Java script on a webpage (viewing the source of the webpage will display the code and Java script is relatively easy for a user to interpret). The key is that the user has to see everything that is Open Content that the program uses and be able to understand it without too much effort. The whole point of the OGL is that once information is declared Open everyone has free access to it under the OGL. Compiling that information into a program denies the user that access and violates the spirit of the Open Gaming License.


Meaning the edit Rulebook part will suffice. I need to hardcode a few formula into the edit part, but those are so generally applicable that it shouldn't be a problem.

What defines what is Open Content? Anything that is based on Open Content?

Quote
Q: So what kinds of programs can I make with the OGL?

A: Anything. Character generators are popular, as are programs that help GMs keep track of their adventure. Random treasure generators are also fun.


So at least a character generator is legal, yay!

Quote
Q: So I could make a game?

A: Sure. Remember though, you cannot use any Product Identity with the OGL or claim compatibility with anything. So you can't say your game is a d20 System game or uses D&D rules or call it ņElminster's Undermountain Crawl.


How does this relate to a Chacter Generator? This insinuates I am not allowed to place a select set of names in the generator under their true name (like certain spell names, or monster races).

Quote
Q: What is different if I use the d20 System License?

A: In addition to following all the rules of the OGL for any Open Content you use, the d20 System Guide doesn't let you describe the process for creating a character, describe the process for applying experience to a character, and cannot be an interactive game. (snip)


... d20 System Licence? Tongue Meuh. More research for me. I gather I have no requirement to follow the d20 System Licence but i'll have to investigate. Tongue
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daan
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2005, 05:01:36 am »

Ok, after reading the whole licencing site, I feel a bit bashed by the way Wizard treats Character Generators. Tongue For example, to comply with the Open Content, one interpretation is I am not allowed to add random dice rolls for ability scores. But under the rules its no problem for me to randomly assign skills!

Things like D&D expansion booklets, the starwars booklets, etc are not Open Content. So I will be able to make the fundations for users to model them into Redblade, but I wont be able to provide them myself.

As far as the OGL is concerned, am I required to apply it to Redblade, or could I apply it to the Core module (PHB+MM+DMG) alone?

I understand Wizard needs to make sure people buy their booklets, instead of letting the Character Generator replace them, but I feel I always supported this in every way possible.
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Lyric
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2005, 02:38:04 pm »

Dang, so there's some flack about adding in the other things? (MM + ELH etc) that stinks.. if you can find a legal way though, I'd love to see it..

any chance on getting some explanation on the campaign editor? I'm not quite sure how it works..
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2005, 12:37:52 am »

Long time ago I was looking for what you can and can't do with the OGL. I decide to use SRD material only for deployment of my all new (but similar) character generator.

Of course I can't roll any dices to build a character but I can allow the final user to input his rolls and apply any adjustment the rules allow.

I was thinking to use a point system to build a character, but my friends here  never use such building system, they prefer the old ways with plenty of dices to throw :lol:

PitFiend
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LWentworth8567
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2005, 12:33:23 pm »

Actually Pit fiend There is one other way. I give them a certain Array of stats to choose where they want. like 18,16,14,12,10,8 And they put them where they want.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2005, 09:50:14 am »

yep, you should see the pc gen OGL questions lol i like pc gen but it just doesn't have the user-friendly interface you built into redblade which remains my personal favorite. I'm one of those ppl who feels programming/coding is like black magic, i want nothing to do with it lol

now, as to why i used this particular quote shown below: yep you will absolutely have to double check which books are available and which are NOT. also: you will really need to look over the OGL deeply because the wording in it is very exact from my understanding. for example, in the DMG where the wondrous items are listed, you might think some are missing in the OGL. not necessarily; some are, but many are simply renamed. such items as qaam's whatchamacallit might simply be named whatchamacallit. Ehlonna's quiver of holding might simply be named quiver of holding etc. fun, eh? and, oh yeah, the same applies to feats, spells AND skills names too.

best advice i can give you is stay in contact with WOTC. If you can, talk/email/IM someone there directly, ask questions and establish an open dialog with them.

One more thing: take your time. PC gen has TEAMS of ppl helping with the java code, the .lst files coding, documentation, testing, etc. if you don't have that kind of help available, please don't rush, im sure we all agree that the extra wait will be well worth it  Smiley   (but yeah i want it now now now! lol) <--- ignore that, it's just the impatient kid in me tryin to escape again lol   Cheesy



Quote from: "daan"
Ok, after reading the whole licencing site, I feel a bit bashed by the way Wizard treats Character Generators. Tongue For example, to comply with the Open Content, one interpretation is I am not allowed to add random dice rolls for ability scores. But under the rules its no problem for me to randomly assign skills!

Things like D&D expansion booklets, the starwars booklets, etc are not Open Content. So I will be able to make the fundations for users to model them into Redblade, but I wont be able to provide them myself.

As far as the OGL is concerned, am I required to apply it to Redblade, or could I apply it to the Core module (PHB+MM+DMG) alone?

I understand Wizard needs to make sure people buy their booklets, instead of letting the Character Generator replace them, but I feel I always supported this in every way possible.
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2005, 10:37:47 am »

Mgrilla chill he'll get it completed someday. I bet probably when it does It will blow PCgen out of the water...Oh wait it already did that... then out of this world?...No did that too...  :x I can't think it allready beats PCgen in my opinion. I tried PCgen once and I did not like it. I couldn't add anything...So I'm dedicated perminately to redblade.
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2005, 03:27:01 pm »

Totally agree with you on that score re: redblade vs. pc gen. the latter is a pain in the bum! i love the redblade interface  Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2005, 01:03:14 pm »

Well, I know that you can't use something WOTC call Identity names (or products, what ever), of course you can strip the funny names and go on... but I think there's more involved.

They didn't write the OGL for us to strip funny names. They are stricts with the well known character building process. All of us have roll many dices to build our own characters.

So, why they avoid you to build a dice roller to speed up the process with one of their metods?

In the past I try to use PCGen as well... but I found it very complicated... and slow and resource consuming. For example, it's very hard to run PCGen on a low profile laptop (I mean a pentium mmx 200mhz and 64mb ram), simply you get older before finishing one character, think about a party of 6...
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2005, 07:53:29 am »

If you make it open source you can nearly do anything.

It become a public program and everyone own the licence. So wizard can't use law to sue every one !


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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2005, 01:47:37 am »

(beliving he was feining ignorance, when he was in fact ignorant, he spoke)

Can't you just contact WOTC or whomever and get this worked out with them directly?
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2005, 09:00:51 am »

Hi

Could it be that Bigbys Crushing Hand and those spells are named without a "person's name" so that you can use this spell in any game.. where there is no mage Bigy who invented the Spell?.... ( as the SRD is d20 plain and has to confirm to any possible game made with d20 )

Thats at least what i think..

Greetings
Waldgeist
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