Re: [LICENSE] Open Gaming License and the d20 system

From: Emmett Plant (
Date: 10/21/01

>How would this go together with the CircleMUD/Diku licenses?  Could I use
>the d20 system if I simply had snippets of the mechanic aspects added on
>our homepage?  Would that be sufficient?  I am going to ask WOTC as well,
>since they own the d20 concept and trademark.  I just wanted the CircleMUD
>community's opinion on this, and since IANAL I might need some help here
>before I violate every license know to man. ;)

This is not a very good idea. First off, I believe that using the d20
System is illegal in an 'interactive game' format like a MUD or MOO,
but also, check this out, from the OGL FAQ at

Q: Does this mean that someone could take Open Game Content I wrote
and distributed for free, and then put it in a product and sell that
product to someone else?

A: Yes.

Q: To be clear: Does this mean that Wizards of the Coast could take
Open Game Content I wrote and distributed for free, put it into a
Dungeons & Dragons product and make money off it?

A: Yes.

Q: And they wouldn't have to ask my permission or pay me a royalty?

A: No.

Q: Isn't that pretty unfair?

A: If you don't like the terms of the Open Game License, don't
publish Open Game Content. Since the terms of the License are public
knowledge, and they apply to everyone equally, including commercial
publishers like Wizards of the Coast, your decision to use the Open
Game License means that you consent to abide by its terms freely and
without coercion. That's about as fair as anything ever gets.

Unfortunately, if you're d20, you're d20, and never the twain shall
meet. The d20 License (in my opinion, anyway) was a simple ploy to
get more people to invest money in producing product to support D&D,
and to make the Player's Handbook fly off the shelves.

I won't have anything to do with the OGL, as it started as what
appeared to be a good effort, but is simply weighed down by the
corporate rigmarole. Anyway, the chances that Circle licensure and
d20 licensure playing nice together are pretty nil. I would advise
against it.

I, of course, am not a lawyer, but I've written a lot about copyright
law and the DMCA, and software licenses, as well (nine months as a
Slashdot Author will do that to you). Take my words with a grain of
salt, please.

Emmett Plant

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