Section 15 OGL and Exhibit B items


Product Discussion

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Can I ask a dumb question here?

What's really to be gained by fighting "the danger" of "stagnation and lack of improvement" in this manner?

A few pages of a PDF product? If citing too many references is your core concern, then, as other people mentioned, track down the original source of the OGC item you want to use, and reduce your citation list.

richard develyn: I'm on your side in a certain respect. I don't think that publishing under the OGL necessarily requires consultation with a lawyer - I think, overall, it's pretty clear, and it's pretty easy to publish something compliant with it.

But, that aside, based on your posts here, I think that you do not wholly understand the OGL, and are risking non-compliance.

Further, I'm reasonably sure that a consult with a lawyer that specializes in copyright or IP isn't going to cost you "many thousands of £ or $" to clarify a few points for you.

So, again, I ask:

What's really to be gained by fighting "the danger" of "stagnation and lack of improvement" in this manner?

Why hassle with it? If the biggest users of the OGL aren't attempting to reform the OGL and push it's boundaries, why do you feel the need?


Some thoughts of mine own. I do not provide any legal advice, just some thoughts on the subjects involved in this discussion.

Getting a lawyer to help you at the beginning doesn't guarantee that you won't get involved with lawyers from another company later on. So if someone says that you should see a lawyer first in order to not have to worry about others suing you, they are not being totally honest. Now what seeing a lawyer first does is reduce the chance that is going to happen, but it doesn't remove the risk entirely and in many cases doesn't provide any legal protection (i.e. you can't sue the lawyer for bad advice). So you should probably get a lawyer to help you set things up, but realize that this isn't a 100% guarantee there won't be issues in the future.

Most companies don't start defending their IP rights by taking the violator to court, nor are they required to do so to maintain they are defending their IP rights. Instead they often send a cease-and-desist letter to the violator. Why? Because it is cheaper for everyone, if the violator corrects/ends the violation, then nobody has to pay more. Another reason is going to court is always dangerous. It doesn't matter how sure you are that you are correct, especially if a jury is involved, it is entirely possible to lose a case. Now if the violator continues to violate their IP, then a court challenge is pretty much required.

Who has standing to claim a violation of the OGL? I honest don't know. From the Paizo's folks comments in this thread I get the feeling that they don't see that they have standing to claim a violation of the OGL, that only WotC can do so. Of course we are not hearing from Paizo's lawyers and I am filtering it through my own warped perceptions, so that may not be the truth of the issue.

To the recursive issue of Section 15, and this leads to maybe a wider issue, I believe that it is indeed meant to be recursive. That means if you cite another's OGL material, you have to copy their entire Section 15 and then add your additional items to it. I think this because I have Paizo employees tell me specifically this is the case. Again, those might not have been lawyers, so their comments may not have been 100% correct. Yet, when I reedited my POD books (created mainly for use by people in my own games), I tried to bring it in more compliance (I didn't originally know it was recursive).

Even if I believed the people saying it was recursive were wrong, I think I should still try to do it, merely to show that I am acting in "good faith" and it doesn't require too much of a burden. Of course that kind of killed my desire to make some additional monster books using bits and pieces from The Monster Geographica, due to the sources those books draw from (each book has 3-4 pages of small type list of section 15 sources).

Dark Archive

I just want a system I can work with, which allows me to produce a product that buyers are going to be happy with, and that keeps Paizo and other contributors to the process happy.

I don't know whether I need to push at boundaries of OGL or not. Probably I don't. If you think I'm risking non-compliance, please tell me where you think that is.

Cheers

Richard

@Pres Man: we interleaved replies! I thought your post made a lot of sense, though.


I think your desire to not include the OGL as part of the product, rather as a separate document, risks non-compliance.

While it's arguable that distribution of the two documents packaged together meets the criteria of "You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy of the Open Game Content You Distribute," it could also be argued that you're distributing two items - one is a copy of Open Game Content, sans OGL (this would be your product) and the other is a standalone copy of the OGL with applicable section 15 declarations as they pertain to the first document.

If someone decides to get a wild hair and legally argue the point with you, it really doesn't matter who's wrong and who's right, it matters that now you have to defend your actions.

More to the point, though, I ask: Why bother? Why is it so important to include it separately?

In the case of a PDF, there's really no cost savings to be recognized.

In the case of a print product, you're required to print that information and include it somehow, so having a separate physical document to be included with the print product seems like a giant waste of time and money in and of itself.


I would probably suggest that if you are in anyway nervous about separating the OGL, then you might want to provide all customers two versions within the zip file they download, one is a single total product file and one is split up. And I probably wouldn't split 2nd version up solely on content-OGL lines, but instead on more meaningful lines, perhaps by chapters.

Dark Archive

In the case of a print product, I'm arguing to help others, not myself, because I don't think I'll ever produce a print product myself.

And I note that Paizo have found a way around it which in my opinion, and I'm not a lawyer but anyway, isn't compliant, because although they've omitted copyright information on their own products, the recursive nature of section 15 means they have effectively omitted copyright information of other people's products. It hardly bothers me, and it probably wont bother anyone else anyway, however it points the way that flexibility might be possible.

That assumes, of course, that you do need to recurse, and it's all IMO anyway. Of course, if we are going to have 3PPs continue to produce print products, it would benefit us all if we could find some way for them not to have to print out ever increasing OGLs.

The argument for PDF products is smaller - it's really only if someone simply hits "print" on a PDF and finds themselves printing out reams of stuff, it's going to irritate them.

I think it's worth discussing, and it's worth asking the questions. At the end of the day, whatever WOTC replies (if they do so at all), and whatever comes out during these discussions, we've nothing to lose by opening up the subject.

Richard


I could be wrong, but since Paizo's the copyright holder of their own content, they're not required to declare it under Section 15.

Look at it this way:

If I release a product that has two monstrous races in it, one an entirely new original creation of my own which I then release as OGC in my product, and a second based on an SRD-monster released under the OGL as OGC, I don't believe I'm required to place the first in Section 15, but I am required to place the second.

(Of course, if I'm wrong, then it shows that I probably should also get some legal advice if I'm going to release a product.)

Dark Archive

I don't think it works that way.

Say, for example, you want to include the Caryatid Column for Bestiary 3. If you have to include everything in that bestiary's section 15, then among other things you're going to include a citation to Kobold Quarterly issue 7, The Book of Fiends by Green Ronin, and a whole host of things from Tome of Horrors.

Now you could say that being Paizo means you could miss out the citation to Paizo owned material. But if you were supposed to include all this other stuff as well that doesn't belong to Paizo, then I don't see how a strict interpretation of the OGL allows you wriggle out of it.

However - I believe that any contract is just a piece of paper until tested in court, so a lawyer might well advise that even though it is the case that you are being non-compliant it is extremely unlikely that WOTC will take issue with this or that the individual companies outside Paizo affected will take issue with it. So you're probably fine.

It's all opinions until tested in court.

I also think that Product Identity as defined in section 1(e) of the OGL is so broad as to be unenforceable. The OGL seems to be trying to re-write copyright rules for anyone who signs it. I don't believe it's ever been tested in court but I simply cannot imagine how anyone could claim ownership of "concepts" or "themes". "Names" cannot be copyrighted either (though they can be trademarked) however Product Identity includes it (and is frequently redefined to include it). I'm sure people tried to copyright names in the past and failed. There'll be reasons for that, and I expect that anyone trying to enforce use of Names as Product Identity with the OGL will just end up re-treading old ground (expensively).

Much more in the Open Gaming world will be achieved by good will than legality, in my opinion. I'm not going to call my village by the sea Sandpoint (and I dare say that Paizo wont the first ones to think of that name) not because I think they could sue me for it (IMVHO) but because I want us to have a good relationship.

Richard


I think the issue is let's say you make a bestiary. Let's take 3 monsters in it. Monster A is out of the SRD (modified for the current system), Monster B is from a 3PP OGL, and Monster C is of your own creation.

Now let's say you create a module and you use all three monsters in it. In that case you can't just use your bestiary as your source in section 15. You have to use the 3PP in section 15 as well.

Now if you don't use Monster B, then you only need to cite SRD even if you use Monster C. The thinking is you could say this is a primary source for Monster C as well as the bestiary being one (since Monster C is of your own creation).


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
richard develyn wrote:


Say, for example, you want to include the Caryatid Column for Bestiary 3. If you have to include everything in that bestiary's section 15, then among other things you're going to include a citation to Kobold Quarterly issue 7, The Book of Fiends by Green Ronin, and a whole host of things from Tome of Horrors.

If you're the copyright holder of the caryatid column you don't need to cite bestiary 3 - you can release a brand new (identical) version of the same monster..


Steve Geddes wrote:
richard develyn wrote:


Say, for example, you want to include the Caryatid Column for Bestiary 3. If you have to include everything in that bestiary's section 15, then among other things you're going to include a citation to Kobold Quarterly issue 7, The Book of Fiends by Green Ronin, and a whole host of things from Tome of Horrors.
If you're the copyright holder of the caryatid column you don't need to cite bestiary 3 - you can release a brand new (identical) version of the same monster..

That would be Necromancer Games (Tome of Horrors).


richard develyn wrote:

I don't think it works that way.

Say, for example, you want to include the Caryatid Column for Bestiary 3. If you have to include everything in that bestiary's section 15, then among other things you're going to include a citation to Kobold Quarterly issue 7, The Book of Fiends by Green Ronin, and a whole host of things from Tome of Horrors.

If you're only using that monster, and you're the copyright owner of that monster, then I do think it works that way.

richard develyn wrote:
Now you could say that being Paizo means you could miss out the citation to Paizo owned material. But if you were supposed to include all this other stuff as well that doesn't belong to Paizo, then I don't see how a strict interpretation of the OGL allows you wriggle out of it.

You only have to cite what you use. This is why the recommendation was given to trace the original source and use IT, rather than an 18-deep derivative release and the subsequent recursive Section 15 listings.

richard develyn wrote:

However - I believe that any contract is just a piece of paper until tested in court, so a lawyer might well advise that even though it is the case that you are being non-compliant it is extremely unlikely that WOTC will take issue with this or that the individual companies outside Paizo affected will take issue with it. So you're probably fine.

It's all opinions until tested in court.

Which is going to cost you a lot more money than just playing it safe from the start.

And WoTC already HAS taken issue with this.

richard develyn wrote:
I also think that Product Identity as defined in section 1(e) of the OGL is so broad as to be unenforceable.

Broad? It seems pretty tightly defined: "All this stuff is ours. You can use the stuff in column A, but not the stuff in column B. If you don't like it, then don't use any of it."

richard develyn wrote:
The OGL seems to be trying to re-write copyright rules for anyone who signs it.

That's exactly what it's doing. The copyright holder (WoTC, or any of the later companies that have released their copyrighted content as OGC) are licensing you to use their copyrighted material outside the constraints/restrictions of normal copyright. For FREE. Without any other onerous licensing terms and restrictions. For FREE. FOREVER.

richard develyn wrote:
I don't believe it's ever been tested in court but I simply cannot imagine how anyone could claim ownership of "concepts" or "themes". "Names" cannot be copyrighted either (though they can be trademarked) however Product Identity includes it (and is frequently redefined to include it). I'm sure people tried to copyright names in the past and failed. There'll be reasons for that, and I expect that anyone trying to enforce use of Names as Product Identity with the OGL will just end up re-treading old ground (expensively).

Go nuts then, and see how it works for you.

richard develyn wrote:
Much more in the Open Gaming world will be achieved by good will than legality, in my opinion.

You're right. And that's kinda part of the OGL in the first place - through the goodwill of copyright holders, they're allowing you to use their copyrighted work, free of charge - you just need to do a little bit of record-keeping.

richard develyn wrote:
but because I want us to have a good relationship.

You could easily maintain that good relationship by just complying with the requirements of the OGL, inconvenient though you may find them, and not worrying about ways to attempt to circumvent them.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
pres man wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
richard develyn wrote:


Say, for example, you want to include the Caryatid Column for Bestiary 3. If you have to include everything in that bestiary's section 15, then among other things you're going to include a citation to Kobold Quarterly issue 7, The Book of Fiends by Green Ronin, and a whole host of things from Tome of Horrors.
If you're the copyright holder of the caryatid column you don't need to cite bestiary 3 - you can release a brand new (identical) version of the same monster..
That would be Necromancer Games (Tome of Horrors).

My mistake - I thought that was one of those monsters with multiple "versions" from different publishers.

Dark Archive

Every now and then in this discussion I find myself having to defend myself personally which is a shame, really, because I'm not trying to screw anybody over in any way. I'm certainly not trying to circumvent things. I'm just trying to have an open and honest discussion about them.

Ok, maybe Caryatid Column was a bad example, because you can argue original source. So let's consider you write a module which uses a monster from Bestiary 3 which is owned by Paizo. You should, in your section 15, cite the complete copyright paragraphs which would, coincidentally, mention a Caryatid Column (which belongs to TOH). Now Paizo have decided that they don't need to do this, because they own the copyright to the monster that *is* being used, even though by making that decision they have effectively removed, from their own product, citation to the Caryatid Column, which they don't own, and which anybody else doing the same thing would have to maintain. Now - why is that? Why is it that if I publish that adventure, I have to mention the Caryatid Column (even though I'm not using it), even though Paizo doesn't (even though they're not using it). Neither of us using it, but Paizo have managed to get out of having to mention it.

Well, maybe the answer that I don't have to mention it either. It would be nice to know because that would allow me to just site the sources I'm using without worrying about this cascading section 15 effect which I don't think is any use to anyone.

If, however, this cannot be avoided, then it would be nice to know that those of us who write PDF only products might at the very least save our readers the danger of printing out pages of section 15 if it could be put in as a separate file (which is why this is worth investigating) and be even more useful to producers of print products.

As far as the broad nature of section 1(e) is concerned, tightly defined does not mean easily defined. If column A uses words like "concept" and "theme" then it's not in the least way tightly defined.

Finally, if WOTC has taken issue with the OGL, I would be interested to know what that was all about and what happened in the end. The only legal action that anyone has mentioned so far was outright piracy.

Richard


richard develyn wrote:
Every now and then in this discussion I find myself having to defend myself personally which is a shame, really, because I'm not trying to screw anybody over in any way. I'm certainly not trying to circumvent things. I'm just trying to have an open and honest discussion about them.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you're trying to screw anyone over, it's just that your defense is basically "Well, I think I'm fine, so I'll just let the lawyers come after me if they have a problem." which, honestly, isn't a great defense.

richard develyn wrote:
Ok, maybe Caryatid Column was a bad example, because you can argue original source. So let's consider you write a module which uses a monster from Bestiary 3 which is owned by Paizo. You should, in your section 15, cite the complete copyright paragraphs which would, coincidentally, mention a Caryatid Column (which belongs to TOH). Now Paizo have decided that they don't need to do this, because they own the copyright to the monster that *is* being used, even though by making that decision they have effectively removed, from their own product, citation to the Caryatid Column, which they don't own, and which anybody else doing the same thing would have to maintain. Now - why is that? Why is it that if I publish that adventure, I have to mention the Caryatid Column (even though I'm not using it), even though Paizo doesn't (even though they're not using it). Neither of us using it, but Paizo have managed to get out of having to mention it.

I'm not sure I'm really following your example here. Paizo DOES cite TOH specifically for the Caryatid Column in Bestiary 3. It's there in the Section 15 statement.

Now, if you decide to use that same monster, you have two options here:

You can use PAIZO's version of that monster, requiring you to cite both Bestiary 3 and TOH, Revised (which is the source Paizo cited).

Paizo didn't cite sources other than that, so you could either reasonably assume that TOH, Revised is the originator of that piece of Open Game Content (OGC), or you can be super-safe and get a copy of TOH, Revised yourself to verify.

That's option one.

Option two, you use the TOH, Revised version of the Caryatid Column, convert to PF yourself, and cite just that reference.

The problem here is, you risk having "your version" be too close to "Paizo's version" without citing them and the work they did. Is Paizo going to take offense to your PF conversion of that monster, and accuse you of using their OGC without citing them? Dunno. Ultimately, though, doesn't really matter: If your version is going to end up being virtually identical to their version, why are you spinning your wheels converting it, instead of just letting them do the work for you, and adding a quick blurb to the Section 15 declarations?

Saves you time, saves you risk.

richard develyn wrote:
Well, maybe the answer that I don't have to mention it either. It would be nice to know because that would allow me to just site the sources I'm using without worrying about this cascading section 15 effect which I don't think is any use to anyone.

Can you point out an example of Paizo NOT citing OGC in Section 15 that isn't copyrighted work of their own?

richard develyn wrote:
If, however, this cannot be avoided, then it would be nice to know that those of us who write PDF only products might at the very least save our readers the danger of printing out pages of section 15 if it could be put in as a separate file (which is why this is worth investigating) and be even more useful to producers of print products.

I would hope that readers smart enough to be able to open a PDF and print it are also smart enough to know how to tell their application to not print the last couple of pages.

Forgive me, but this really seems to be a problem of overthinking. I certainly am not saying "damn the customer and their printing costs!" but a couple pages? I'm really not going to worry too much about this for my own potential/theoretical customers.

Your time and consideration in this arena would be better spent accommodating things that PDF customers have actually asked for, such as limited/no restrictions on their use of the document, image-free (or other print-friendly) versions of the document (or the ability to turn images off), and e-reader-friendly versions of the document.

richard develyn wrote:
As far as the broad nature of section 1(e) is concerned, tightly defined does not mean easily defined. If column A uses words like "concept" and "theme" then it's not in the least way tightly defined.

The kicker here is that the publisher isn't required to declare Product Identity. They do so to help you. They're only required to clearly define the OGC, which is all you're allowed to use.

So, even if an item is not specifically defined as PI, if it's not specifically defined as OGC, you're not allowed to use it.

richard develyn wrote:
Finally, if WOTC has taken issue with the OGL, I would be interested to know what that was all about and what happened in the end. The only legal action that anyone has mentioned so far was outright piracy.

They didn't take issue with the OGL, they took issue with people violating their copyright/violating the OGL.

Fast Forward Entertainment is the big example I know of that got hammered by WotC for using non-OGC content like Greyhawk/3E gods and deities, and monsters from MM2. They had to recall and destroy a bunch of product, if I recall correctly.

I know there's been a few others out there.

Shadow Lodge

I don't know if you have a copy of Tome of Horrors Complete, but it has an appendix on how to correctly cite it for anyone wishing to use it's OGL content. I'm not sure how helpful it would be for citing other works, but it could at least be used as a rough guideline.

I can't remember if the original ToH or ToH 3.5 had a similar section.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:

I don't know if you have a copy of Tome of Horrors Complete, but it has an appendix on how to correctly cite it for anyone wishing to use it's OGL content. I'm not sure how helpful it would be for citing other works, but it could at least be used as a rough guideline.

I can't remember if the original ToH or ToH 3.5 had a similar section.

The TOH complete is a little idisyncratic in that there's basically a copyright notice for each individual monster. The generic clause they include in their section 15 is not the standard way to do it. (Though it is a useful step-by-step process to follow, in my view - even though its explicitly not legal advice).

Dark Archive

Section 15 of Bestiary 3 cites 24 monsters from TOH.

According to the recursive nature of section 15, if I use one monster from Bestiary 3 (regardless of whether it is from TOH or not), I'm supposed to cite all 24 of these monsters.

Paizo doesn't. The latest AP uses the Caryatid Column but doesn't mention the other 23. It appears to do this by not mentioning Bestiary 3 at all, because it owns the copyright to that product, even though it doesn't own the copyright to all the products in the section 15.

With regards to Product Identity, my reading of the OGL is that *unless* you redefine it it defaults to 1(e).

As to the "Well, I think I'm fine, so I'll just let the lawyers come after me if they have a problem" - you're spot on. I would add that I've tried (am still trying actually) to make sure I'm fine, but I reject the idea that the only way to know you're fine is to employ a lawyer.

Richard


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richard develyn wrote:

Section 15 of Bestiary 3 cites 24 monsters from TOH.

According to the recursive nature of section 15, if I use one monster from Bestiary 3 (regardless of whether it is from TOH or not), I'm supposed to cite all 24 of these monsters.

Paizo doesn't. The latest AP uses the Caryatid Column but doesn't mention the other 23. It appears to do this by not mentioning Bestiary 3 at all, because it owns the copyright to that product, even though it doesn't own the copyright to all the products in the section 15.

Or section 15 isn't recursive.

Or they have some other agreement with the copyright owner.
Or the reference to bestiary 3 isn't a case of "distribution" of OGC, since the stats aren't included.
Or its a special case, arising due to the unusual nature of the tome of horrors (with a copyright notice for each monster, as opposed to one for the whole book)**
Or some other things I can't think of

This was my point about the value of a lawyer in this situation. It's not about avoiding lawsuits, as far as I'm concerned. The fact is that law is a semantic game* - it isn't immediately obvious what terms mean in contracts because there's a huge body of law which has arisen clarifying terms. Sometimes those clarifications take words beyond their ordinary meanings.

* my experience with law is predominantly statute interpretation and is limited to Australia. I'm presuming that precedent established by case law is part of the American legal system too.

** imagine the headache the recursive interpretation would cause if every copyright notice from ToH had to be included whenever you cited one of those monsters. Not to mention the fact that the tome of horrors complete references bestiary 2, which references the tome of horrors...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I thought we established earlier that it isn't recursive?


richard develyn wrote:

Section 15 of Bestiary 3 cites 24 monsters from TOH.

According to the recursive nature of section 15, if I use one monster from Bestiary 3 (regardless of whether it is from TOH or not), I'm supposed to cite all 24 of these monsters.

Paizo doesn't. The latest AP uses the Caryatid Column but doesn't mention the other 23. It appears to do this by not mentioning Bestiary 3 at all, because it owns the copyright to that product, even though it doesn't own the copyright to all the products in the section 15.

So, TOH is an odd beast, because the monsters in it weren't OGC until they were released as OGC by Necromancer Games with permission from WotC.

Let's re-read Section 6:

The OGL wrote:
6.Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder's name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.

Monsters from TOH were listed in such a way that you list the individual monsters. Each monster was it's own separate OGC, not the entire book itself.

Therefore, this is why Paizo has each individual monster listed.

Now, because of the way that TOH released those monsters, since the AP is only using the single monster, that's the way it gets cited.

Section 6 says you must update it to include the exact text of the copyright notice of the content. Not the book, but the content. So Paizo listed the one piece of content.

Further, Paizo's not citing the Bestiary 3 version of the Caryatid Column, they're citing the version from TOH. So they're bypassing Betiary 3 altogether.

And, again, we go back to copyright. Paizo's version of the Caryatid Column, even though it's based on OGC, is their copyright. They're not required to release it at OGC, they're only required to cite the OGC they used to produce it.

In this context, they're also not required to cite Bestiary 3.

If I publish a monster based on OGC, then use it in 8 subsequent products, iteratively updating it each time I release it based off of the previous release (such that it's obvious that Version 6 Monster from Product 6 is definitely a derivative of Monster 5 from Product 5, I'm still not going to be required to cite Product 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 in Product 6, because they're MY products under MY copyright.

I'll be required to cite the original OGC source in each product.

But that only applies to me, the "creator" of these derivative monsters. If I declare my monsters OGC, everyone else has to play by the OGL rules for citation, but me? I'm not bound by OGL rules for *MY* monster, I'm bound by the rules for it's progenitor (the original OGC).

richard develyn wrote:
With regards to Product Identity, my reading of the OGL is that *unless* you redefine it it defaults to 1(e).

That's right. So don't get hung-up on it being vague. Since you don't have a right to use anything in Section 1(e), who cares how vague it is? You need to be concerned about Section 8 - the stuff that is explicitly declared as OGC. If THOSE declarations are vague, then either move on, or get written clarification from the publisher.

richard develyn wrote:
As to the "Well, I think I'm fine, so I'll just let the lawyers come after me if they have a problem" - you're spot on. I would add that I've tried (am still trying actually) to make sure I'm fine, but I reject the idea that the only way to know you're fine is to employ a lawyer.

It's not that this is the only way you know - heck, even WITH a lawyer, the only way you "know" is after it's been argued in court, and even that's subject to the appeal process.

It's that IP/Copyright/Trademark/Whatever lawyers are more versed in the law as it pertains to a lot of the terminology and phrasing of licenses and contracts, and have a far better chance of steering you in the right direction than most of us clowns here on the Internets.

But even then, when you have most of us clowns telling you that we think you've interpreted things incorrectly, that's more of a reason to consult the attorney who would likely know better than us.


Matthew Morris wrote:

I thought we established earlier that it isn't recursive?

Did we? This thread from 2011 indicates that it is:

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz30nu?Open-Game-Content-Usage-Question

Dark Archive

I think you could pour hundreds if not thousands of $ or £ or aus $ into this and not be any further forward. Like I said before, I have had some dealings with lawyers, and in my opinion this could get very complicated if you wanted to get down to precise definitions. I also think you'd be missing the point.

This isn't an aggressive pseudo-copyright bear-pit where people are seeking to rip each other's financial throats out. I believe that if you act in good faith and with reasonable care and if you react helpfully to any enquiries or requests made from other publishers then you'll be fine. Like I've said before (and I know others differ) I don't think you need to get lawyers involved if you want to be a Pathfinder 3PP.

W.r.t AP 62 and Bestiary 3, BTW, (just because this intrigues me) Paizo do use other monsters from it which they haven't quoted original source on, and presumably if they were using the original TOH Cariatid Column then they would have to have chosen not to use the version in their own Bestiary!

Richard


@Richard: Yeah, Brian has the thrust of it. You are seeing the Bestiary 3 as a primary source for the PF Caryatid Column, and thus if they use it in another product it only makes sense that they cite it from there (and everything else due to the recursive nature of section 15). But PF doesn't have to actually treat that as the only primary source of the creature for themselves. They can use the other (new) product as an alternative primary source for the PF Caryatid Column. In that case they don't have to refer to Bestiary 3 at all, and thus they need only cite the original source material and not all of Bestiary 3's section 15.

EDIT: I might add that if you wanted to use the PF Caryatid Column, you wouldn't have to refer to Bestiary 3 either. You could just use the section 15 from AP 62(?). That is what I mean by it being a primary source.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My understanding on the "recursive" nature of the OGL is that since any particular OGL product needs to cite all of the Section 15's of the products they draw from, any given product that you cite should have a "complete" Section 15 for you to copy.

E.g. if your only OGC is a monster from product X, a spell from product Y, and a magic item from product Z, then you just need to list the Section 15's of products X, Y, and Z in your own product's Section 15 (along with the copyright notice for your own product), and you're good.

Dark Archive

Just for the avoidance of doubt (as lawyers say), the Caryatid Column (and apologies for this spoiler leaking out in this discussion) is the one from Bestiary 3, not TOH, as there's a specific reference to it complete with page number.

There are also other monsters from Bestiary 3 (and 2 and 1) in that module.

And, if Paizo have made a deal with Necromancer Games w.r.t. avoiding these lengthy useless citations, it would be ever so nice if it could be shared with the rest of us ...

Richard


richard develyn wrote:

Just for the avoidance of doubt (as lawyers say), the Caryatid Column (and apologies for this spoiler leaking out in this discussion) is the one from Bestiary 3, not TOH, as there's a specific reference to it complete with page number.

There are also other monsters from Bestiary 3 (and 2 and 1) in that module.

And, if Paizo have made a deal with Necromancer Games w.r.t. avoiding these lengthy useless citations, it would be ever so nice if it could be shared with the rest of us ...

Richard

Yeah, the page number issue is something to be concerned about*. As for other creatures from the bestiary 3, again, are these PF unique creatures or are they from another OGL source updated for PF? If they are PF unique, then again they can treat that AP as an alternative primary source for those monsters and don't have to use bestiary 3 as their primary source. I would guess that a lawyer would say the page number is more as an FYI this creature can also be found in this other book and not necessarily as a primary source.

*IIRC, WotC told people they couldn't refer to the page numbers from their monster manual even if the creature was in the SRD. The page numbers in the MM were not considered OGL, only the creature's stat block was.

Dark Archive

The AP does not contain stats for the monsters, so if it's an alternative definition then we none of us know what it does!

Richard


richard develyn wrote:
This isn't an aggressive pseudo-copyright bear-pit where people are seeking to rip each other's financial throats out. I believe that if you act in good faith and with reasonable care and if you react helpfully to any enquiries or requests made from other publishers then you'll be fine. Like I've said before (and I know others differ) I don't think you need to get lawyers involved if you want to be a Pathfinder 3PP.

I'm not saying that it is a bear-pit, but at the same time, do you even want to have to halt sales of your product until you can fix the issue (and in the case of printed product, recall and destroy it)?

This is why I say, isn't it just easier to add the extraneous stuff?

richard develyn wrote:
W.r.t AP 62 and Bestiary 3, BTW, (just because this intrigues me) Paizo do use other monsters from it which they haven't quoted original source on, and presumably if they were using the original TOH Cariatid Column then they would have to have chosen not to use the version in their own Bestiary!

Paizo is not required to cite Paizo's own product. Paizo is only required to cite where they got the OGC from.

Here are three different monsters:

Monster A: Non-Paizo Original Monster released as OGC
Monster B: Paizo Revision of Monster A from Bestiary 3 released as OGC
Monster C: Paizo Original Monster from Bestiary 3 released as OGC

If Paizo publishes Monster B in Bestiary 3, Paizo is required to cite the original work containing Monster A in the Section 15 of Bestiary 3.

If Paizo publishes Monster B in AP 62, Paizo has two options: They can either cite the original work containing Monster A, or they can cite both Bestiary 3 and the original work.

If 3PP publishes Monster B in their own work, they're required to cite both Bestiary 3 and the original work containing Monster A.

Why does Paizo have the option to not cite Bestiary 3? Because Monster B is their own copyrighted derivative work, produced under the license of the OGL. They're required to abide by the OGL for the source material, but their own original material belongs to them, even if they've released it as OGC. Other people have to cite them, but they're not required to cite their sources. Consider it this way: Every time Paizo republishes the Paizo version of the Caryatid Column, this is a new version of the Caryatid Column. It may be 100% identical to the other versions they've published, but it is a separate version, based on the original OGC, so they only cite the original source.

If Paizo publishes Monster C in AP 62, Paizo is not required to cite Bestiary 3, because Paizo owns Monster C. It is an original work, not based off of any OGC. It may, in itself, be OGC if they released it as such, but since they're the creator/copyright holder, they're not required to cite themselves. It's kind of a subset of the above: Each time Paizo publishes Monster C in one of their works, and declares that monster as OGC, it's a new version. It may be identical, but it's a separate monster. If AP 62 declares the monster as OGC, and doesn't cite Bestiary 3, then you're allowed to use that monster and cite AP 62, but you don't have to cite Bestiary 3.

Past that, if you have a specific example in mind to illustrate your point, please provide that example.


pres man wrote:
*IIRC, WotC told people they couldn't refer to the page numbers from their monster manual even if the creature was in the SRD. The page numbers in the MM were not considered OGL, only the creature's stat block was.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not at my library for a while longer), but I wasn't aware any of the contents of the PHB, DMG or MM were even declared as OGC.

I thought it was just the SRD which was the OGC, and there were "no part of this book" statements in the actual physical books.

I know that prior to publication of the SRD, there were the "gentlemen's agreements" in place so that folks could publish OGL stuffs, and that said agreements basically were "OK, so, these books are OGC, except for all this stuff we're going to call Product Identity so don't use that stuff."

Scarab Sages

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I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

For the moment, ignore Bestiary 3, the TOH, and the AP. They are compliant, but the “why” of their compliance is easiest to explain with a less complex example.

Let us say I create a new monster, the Urmfguggle. My Urmfguggle is based on material from the original WotC SRD. I wish to publish the Urmfguggle in my new book “Amazing Urmfguggles,” a pdf product, so I must include the WotC SRD in my section 15, and update it with the notice for “Amazing Urmfguggles.”

Now although I have released it under the OGL, I still own the original work represented by my new Urmfguggle. Since it’s based on an OGC source I can only use it myself in OGL products, and I must always include the SRD in my section 15, since that is what it is based on.

If I also used material from other OGL products – let’s say the “Big Book of A Monsters,” “Big Book of B Monsters,” and “Big Book of C Monsters” in “Amazing Urmfguggles,” then they must also be included in my section 15. Indeed, everything in their section 15s must be in my section 15, because it is recursive to that degree.

Now if someone else comes along and uses the Urmfguggle from “Amazing Urmfguggles” in their book, their section 15 MUST include the SRD, “Amazing Urmfguggles,” “Big Book of A Monsters,” “Big Book of B Monsters,” and “Big Book of C Monsters.” This is true even if they only use the Urmfguggle, and take none of the material I added from the Big Books of Monsters.

In part this is because they have no way of knowing what I took from the Big Books of Monsters. I know my Urmfguggle is based only on the SRD, but no one else can be sure of that. For all they know, my Urmfguggle’s special urmfgurgitate attack is based on the bleeech attack of Bleechimon from the Big Book of B Monsters. Since they can’t be sure, they must include everything.

(As it happens they are required to include everything anyway, as a term of the license. TOH is interesting because it found a way around this by making every monster its own OGL product, all bundled together, each with its own section 15. Ignore that for now)

However, the fact I released the urmfguggle under the OGL does not change my original ownership. So if I decide to write an adventure, “The Maltese Urmfguggle,” and I include a reference to the urmfguggle, but I use nothing else from “Amazing Urmfguggles,” I do NOT have to include the three Big Books of Monsters in the section 15 of “The Maltese Urmfguggle.”

I DO have to include the SRD in the section 15 of “The Maltese Urmfguggle,” just like I did originally in “Amazing Urmfguggles.” But I can release the urmfguggle, with just its attributions in section 15, in as many different products as I like. I can even reference my other books and their page numbers, without include their full SRDs. I can do so for the same reason I could release it to begin with – the urmfguggle is my creation, and it is beholden only to the SRD.

Now if you use the urmfguggle from “The Maltese Urmfguggle,” you would have to include everything from the section 15 of “The Maltese Urmfguggle” in the section 15 of the product you use it in. If you use the urmfguggle from “Amazing Urmfguggles,” you would have to include everything from its section 15, including “Big Book of A Monsters,” “Big Book of B Monsters,” and “Big Book of C Monsters.” And this is true whether you use anything from “Big Book of A Monsters,” “Big Book of B Monsters,” and “Big Book of C Monsters,” or not.

Dark Archive

Ok. Understood.

Incidentally, the number of TOH monsters that I need to include in my section 15 to be recursively adherent for everything in exhibit B is 98.

It changes the size of my OGL text from 1 page to 2 - which is hardly the end of the world.

(Actually, I miscalculated how many extra pages I'm going to need - back when I know ...)

But - a bit odd. And I can't imagine it's what Necromancer Games intended.

Richard


Shrink the font-size down to "barely readable" (note, I don't say unreadable).

As far as I know, there's no requirement that the font size be huge. A number of folks drop it down to as small as possible to make stuff fit.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know I have dropped it down to 5pt on one or two occasions ...


Marc Radle wrote:
I know I have dropped it down to 5pt one one or two occasions ...

Same.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

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Richard

That is exactly what Necromancer Games intended. I'm happy to explain.

First off, my name is Clark Peterson. I am the prior president and founder of Necromancer Games. I was the one who personally negotiated the use of that content from WotC with Necro. I am a lawyer. I am a judge. I am the person to whom the email was sent from Ryan Dancey granting permission under the "gentleperson's agreement" to use open content before there was a formal SRD. I was the first to use it and I have helped numerous people interpret and comply with the license. I think, other than Ryan Dancey, it would probably be fair to say there is no other person that has my understanding of the history, meaning and usage of the OGL. So perhaps I can offer some insight :)

Let me give you some history.

3E updated lots of monsters. But it also left behind a lot of my favorites, monsters from old modules and some from many diverse books--Fiend Folio, MM2, you name it. I love that old content and I really wanted to bring those old "forgotten" monsters into the new edition of the game. So I contacted Wizards about doing that. And Tome of Horrors came about as a result.

By the time I was talking to Wizards about the idea for doing Toh, I had already worked real closely with Ryan Dancey post-license. I was in the original d20 message board where we work out lots of these issues. I had published stuff under the OGL/d20 STL and so Wizards knew I was a responsible custodian of content and knew what I was doing with the license. Frankly, I understood it better than their own in house people at the time (see their unfortunate attempt in the back of the original 3E MM2, for example, I told them later they should have called me :) ). But the point is I had a great working relationship with them--I trusted them and they trusted me.

As a result, they granted Necro permission to open up those forgotten monsters, which I have to say was an amazing act on their part and always one of the strongest things I point to when people say Wizards didn support open gaming--sure they do. As a result of that, we have all those monsters in the game today and courtesy of the OGL in Pathfinder too!

But in discussing how I was going to be able to go about using this content a couple interesting problems presented themselves. And those problems resulted ToH's strange Section 15 situation.

Scott Greene was responsible in large part for many of the conversions. It was important to him and to me and to Wizards that the original creators of the content be credited, and pulling monsters from various books made that a pretty long list of contributors. We wanted to make sure the original authors were always credited for their work. To us (me, Scott, Wizards) just doing "based on content by Gygax" wasnt enough. So I proposed, and Wizards liked, the "section 15 by monster" approach. That way, the original authors would ALWAYS be credited in every subsequent use of that monster.

So what that means is we envisioned, on purpose, the very thing you are discussing--that forever and all time when that monster is used it must be referenced as we did in our 15.

Why? might be a fair question. Because we at Necro have a huge love for the history of the game and we understand clearly that we stand on the shoulders of the industry giants that came before us and honoring that was, to me, more important than the well understood fact that this would likely increase the size of people's section 15 designations. I also kne clearly that given the location of section 15s in books (the back) and the font used (super small) it would never really be that much of a burden.

While this was my proposal (they didnt make me do it this way), Wizards really liked it. They liked the idea the old content creators would always be credited.

Frankly, my section 15 solution for ToH, though it causes some minor inconvenience for reuse, is one of my proudest moments as a 3rd party content creator. I am really proud I was able to secure permission to publish those monsters and bring them to the future editions of the game. I am also really proud of the solution we found to permanently credit the old authors.

Had I not done it that way, the ToH section 15 would have been a mess and it would have credited everyone and thus no one. For instance:

Tome of Horrors, copyright 2000 Necromancer Games, Inc. Author: Scott Greene, Clark Peterson, Bill Webb, etc, etc, etc, [continue with list of all converting authors], based on original content by Gygax, Arneson, this guy, that guy, the next guy, and a list of 20 or so other guys.

And none of that designation would ever have told you who created what. I just didn't think that was right.

So that is how the unusual section 15 for ToH was born. And that is also why I wrote out a specific step by step instruction for people on how to reuse the content. I did that as a bonus for those wanting to reuse content because I wanted it reused! I wanted to see ToH monsters show up in other people's products. And I am so happy to see that has continued to this day.

I hope that sheds some light.

I'm happy to answer any other OGL questions you guys might have about this topic, too. Fire away!

Yours in Open Gaming,

Clark

Liberty's Edge

To the OP, you don't get any better info than this!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As an aside, though I have not evaluated every single sentence they wrote above, in general both Brian and Owen are, in my view, absolutely correct in their respective interpretations of the OGL.


Brian E. Harris wrote:
pres man wrote:
*IIRC, WotC told people they couldn't refer to the page numbers from their monster manual even if the creature was in the SRD. The page numbers in the MM were not considered OGL, only the creature's stat block was.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not at my library for a while longer), but I wasn't aware any of the contents of the PHB, DMG or MM were even declared as OGC.

I thought it was just the SRD which was the OGC, and there were "no part of this book" statements in the actual physical books.

I know that prior to publication of the SRD, there were the "gentlemen's agreements" in place so that folks could publish OGL stuffs, and that said agreements basically were "OK, so, these books are OGC, except for all this stuff we're going to call Product Identity so don't use that stuff."

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I meant a creature that is both in the SRD and in the Monster Manual (e.g. hound archon, OGC) versus a creature that is only in the MM (e.g. beholder, not OGC).

What was happening was people were including something like a hound archon (which they can do using the SRD since it is OGC) but they were citing the page number that it appears on in the MM. IIRC, WotC said that even though the hound archon is OGC, and thus can be used with the OGL, the page numbers from the MM are not. Thus you can't use the page number it appears on in your OGL product.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

By the way, Richard I totally understand your question about this. Why in the world would someone want to create a section 15 requirement that increases the size of subsequent section 15s? That person must be mad! Guilty on both counts. That's why I thought you deserved an explanation of why we did what we did. I hope that helps. I'm certainly not criticizing you in any way. Please know that.

Clark

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

pres man wrote:

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I meant a creature that is both in the SRD and in the Monster Manual (e.g. hound archon, OGC) versus a creature that is only in the MM (e.g. beholder, not OGC).

What was happening was people were including something like a hound archon (which they can do using the SRD since it is OGC) but they were citing the page number that it appears on in the MM. IIRC, WotC said that even though the hound archon is OGC, and thus can be used with the OGL, the page numbers from the MM are not. Thus you can't use the page number it appears on in your OGL product.

You are correct, but I want to clean up some language because I think it is a source of confusion.

When you, as a third party publisher, use open content you are only using it from the SRD. Sure that monster may be in the MM or whatever, but you arent "using" it from there, you are using it from the SRD.

Brian is right in how he explains this. Totally ignore the books. They are NOT (unless otherwise stated, see the MM2) a source of OGC.

I hope that helps.

Clark

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

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richard develyn wrote:
You know, I think the day will come when everyone will be so frightened of litigation that no one will dare whistle a tune in the street without first of all consulting a lawyer.

This was one of the main reasons for the OGL--it created a "safe harbor" for all of us to use content without the fear of litigation. It was a genius stroke by Ryan Dancey. Basically, in an untested area, it said "follow these rules and play nicely and we dont have to get lawyers involved." Genius.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Matthew Morris wrote:

Ok, strange question. Is section 15 recursive?

What I mean is, lets say I write an adventure that uses the Aurmvorax. If I cite an adventure it is used in, do I still need to cite the TOH?

(aside, When I put something up, I try to track down primary sources.)

The answer to your question is yes, you do. BUT only because you cite an adventure it is in and that adventure should include in its section 15 a cite to ToH. If you only wanted to use the monster, you could just cite directly to the ToH and not bother with the adventure. If you are also citing to an adventure, then you would need to duplicate that adventure's section 15 in full.

Remember, you can always just go to the original source.

But you don't have to duplicate an entry--here is what I mean: if you cite a product that uses the aurmvorax and so its section 15 has it in there (and thus yours does) you don't have to put it in twice. as long as it is there once that is fine.

So it is recursive, in my view. But not duplicative.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thanks, Clark. That was an excellent summary - clarifying and incredibly useful (and it's a nice change to not have every post prefaced with IANAL). :)

Scarab Sages

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Clark Peterson wrote:
First off, my name is Clark Peterson. I am the prior president and founder of Necromancer Games. I was the one who personally negotiated the use of that content from WotC with Necro. I am a lawyer. I am a judge. I am the person to whom the email was sent from Ryan Dancey granting permission under the "gentleperson's agreement" to use open content before there was a formal SRD. I was the first to use it and I have helped numerous people interpret and comply with the license. I think, other than Ryan Dancey, it would probably be fair to say there is no other person that has my understanding of the history, meaning and usage of the OGL. So perhaps I can offer some insight :)

I've been listening what Clark had to say about the OGL, and watching what he did with it, since 2000. I'd dare say there is no one you'd do better to pay attention to for all things OGL-related.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:
First off, my name is Clark Peterson. I am the prior president and founder of Necromancer Games. I was the one who personally negotiated the use of that content from WotC with Necro. I am a lawyer. I am a judge. I am the person to whom the email was sent from Ryan Dancey granting permission under the "gentleperson's agreement" to use open content before there was a formal SRD. I was the first to use it and I have helped numerous people interpret and comply with the license. I think, other than Ryan Dancey, it would probably be fair to say there is no other person that has my understanding of the history, meaning and usage of the OGL. So perhaps I can offer some insight :)
I've been listening what Clark had to say about the OGL, and watching what he did with it, since 2000. I'd dare say there is no one you'd do better to pay attention to for all things OGL-related.

Agreed on all counts.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Clark Peterson wrote:

I'm happy to answer any other OGL questions you guys might have about this topic, too. Fire away!

Yours in Open Gaming,

Clark

Hi Clark. Thanks for the various comments above - I've struggled to understand how it works before and relying on what other people have done doesnt necessarily guarantee compliance. I really appreciate the comments. It's not strictly on-topic, but I have a related query:

As I understand things, Displacer Beasts (amongst others) are not open content and cant be used in products produced under the OGL. Nonetheless, I noticed one in the necromancer games module M1:Prisoners of the Maze.

Were they used under a separate license? (I seem to remember the d20 system license being something separate from the OGL) Or have I just misremembered about displacer beasts being closed content? Something else?


dotting

Dark Archive

Hi Clark,

Thank you very much for coming on this forum and for your explanations and offer to answer further questions. I think a lot of 3PPs and potential 3PPs will really appreciate if we can bottom a few of these issues out (not just me, but as you will see I'm quite tenacious when it comes to looking for answers :-) ).

If I could start with my first concern, where this whole thread started was with my trying to understand what I would have to put in my section 15 in order to use all the Pathfinder core products.

I have now (I believe) assembled this here:

http://www.qusheet.com/misc/Pathfinder%20OGL.pdf

As you can see, approximately 50-55% of this consists of citations to monsters in the TOH - monsters which you don't have to be using, simply monsters which you pick up along the way, mainly with the 3 Bestiaries.

Now if I've understood you correctly, I don't think it was your intention for this to happen. Indeed, having a citation now to just the TOH itself with all its authors could easily be much smaller. I'd be interested to know what your view is on this or if you can think of an alternative.

In my opinion, citing 98 creatures that you don't use obfuscates any real citation / accreditation you might want to make, though having said that I suppose you could separate it out.

Anyway, my first question is - is there an alternative to this?

Incidentally, I'm more than happy to make a text version of this document available to the 3PP community once I've gone through the (additional) pain of sorting all the monsters out alphabetically. Paizo could host this themselves somewhere if they want, though they would then have to maintain it themselves just in case I get run over by a bus.

Richard

Dark Archive

I've just updated the PDF, by the way, to cite the monsters alphabetically and to remove a few duplicates.

Richard

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