Analysis of D&D's plan to revoke the Open Gaming License

For the EFF, Kit Walsh reports on what happens now that the Open Gaming Licence is being revoked by Dungeons & Dragons owner Wizards of the Coast. It's a legal headache for those who used it in their projects and products—"Beware the Gifts of Dragons"—but there may be silver linings amid the poisoned gold. Included is a detained analysis of the license.

According to leaks reported last week, the company that owns Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is planning to revoke the open license that has, since the year 2000, applied to a wide range of unofficial, commercial products that build on the mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons. The report indicates that this wouldn't simply be a change going forward, but would affect existing works that relied on the license. The old license would be revoked for existing uses, and people who have used on it will be forced to adopt new terms or renegotiate with the company, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of game giant Hasbro.

Questions remain around whether WoTC can unilaterally revoke this license. It's worded to allow them to revoke it, but it implies mutual contractual obligations that make things more complicated. The game now, perhaps, is to make it as expensive as possible for WoTC's preferred reading to prevail.