D&D Publisher Responds to Criticism of Controversial License

WotC+ has finally responded to the outcry over their alterations to the open gaming license: after a week of silence, they’ve addressed the community’s worries.

“The OGL is for content creators, homebrewers, aspiring designers, players and our community – not major corporations to exploit commercially or promote themselves,” we declared.

Critics have argued that WoTG+ — Hasbro’s subsidiary — is a significant corporation itself, bringing in $1.68 billion in revenue during the third quarter of 2022.

TechGround spoke with content creators who received WoTG+’s unpublished OGL update, which requires anyone making over $50k to report earnings and those earning more than $750k in gross revenue to pay a 25% royalty. Despite the size of these “major corporations,” their gross income does not necessarily reflect profit.

Mage Hand Press editor-in-chief Mike Holik organized the #OpenDnD letter, telling TechGround that a 25% royalty would impact his business as most Kickstarters raising such funds don’t make a profit of more than 25%, since much of it goes to fulfilling orders, printing books and paying collaborators.

Holik noted that Kickstarter profits can suffer due to the multiple small products involved. “It’s not realistic to expect 80% of your money and profit,” he said. “That 25% number is just an attempt to eliminate competition.”

Fans worried if WoTG+ could publish and profit from 3rd-party work without crediting the original creator. Noah Downs, a partner at Premack Rogers & D&D streamer, told TechGround that WoTG+ had permission to use all 3rd-party content made under the OGL with no royalty fees forever.

WoTG+ is reversing the royalty clause and perpetual license provisions.

WoTG+ clarifies that the new OGL will exclude any royalty structure and license back provision, “as the thought of stealing work never crossed our minds.” To safeguard against creators mistakenly alleging their work was taken, WoTG+ included language in the leaked version to ensure they owned all content produced.

WoTG+ refers to a draft document sent to certain creators with the intention of getting them to sign, triggering such severe backlash that other TTRPG publishers took action.

“We have no interest in Wizards’ new OGL – instead, we’re committed to preserving the spirit of the Open Game License with a plan that’s sure to prove effective.” Though yet to be released, Paizo’s statement is unequivocal.

Dungeons & Dragons content creators remain wary of the effects OGL changes may have on their community, though WoTG+ appears to be making some allowances.

“Our collective action of signing the open letter and unsubscribing from D&D Beyond made an impact,” said Eric Silver, game master of Dungeons & Dragons podcast Join the Party. He told TechGround that WoTG+’s Friday response was “just a PR statement”, demonstrating their only care is for profit.

Silver warned that we mustn’t let up our pressure until the information is released in plain language, adding “Companies often try to wait out public interest — but this time, we won’t be distracted.”

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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