D&D Beyond Publish An Update Regarding the OGL

D&D Beyond took a free action to try and reassure the fans with a recent blog post.

by J.R. Waugh
DD-Beyond-OGL
Image: Wizards of the Coast

If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons fan, chances are you’ve been seeing some tumultuous posts on social media from other players. The D&D Open Game License (OGL) has been at the heart of intense fan backlash after leaks of version 1.1’s draft went online. The response has been overwhelmingly negative, with content creators being concerned about the new guidelines enabling Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to steal their work. Hashtags like #OpenDnD, #DnDBegone, and #stopthesub flooded Twitter before D&D Beyond released their latest statement on the state of OGL.

What is the Latest Update on OGL by D&D Beyond?

Posted today by their staff, D&D Beyond noted the negative response and speculation on the potentially harmful use of OGL against the community. They stated that OGL is still being revised and that they intended to gain any input possible from the community before releasing their update. Furthermore, the D&D staff wanted to clarify their reasoning for specific provisions found in the leaked drafts, such as for royalties, and the License Back provision.

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Image: Wizards of the Coast

The staff states that they intended to prevent the use of their products for malicious/discriminatory purposes, or for blockchain, NFTs, and other uses that take away from D&D’s identity as a tabletop RPG. They clarify that any content released under 1.0 will be unaffected, and that content like livestreams, cosplays, charitable campaigns, and more will be unaffected.

Finally, the license back provision will not be in OGL 1.1, originally intended to protect the company against allegations of stolen work. This was interpreted, understandably, by fans as a measure for the sake of profit preservation at the cost of the respect of its players who feel discouraged from creating their work. D&D Beyond clarifies that their revision restricts larger entities rather than smaller creators with any future provisions. Any updates to the OGL will not claim ownership of the rights for content created by others, but it remains to be seen whether this will stay true.

Why Was There a Negative Response to OGL 1.1 Leaks?

The leaks came up on January 5th, 2023, which looked to severely limit the publishing rights of third parties like content creators. D&D was always meant to be an open experience, offering freedom and escapism to its players, so naturally, the fandom responded with reminders of this legacy.

Fans quickly issued calls to boycott the products of WotC and Hasbro, and people wanted to send the message that if they’re not free to enjoy Dungeons & Dragons as they please, they will leave.

Even bigger content creators have seemingly taken to the controversy in their way. Ultimately, we’ll have to see what OGL 1.1 has to say at the end of the day for D&D players.

- This article was updated on January 13th, 2023

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