They are completely insane.
I ... I just can't believe it. I am flabbergasted by this license. Why?
To summarize -- we can cancel this license at any time. When we cancel it, you must immediately destroy every book (and even flyers!) published under this license. No, we don't have to explain why.11.1 Termination. This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate automatically upon written notice to Licensee or upon posting on its website of a termination of the GSL as applied to all licensees.
11.3 Effect of Termination. Upon termination, Licensee will immediately cease all use of the Licensed Materials and will destroy all inventory and marketing materials in Licensee’s possession bearing the Compatibility Logo. Licensee will remove the Compatibility Logo from all advertising, web sites, and other materials. Licensee will solely bear all costs related to carrying out this provision (in addition to any other provision) of the License. Wizards may, in its sole discretion and upon written agreement between Wizards and Licensee, extend this License for those Licensed Products that otherwise comply with the terms of this License.
This is unbelievable. I am literally stunned. Why publish this license at all? Who would possibly agree to this? Hobbyist publishers who really don't care about the money at all, I suppose, or PDF and print-on-demand publishers with no actual stock. But base a serious business plan around an instantly and "at-will" revocable license? Who would do that?
I was expecting a termination clause in the GSL but surely with a 6 month or maybe even a year 'sell off' period.
This is madness. And it will give new fuel to the OGL movement.
HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD
Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.
The most charitable interpretation is that it was a condition of the Pointy-Haired Bosses at Hasbro, who couldn't understand why a game company would "give away" their "intellectual property".
One would hope they would exercise that clause only with blatant violators of other provisions ... but after the past few years in other arenas, nobody with half a brain would believe the excuse "we'd only use this against bad people".
"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
- Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)
A clause once instituted will be used. If I were a gaming publisher I would hold that thing with tongs and incenierate.
I would have to think that pointly haired lawyer bosses are responsible for this. No one with a brain would demand, or expect, to get such rights. I wouldn't sign that with a ten foot pen.
Conclusion: We don't want you making product for 4e, ours, not yours, EVAR.
Back to the bad old days of the T$R bean counters. (sigh)
Now, hold on a second before we start burning Wizards of the Coast in effagy. Just how many gaming companies have an open license for other publishers to build on their systems? I agree that WotC has made this OGL largely worthless with such a ludicrous provision, but there would have been nothing wrong with them not opening up the OGL for the 4th edition system either. It's amazing to me that they did so in the first place.
That's the shortest licensing agreement I've ever seen (and I've had the "joy" of going through many of them).
I think some language is missing or in another document. Generally there are two kinds of Termination.
1. Ya broke the rules. Destroy everything on hand. Usually because you failed a safety test, didn't get pre-production approval from the licensor, failed to pay on time, or some other violation of the contract.
2. Contract expiration. One or both parties decide not to renew the contract and continue making the licensed product. This usually allows 60-120 days sell-off period beyond the expiration date.
The second option seems to be missing. If you've done business together and are happy with the results, you wouldn't just slam your partner.
Personally I really don't care about WotC. I stopped playing their RPG back when they told me that 3.0 was just a joke and they really wanted 3.5 as their game. I took it as a poke in the eye. Now they want to poke you in the eye. Ok, if you let them. I for one put my hand up to my forehead (three stooges style) anytime one of them is within my ten foot area of affect. I don't even look at their game supplements in the FLGS, instead I go looking at any other supplements.
Though I do have to admit I do buy their AAM every so often and have been thinking of buying some of the singles DnD minis I see for dirt cheap at my FLGS.
We all know Hasbro has no clue what makes gamers tick and that they really could give a rats patutie about what we think. I for one see them going out of business, much like the Titanic slipping under the waves. The whole gaming world will talk about the shame of it and that it was to be expected. But the next day RP will go on without even a ripple as the whole WotC thing begins to fade from memory one day at a time. Truely you can't believe we don't have enough companies to fill the void almost overnight.
See more at:
Escape clauses are not uncommon. More and more, if you read all of the service contracts for every service you sign up for: Cells, Cable/Satalite, Internet, etc; You will find clauses close to "we can terminiate you service for any reason we want." This is all this is. Get used to it.
I kinda expected something like this. Wether for or against 4th ed, I think its safe to assume we all agree that it has split the market a bit. Having cut down there consumers they probably cant afford the compitition.
Last edited by tesral; 06-18-2008 at 08:15 PM.