A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

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Solomoriah
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A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 10:51 am

It doesn't matter whether Hasbro releases their new license or not. It doesn't matter whether it stands up in court or not. Their attempt to invalidate the license we've always depended on and then to effectively steal what we've created demonstrates that they are an existential threat to our game.

So, what do we do?

We excise the OGL.

To do that, though, we need to identify the SRD bits that are spread through the rulebook. When I created the game, I (and everyone else creating retro-clones at the time) believed that it was important to be able to show that we actually used the SRD. There are bits of SRD text scattered around the rulebook, and honestly I'm not entirely sure where they all are (though I do know many spells and monster descriptions are affected).

I need help to find them all. That's where you guys come in.

Here's the plan going forward: First, so long as the new OGL has not been officially released, Basic Fantasy RPG products will remain available for sale on all current platforms as well as available for download from this site. If the new OGL is released, I may be forced to withdraw all of that material, including at least temporarily hiding the Workshop since it's full of "infringing" materials.

Work on current projects is suspended, with the exception of the Mysterious Island contest and the #Dungeon23 #CommunityEdition. There's no SRD involvement with either of those, nor has the OGL been officially applied to them, and I don't want to interfere with either of them. There's no point letting Hasbro ruin our fun. But projects currently being prepared for public release are on hold right now. I know this hits a few of you harder than others, and I'm very sorry about that, but trust me when I say that it's temporary.

Now, about cleaning up the Core Rules. Unlike all other Basic Fantasy Project publications, the Core Rules legally belong to me. All contributors were asked to submit material only with intent to transfer copyright to me, and thus I hold the copyright to all of it that did not come from the listed sources in the OGL text at the back. The Castles & Crusades monster document referenced will need to be excised as well as the SRD, but that should be a relatively small problem. There are also a few monsters that came from the original Field Guide and thus fall under its license which we will have to deal with.

This leads to a point I need to address: Other Basic Fantasy Project publications are covered by the copyright of their original authors, who released them under the OGL. Technically, I should contact each and every creator listed in any of those books and get their approval to relicense the materials under my new open license (see below) but that might be hard as many of them moved on after initially adopting BFRPG. Some created their own games, some switched to newer OSR games, some just drifted into the aether. Some stayed on here, and those at least I can get approval from.

The alternative is to assume that they agreed to release their materials under a license I chose, and that they tacitly gave their approval for me to relicense them. Legally this is pretty iffy, but on a practical basis any damages they might claim for materials given away for free for so long should be pretty low. It's a chance I might take.

To be clear here: If you are a contributor to anything published under the umbrella of the Basic Fantasy Project other than the core rules, I am asking your permission to relicense your materials. I need you to contact me directly via email at solomoriah@basicfantasy.org and identify yourself by the name or names used where your materials were published, and officially grant me this permission.

To give consent, send an email to solomoriah@basicfantasy.org saying:

I, [your name here as it appears in the credits], hereby grant to Chris Gonnerman my consent to change the license of any work I have done on any Basic Fantasy Project document to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

The license: I'm proposing a change to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. I do not have the legal chops to create my own license, and I suffer from a newly-formed lack of trust in people who are creating new licenses now. The CC licenses have been around a while and cover a very broad variety of things already. I do plan to include a specific exemption covering the name, with a license similar to my current Product Identity License (probably called a Branding License). Or, I may seek trademark protection, but I need to study more on that.

Also, one thing we don't have to worry about is art. I've always maintained a separate arrangement with artists, who are asked to grant to me personally a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use their artwork in Basic Fantasy Project works. The only exception is diagrams (including maps or floorplans) which are required to use the game; if I find any I did not create in the Core Rules I may have to relicense them (with permission of the artist, of course) or get them redrawn. I don't expect this to be a problem.

This starts NOW. I'm going to accept comments on this through January 13th (the day the "new OGL" was supposed to go into effect). Anyone wishing to help find the SRD text may go ahead and start; even if the choice of license is changed, we still need to know where the SRD is hiding in there in order to remove it. Please go visit the original Core Rules thread and post whatever you find there; I'll upload a copy of the C&C document (as soon as I find it) to help with this process. If you have comments on the process itself or questions or suggestions about the license, post them here, but practical comments should go in that thread.

Core Rules Workshop Thread:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=776&start=910
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toddlyons
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:36 am

I've published text and audio under CC for as long as I've been blogging and podcasting, and fully support moving to CC-BY-SA 4.0 International.
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:38 am

I've already received two consents. Thanks guys!
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:46 am

First of all, I am sorry for everyone that loves this game and the hobby as a whole. Thank you for doing this and I salute this initiative as I am sure everyone will be better served without the OGL.
Solomoriah wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 10:51 am The license: I'm proposing a change to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. I do not have the legal chops to create my own license, and I suffer from a newly-formed lack of trust in people who are creating new licenses now. The CC licenses have been around a while and cover a very broad variety of things already. I do plan to include a specific exemption covering the name, with a license similar to my current Product Identity License (probably called a Branding License). Or, I may seek trademark protection, but I need to study more on that.
Small proposal, but I am no lawyer and don't know how feasible or desirable is my proposal might be. But I think that one thing that could be done in order to preserve Basic Fantasy's IP, would be to create a bare-bones version of the rules with the OGL excised and publish it using this Creative Commons license, and then republish Basic Fantasy 4e using this new SRD-like document. This version would simply consist in a condensed and stripped down version of BFRPG, with no explanation, lore, images, or any IP. Everyone would be free to use, modify, and distribute their material using the new minimalist CC SRD while the Basic Fantasy project would branch out into its own thing as we would use the license to create the next iteration of the game.
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 12:17 pm

Here's a link to the text of the proposed license (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by ... /legalcode

And a layman's summary of the same: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 12:59 pm

coureur_d_bois wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:46 am Small proposal, but I am no lawyer and don't know how feasible or desirable is my proposal might be. But I think that one thing that could be done in order to preserve Basic Fantasy's IP, would be to create a bare-bones version of the rules with the OGL excised and publish it using this Creative Commons license, and then republish Basic Fantasy 4e using this new SRD-like document. This version would simply consist in a condensed and stripped down version of BFRPG, with no explanation, lore, images, or any IP. Everyone would be free to use, modify, and distribute their material using the new minimalist CC SRD while the Basic Fantasy project would branch out into its own thing as we would use the license to create the next iteration of the game.
Not entirely sure why you think this? I think Chris plan to release the game under the CC license is a much better and safer idea than relying on any third party SRD (which would have to be added into BFRPG after the 3.5 SRD stuff is removed) much easier to remove the SRD text and use the CC License (though it's still gonna be a beast of a job.)
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 1:23 pm

The suggestion is to create a stripped-down SRD of our own. The answer is no, sorry, not needed. The game is and always will be free, as long as I can make it so.
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 1:35 pm

Hello!
I wholeheartedly support the switch to CC.

There is something I was thinking of about the language/glossary.
While Strength, Dexterity, Fighter, Level are maybe generic enough not to warrant a change, I'm not so sure about Armor Class, Saving Throw, Hit Dice, Hit Points.
On the other hand, I wouldn't worry too much about verbiage that uses common language/terms in monster or spell descriptions.

However, I'm not a Lawyer, so I may be totally wrong.
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 1:58 pm

Was thinking something similar, the 6 abilities appear on the OGL, but their individual words can't be registered, kind of a grey area, but other more classical elements (and their combination) such as Hit Points, Saving Throws, etc, may be a touchy subject.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Re: A Manifesto of Sorts, which is a Plan as well

Post Sat Jan 07, 2023 2:21 pm

Dimirag wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 1:58 pm Was thinking something similar, the 6 abilities appear on the OGL, but their individual words can't be registered, kind of a grey area, but other more classical elements (and their combination) such as Hit Points, Saving Throws, etc, may be a touchy subject.
I've seen some publications that just use "Armor" or "Health", etc... Saving throws could become
"Reaction Rolls" or something like that.

You make good points all around.
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